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FG uses VAIDS to raise N70 billion from Nigerians 

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that FG made use of VAIDS programme to raise over N70 billion from Nigerians. 

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FG runs N1.14 trillion budget deficit in three months , Nigeria cannot beat ECOWAS single currency deadline, here’s why , Nigeria considers request for debt relief as debt stock climbs

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that the Federal Government made use of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) programme to raise over N70 billion from Nigerians.

The VAIDS programme was launched to encourage individuals and companies yet to declare their assets and taxes to come forward without prosecution from the tax administrator. This was a strategy deployed by the government to widen the tax bracket in the country.

President Buhari may sign 2020 Budget tomorrow, President Buhari approves N37 billion for National Assembly renovation, President Buhari appoints Sarki Auwalu to head DPR , Economy: Reviewing FG’s 2019 revenue performance, Nigeria, and other African markets top destination for investments in 2020

Speaking on the essence of VAIDS programme, Ahmed said, “data from the VAIDS Tax Amnesty programme has since generated over N70 billion in terms of tax revenue; in underpaid taxes and significantly increased the quantum of previously undeclared, but taxable assets.”

“Project Lighthouse continues to illuminate the grey areas where non-compliant taxpayers reside’’. She further explained that the inauguration of the Tax Appeal Tribunals (TATs) “have identified new cases, so they’ve reported 78 new TAT appeals with a disputed value of N73.3 billion and USD19.5 million.”

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According to her, the TATs have resolved over 67 appeals with a disputed tax value of over N328.8 billion and USD6.6 billion.

[READ MORE: FG queries states over RoW charge increase)

FG’s aggressive tax reform: Tax collection has been one of the major revenue sources for President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. His government has been trying to expand the tax net and rate as well.

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Recently, President Buhari signed the Financial Bill into law. While the bill encourages the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), it also introduces an increase in the Value-Added Tax (VAT) rate from 5% to 7.5%. The Federal Government plans to use the 2020 Finance Bill to raise N8.155 trillion as it moves to implement the tax reforms.

The aggressive tax revenue gathering and FG’s tax reform are reportedly in favour of Nigerians. According to Ahmed, majority of the revenue will be going to the state and local governments. While 15% of the capital will go to the Federal Government, local governments will get 35% and 50% will go to the states.

Failure to meet tax revenue projection was cited as one of the reasons President Buhari didn’t reappoint Babatunde Fowler, the former Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). He was replaced after not the projections for over three years.

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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Hospitality & Travel

Aviation Unions threaten to shut airspace on Monday, as NLC insists on strike

All aviation workers are directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide on 28th September 2020.

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Major aviation unions in Nigeria have threatened to shut the nation’s airspace in support of the Organised Labour nationwide industrial action expected to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020.

The unions are the National Union of Air Transport Employees, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals.

This was disclosed by the General Secretary of the National Union of Aviation Employees, Aba Ocheme, in a statement, according to Vanguard.

The unions reportedly asked their members to withdraw services from all aerodromes nationwide indefinitely.

He said, “As such all workers in the aviation sector are hereby directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide as from 00hrs of 28th September 2020 until otherwise communicated by the NLC/TUC or our unions. All workers shall comply.”

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Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday also insisted that it will go on with its planned mass action scheduled for Monday, September 28.

In a communique by its General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the NLC asked its members across the nation to come out in large numbers to protest the increase in fuel and electricity prices.

The order was given despite a fresh court order obtained by the Federal Government, barring the NLC and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.

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Ugboaja explained that the NLC has asked all National Leadership of affiliates in Abuja to mobilise at least 2,000 of their members to Unity Fountain, Abuja for the mass rally which takes off at 7am.

Also, affiliates are expected to mobilise the same number of members to the NLC Sub-Secretariat, 29, Olajuwon Street, Yaba, Lagos, which is the take-off point for the Lagos action at 7am also.

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Business

It would be difficult to find loans to finance rail to Niger Republic – Cheta Nwanze

Finding loans to finance rail to the Niger Republic would be difficult, says Cheta Nwanze.

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It would be difficult to find loans to finance rail to Niger Republic- Cheta Nwanze

Cheta Nwanze, Lead Partner at socioeconomic research firm, SBM Intelligence, says that it would be difficult to find loan financiers for the proposed $1.9 billion rail project from Kano to Maradi in Niger republic.

Cheta, in an interview with Nairametrics on Friday, explained that it appears that Nigeria is more keen on the project than Niger Republic.

Back story: Nairametrics reported this week that the Federal Executive Council has approved the disbursement of $1.96 billion, for the railway line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic.

According to the report, the President is also expected to commission the Warri-Itakpe standard gauge rail line, running through Kogi, Edo, and Delta States.

“Nigeria is investing so much in this rail line, given that we are Niger’s 4th largest trading partner,” Cheta said.

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He added that Niger, although being landlocked already, has an existing infrastructure for its imports and export services, which is much better utilized than Nigeria’s export infrastructure.

“The majority of their imports from France, China, and the USA come in via the port of Lome, precisely because the port in Lome works, and the rail link in Togo is much better than ours.

“Nigeria, on the other hand, has let its Apapa port to become a wreck, while transportation between Lagos and Kano/Jibia is a nightmare, if we’re being charitable with words.”

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(READ MORE: Trade and Investments, a way out of Nigeria’s economic troubles – Fola Fagbule)

According to him, with the reality of the Apapa congestion and other factors, finding fund for such project, when debt to service ratio is high and amidst reduced oil revenue, will be difficult.

“With these realities in mind, I find it difficult to imagine who will extend such a loan to Nigeria, especially since, as far as all the information available to me indicates, Niger does not seem as keen on pushing this as Nigeria does,” he added.

However, the media aide to President Buhari, Garba Shehu, disclosed that the Federal Government is not constructing a rail line from Nigeria linking Kano-Dutse-Maradi into the Niger Republic, as it will only stop at the designated border point.

Maradi is 55km from the Katsina border Town of Jibia.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 25th of September 2020, 213 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 58,062 confirmed cases.

On the 25th of September 2020, 213 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 10,526 samples across the country.

To date, 58,062 cases have been confirmed, 49,606 cases have been discharged and 1,103 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 494,577  tests have been carried out as of September 25th, 2020 compared to 484,051 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 25th September 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 58,062
  • Total Number Discharged – 49,606
  • Total Deaths – 1,103
  • Total Tests Carried out – 494,577

According to the NCDC, the 213 new cases are reported from 17 states- Lagos (51), Plateau (51), FCT (29), Rivers (18), Ondo (12), Oyo (9), Osun (8), Gombe (7), Ogun (7), Kaduna (5), Enugu (4), Edo (3), Jigawa (3), Kano (3), Benue (1), Delta (1), Sokoto (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 19,174, followed by Abuja (5,644), Plateau (3,373), Oyo (3,248), Edo (2,620), Kaduna (2,389), Rivers (2,305), Delta (1,801), Ogun (1,796), Kano (1,737), Ondo (1,620), Enugu (1,289), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,028), Abia (881), Gombe (864). Katsina (848), Osun (826),  Borno (741), and Bauchi (692).

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Imo State has recorded 566 cases, Benue (481), Nasarawa (449), Bayelsa (397),  Jigawa (325), Ekiti (317), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (259), Adamawa (237), Anambra (234), Sokoto (162), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

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The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

 

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