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Business News

Court strikes out MTN Nigeria’s suit against AGF, as FIRS, Customs take over tax probe

The Federal High Court has struck out MTN Nigeria’s lawsuit against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

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Court strikes out MTN Nigeria's suit against AGF, as FIRS, Customs take over tax probe

The Federal High Court has struck out MTN Nigeria‘s lawsuit against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami. Justice C.J. Aneke had made the ruling a year and months after the telecommunications company instituted the case citing abuse of power.

The case was struck out after MTN Nigeria notified the court of its intention to drop the case following an out of court settlement between both parties. In November 2019, MTN Nigeria instituted a lawsuit against the AGF after the AGF demanded the sum of N242 billion and $1.2 billion for import duties, withholding and value-added taxes.

$9bn, P&ID, $9.6 billion award: UK Court grants Nigeria stay of execution, requests $200 million payment 

Abubakar Malami, SAN

MTN Nigeria had argued then that Malami acted beyond his powers and violated the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution on fair hearing with “the purported revenue assets investigation” he carried out on the firm’s activities covering 2007 to 2017.

However, on January 11, 2020, Nairametrics reported that MTN planned to drop its N3 billion lawsuit. MTN Nigeria’s withdrawal was cited in court by Habibat Ajana, the counsel for the AGF. This led to Malami informing the court that he had reviewed the issue and had decided to withdraw the demand letter for $2 billion tax.

FIRS and Customs taking over: With the AGF dropping its demand from MTN, the issue is expected to be transferred to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service as directed by the office of the Attorney General.

This is expected to eliminate the abuse of power by the AGF as MTN Nigeria will now engage with the FIRS and Customs to resolve the alleged indebtedness of MTN Nigeria.

[READ MORE: MTN plans to invest additional $1.6 billion to consolidate on Nigerian operation)

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MTN meets with Pres. Buhari: Weeks after the report that the network provider was withdrawing its legal action against the AGF, MTN Group Limited’s Chairman, Mcebisi Jonas, visited President Muhammadu Buhari.

Pictures shared from the visit showed that Ferdinand Moolman, the CEO of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, as well as Ernest Ndukwe, the Chairman of MTN Nigeria, were among the MTN delegates. The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission, Garba Danbatta, was also present with the Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami.

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While receiving the MTN delegates, President Buhari was said to have thanked them for the courtesy call. He also urged MTN to align itself with Nigeria’s digital economy policy and strategy.

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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Business News

FG to distribute 10 million LPG gas cylinders in 1 year

The FG is set to inject up to 10 million gas cylinders into the market to help improve safety and deepen cooking gas utilization.

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The Federal Government has announced plans to inject 5 to 10 million Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders into the market in the next one year.

This is to help improve safety and deepen LPG (otherwise known as cooking gas) utilization across the country.

This disclosure was made by the Programme Manager, National LPG Expansion Implementation Plan, Mr Dayo Adeshina, at a sensitisation workshop on LPG Adoption and Implementation for Industry Stakeholders, on Wednesday in Lagos.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Adeshina said the National LPG Expansion Implementation Plan, domiciled in the Office of the Vice President, was committed to achieving Nigeria’s target of 5 million Metric Tonnes of LPG consumption annually by 2027.

What the Programme Manager for LPG Expansion Implementation Plan is saying

Adeshina said, “The Federal Government is working towards injecting five to 10 million cooking gas cylinders into the market within the next one year. We are starting the cylinder injection under the first phase in 11 pilot states and FCT, with two states from each of the geopolitical zones.

The states are Lagos, Ogun, Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina, Sokoto, Delta, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Enugu, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory. The cylinders will be injected through the marketers. The marketers will be responsible for the cylinders and the exchange will take place in homes and not in filling stations.

What this means is that going forward, cylinders will not be owned by individuals but by the marketers who will ensure that they are safe for usage.’

Adeshina pointed out that apart from household consumption, the government was trying to increase LPG usage in agriculture, transportation and manufacturing adding that this will enable the country to reduce CO2 emission by about 20% and create millions of jobs for Nigerians.

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He said that the government had also granted waivers on importation of LPG equipment and removed Value Added Tax (VAT) on LPG in addition to investment in infrastructure.

The President of the Nigerian Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association, Mr Nuhu Yakubu, said efforts should be made to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of cooking gas in the country adding that this would encourage more Nigerians to embrace gas usage in their homes with the attendant benefits to the country.

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Mr Olalere Odusote, Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, said the population of Lagos makes it imperative for residents to adopt cleaner energy sources for cooking, transportation and power generation adding that the government was targeting the conversion of 45% of about 4 million vehicles in the state to autogas over a four-year period in partnership with marketers.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Federal Government had in November 2020, announced plans for the conversion of cars to autogas in a bid to have cheaper and cleaner energy especially with the high cost of petrol.
  • The government at different levels are pursuing cleaner energy sources for cooking, transportation and power generation.

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Business

JAMB bans use of email by candidates for UTME, DE registration

JAMB has announced that candidates for the UTME and Direct Entry will no longer be required to provide their email addresses at the point of registration.

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The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has announced that candidates for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Direct Entry will no longer be required to provide their email addresses at the point of registration.

The new adjustment is to protect candidates from various forms of manipulation and distortion of their personal details by some fraudulent cyber café operators.

The Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, who made the disclosure while addressing newsmen at the board’s headquarters on Wednesday in Bwari, Abuja, said the change, would take effect from Thursday, April 15, 2021.

What the JAMB Registrar is saying

Oloyede said, “They gain access to profiles of these candidates under the pretense of creating an email address for them. Then they change and block the candidates from receiving messages from the board. They also extort them after they change their passwords.

In view of this, the board has come up with adjustments to our operations. The first decision is that beginning from Thursday, April 15, candidates would no longer be required to provide any email address during registration from this year onwards.

It is by going to these cyber cafes to open emails that these candidates are open to abuse and stealing of their personal data,’’ he said.

He said that the board now had a mobile app that would allow candidates to deal directly with the board with their smartphones or via SMS to ‘55019’ code option.

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The code option, he explained, would allow candidates to check admission status as well as all other verifications via SMS.

He said, “Printing of examination slips, results notification or raising tickets can be done anywhere by using candidates’ registration number only. However, at the close of registration every year, we would need the email addresses of the candidates so we can have access to as many of them as possible.

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At the conclusion of registration, candidates are expected to send their email addresses through the mobile app or text message to the 55019 code twice, for validation. This is to update their profile with JAMB as the email will no longer be used as access to their profile, but rather as a communication tool with candidates.’

While advising candidates to guard their phones with utmost care as it was the weapon for all transactions, Oloyede said that henceforth, all JAMB owned Computer-Based Tests (CBT) centres across the country, would only allow candidates with ATM cards into its centres.

He said that in order to cut down on the activities of fraudsters who hijack candidates to extort money from them, the centres would no longer allow candidates go outside the centres to pay for their e-pins and other cash transactions.

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The JAMB Registrar said, “Only candidates with ATM cards will be allowed into all JAMB owned CBT centres, it can be that of their parents as long as they have the pin for the transaction.

“Those without ATM cards can go to other privately owned CBT centres where they can pay cash to register but we will not take cash or transact outside our centres.’’

What you should know

Meanwhile, in a related development, JAMB had said that the board lost over N10 million in 2020 to activities of fraudsters who penetrated their payment portal for ad-hoc staff.

The JAMB Registrar said that the money, which was meant to pay JAMB ad-hoc staff from the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), was hijacked by the suspected fraudsters.

JAMB had a few days ago confirmed the commencement of registration for the 2021 UTME/DE examinations after the initial hiccup.

It stated that applicants must provide NIN at the point of registration with the registration by Direct Entry candidates to run concurrently with that of UTME candidates.

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