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LIRS under investigation after dumping taxpayers’ data online 

An investigation has been launched into the creation of a taxpayer’s portal by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS). #NITDA #LIRS

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LIRS under investigation after dumping taxpayers’ data online

An investigation has been launched into the creation of a taxpayer’s portal by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS). The action has been ruled as a breach of Nigeria’s privacy law.

The probe is being carried out by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). According to the agency, the action of the Lagos tax administrator contravenes provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation, 2019.

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Lagos State creates tax portal for individuals, corporate organisations 

Ayodele Subair

Nairametrics had reported that the Lagos State government created a portal for taxpayers; individuals and corporate organisations. The tax portal is an initiative that ensures ease of tax administration in Lagos State and eliminates cumbersome procedures, allowing taxpayers to monitor and access their tax information. To access your tax details as a registered taxpayer, what you need is your taxpayer’s name.

A costly mistake: Director-General, NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi, explained that to access personal information of taxpayers was a glitch from a consultant of the service. He said despite the exposure of data being a third-party mistake, LIRS wouldn’t be protected from “responsibility or culpability from whatever actions, civil or criminal, that may arise from such glitch.

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“We stress that such glitches are in breach of the NDPR and invariably the National Information Technology Development Agency Act, 2007.”

He added that, “The agency will further investigate this breach and the circumstances surrounding it with the aim of assessing the impact of the breach as well as determine responsibility and culpability of data controllers or processors connected to the breach and prevent future occurrence.

“We also advise the public to be vigilant and to report immediately to NITDA or other law enforcement agencies if they notice that the information of any data subject on the LIRS database is further disclosed or used in any manner in violation of the NDPR.”

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[READ MORE: Six firms face LIRS sanction over non-remittance of N42.68 million Income Tax)

The problem with the portal: While the initiative will ease procedure and help taxpayers monitor their tax activities, it could grant strangers access to the personal information of individuals and corporate organisations without approval. All that is needed is the individual or company name, and the taxpayer’s ID, email, phone and address will be made available.

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Patricia

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: US to start manufacturing vaccine for the virus in next 4 weeks 

Trump’s Operation Warp Programme has helped finance the development of 4 COVID-19 vaccines.

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Novavax secures $1.6 billion funding for covid-19 vaccine production

A senior United States administration official has said on Monday that, the government’s partnership with some drug makers to actively start the manufacturing of a vaccine for COVID-19 are on track. 

The US government has partnered and given grants ranging from several hundred millions of dollars to over $1 billion to drug makers like Johnson & Johnson, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Novavax Inc. 

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It also signed a $450 million contract earlier this month with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc in order to help it supply therapies for patients who are sick with the virus. 

According to a report from Reuters, the US government official said, ‘’If you say exactly when will literally the vaccine materials be in production and manufacturing, it is probably four to six weeks away, but we will be actively manufacturing by the end of summer.’’ 

He also said that US is already working with companies to equip manufacturing facilities and acquire raw materials. 

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It should be noted that the Trump administration while working towards producing 300 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021, has helped finance the development of 4 COVID-19 vaccines through its Operation Warp Programme. 

The senior US official also said, ‘’While we think is fair to say that vaccine progress is occurring at warp speed pace, faster than any vaccines have been developed in history, therapeutics are even faster. 

He also pointed out that clinical trials for therapeutics can produce results in a matter of weeks, thereby making it possible to produce hundreds of thousands of doses in a couple of months. 

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There has been reported progress in the search of a cure for COVID-19 as the race amongst drug makers, health institutions and governments to develop a vaccine for the virus hots up. 

Nairametrics had reported that German biotech firm, BioNTech in partnership with New York-based pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, had announced that the COVID-19 vaccine candidate is expected to be ready to obtain regulatory approval by the end of 2020. 

The European Union on its part has made deals with drug makers, Roche and Merck, to secure supplies of experimental treatments for COVID-19. The deal will secure supplies to any of the 27 European Union member countries who will be willing to buy the vaccines. 

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The World Health Organization (WHO) and its key partners also plan to purchase 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for distribution to the most vulnerable people around the world by the end of 2021. 

The WHO and the partners which include Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), revealed that about $18.1 billion will be needed to implement this plan.  

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Appointments

AfDB appoints Rabah Arezki as new vice president and chief economist 

Before Arezki joined the World Bank, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has announced the appointment of Dr Rabah Arezki as  Chief Economist and Vice President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, with effect from October 1, 2020. 

This was disclosed in a press statement on the bank’s website on July 13, 2020. 

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Dr Rabah Arezkiwho is an Algerian citizen, is currently the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank, a role he has held since 2017. 

At the World Bank, he led the development of the Bank’s “moonshot approach” for the Middle East and Africa which aims to achieve full internet and digital payment connectivity. He championed the agenda on fair competition, data and transparency to empower and unlock the potential of the region’s youth. 

Before Arezki joined the World Bank, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2006 to 2017. He started his career at the IMF as an Economist and became the Chief of the Commodities and Environment Unit in the Research Department. He provided leadership on IMF’s rapid response to the historical collapse in oil prices that started in 2014. He advised authorities all around the world on risk mitigation policies. 

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Dr Arezki is a senior fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, an external Research Associate at the Oxford University, UK, a research fellow at the CESifo, a global independent research network. Dr. Arezki is also a resource person for the African Economic Research Consortium and a Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum. He has been a non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institute, USA. 

He has published extensively both in top academic journals and policy-oriented outlets and is a co-editor and co-author of five books including Shifting Commodity Markets in a Globalized World. Many of his research papers have been cited extensively in academic circles and in prominent media outlets.  

In his statement after his appointment, Dr Arezki said, The African Development Bank is making excellent progress in accelerating Africa’s development. I am excited with the opportunity to work with President Adesina and the Bank’s leadership and teams to further provide top notch policy, knowledge and capacity building support for African countries.” 

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Dr Arezki holds a Masters in Economics and Statistics from Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Economique (ENSAE) – France (2003), and a PhD in Economics from the European University Institute – Italy (2006). He is multilingual and fluent in French, English, and Arabic. 

In his own response, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, said, I am delighted that Dr. Rabah Arezki is joining the African Development Bank Group following an impactful career at the World Bank and the IMF. Rabah is an outstanding researcher and policy expert with extensive experience in research, policy and reforms.” 

“His leadership will be especially important as the Bank designs and deploys policy-based operations to address COVID-19, advances policy reforms, and supports African countries growth recovery efforts from the pandemic,” Adesina added. 

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Corporate Press Releases

NSE simplifies investing in the capital market with comic book

StockTown is dedicated to providing financial literacy education to Nigerians.

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The proliferation of dubious investment schemes that often result in loss of money by unsuspecting members of the public continues to make the role of financial literacy imperative. To play its part, Nigeria’s leading bourse, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE or The Exchange) has issued the second edition of its comic, StockTown, dedicated to providing financial literacy education to Nigerians.

The comic, available in digital format on a dedicated website at www.nse-stocktown.com builds on The Exchange’s advocacy for safe and trusted investment schemes.

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READ ALSO: NSE aids financial literacy, rewards students with equity, edufund

The story picks up from the first edition, following the life of Mora Johnson as she seeks to liberate her family from their financial struggles by investing in the capital market. This second edition highlights some major lessons for potential and existing investors including the need for vigilance in avoiding Ponzi schemes and unregulated investments, whilst advising prospective investors to seek proper guidance before making investment decisions. Readers can look forward to a simplified explanation of the history of the capital market, its evolution over the years, and how anyone can start making investments today in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of StockTown.

Commenting on the importance of this comic book, Head, Corporate Communications, NSE, Olumide Orojimi said, “Investor Education is a priority for us at The Exchange. We have identified the need to empower individuals across all levels to make good financial decisions and better their lives now and in the future. As the investment landscape continues to evolve to accommodate more retail participants, we are excited to leverage new and existing platforms to present investment products and processes in ways that are both appealing and easy to understand, particularly in this new normal. We hope that StockTown becomes a widely-read resource for potential and existing investors, the financially excluded, millennials and the larger public.”

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READ ALSO: Gold rises above $1,800 amid COVID-19 surge, weaker dollar

StockTown is just one of the many ways NSE demonstrates its strong commitment to promoting financial literacy in Nigeria. Even amidst the Coronavirus pandemic and the temporary closure of The Exchange’s facilities, NSE continues to host virtual financial literacy workshops with students and young upwardly mobile professionals. Furthermore, The Exchange has hosted several webinars on various products including Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Green Bonds, and Securities Lending to provide more information to the market on available securities and how to trade them.

It should also be recalled that NSE is a member of the Financial Literacy Technical Committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); as well as the National Finance Inclusion Steering Committee led by the Central Bank of Nigeria with a mandate to reduce the level of financial exclusion in Nigeria to 20%.

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