The Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has vowed that he will not sign off the 2021 Appropriation Bill presently before the National Assembly if adequate provisions are not made for the compensation of the families of the victims of police brutality and meeting the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Gbajabiamila insisted that the implementation of the agreement between ASUU and the Federal Government must also be captured in the budget. Both the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate are expected to sign bills passed by the National Assembly before they are transmitted to the President for assent.
In his opening remarks at the plenary on Tuesday, Gbajabiamila said,
“I will not sign off on a 2021 budget that does not have adequate provisions to compensate those who have suffered violence from police in the last decade. I will not sign off on a budget that does not meet the reasonable demands of ASUU to which government has already acceded.”
The speaker said that he hopes to visit the families of those who have been victims of police brutality, alongside some of his colleagues in the house of representatives. He described the youths protesting across the country as midwives of national rebirth, saying their agitation has brought about a historical moment in the country.
“You (protesting youths) have moved a nation to action, and now you must join in doing the hard work of making real the vision of a more just, more prosperous, and more resilient nation.
“We see your true cause. Please do not allow your righteous cause to be hijacked by those with base motives, who see in this moment an opportunity to pursue vendettas, to spread division, exploit the many existing fissures that exist in our society, and bring our nation to its knees.
“You have raised your voices and marched to demand a better Nigeria. From Abuja to Washington, to Calgary and London, your voices have been heard. Do not allow anybody to convince you that to withdraw from the streets now is to concede defeat. This is the time to move your agitation from the chaos of the streets to the painstaking deliberations and strategic partnerships that birth policy and produce legislation.
“It is time to mobilize your voices in support of specific policy interventions that will deliver on our shared objectives of national renewal and a country that reflects the best of us. I thank you, your country thanks you, and history will be kind to you,” he said.
He said the #EndSARS protests have gotten more serious with pockets of violence in parts of the country as it seems to have been hijacked by those who have a different agenda.
Gbajabiamila noted that the Federal Government, through the National Human Rights Commission, had set up a panel of inquiry to take complaints from victims of police brutality.
He promised some measures to address the problem of police brutality in the country which includes drafting new legislation that enables a system to hold erring police officers to account for their conduct in the performance of their duties.
According to Gbajabiamila, the draft legislation which will be enacted in collaboration with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), will be ready for consideration within 30 days.
FEC okays FMBN’s request to purchase banking application software for N487.39 million
The FEC has approved the request made by the FMBN to purchase core banking application software from FINTAX at about N487.39million.
The Federal Executive Council has approved the request made by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to purchase core banking application software from Messrs FINTAX, worth N487.39million.
This disclosure was made by the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), as revealed by the Government of Nigeria, and seen by Nairametrics.
What they are saying
Commenting on the recent development, the Minister said: “The other memorandum I presented, which was approved for the procurement of a core banking application software for the Federal Mortgage Bank in the sum of N487, 394,285.71 to enable the bank provide all of the frontline services that other banks now provide in all of its branches.
“Unlike other banks, the Federal Mortgage Bank is still unable to send automated notices, statements, and all those things to National Housing Fund contributors; all the types of alerts you get and operating accounts from any branch irrespective of where you maintain your accounts.’’
Why it matters
The recent announcement is a welcome development, especially as it aims to digitalize the operations of the bank and reposition it to be more effective and efficient in carrying out its tasks.
Empirical studies have also shown that with technology, the growth boundary of any firm is limitless. As a result, Nairametrics believes that if adequately employed, the purchase and subsequent use of the software could be a game-changer for the bank.
What you should know
- The Federal Executive Council approved the sum of N120.72billion to facilitate sundry projects and purchases for effective delivery.
- Of this amount, Nairametrics had earlier reported that the Federal Government of Nigeria had approved the sum of N117 billion for road rehabilitation nationwide.
- The sum of N2.1 billion contract was awarded to Julius Berger to furnish the NIS Technology building, which houses the service’s data communication command and control center.
Intels is operating above the law due to its political influence – NPA Boss
The MD of the NPA has stated that Intels has been using its political influence to disregard government policies.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Port Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman has said that Integrated Logistics Services (Intels), has been using its political influence to operate outside of the legal framework of the Nigerian maritime regulations.
The NPA boss disclosed this in an interview with Arise TV on Thursday, in response to the contractual and TSA issues between the FG and Intels.
In her interview with Arise News, she said there is nothing political about the FG telling a company to pay what it owes to the TSA.
She said, “I don’t see what is political about a company complying with TSA. So, if government says all revenue of government should go into the Treasury Single Account and a private company refuses to comply, and government says you must comply, what’s political about that?
“In fact, who’s being political here? it is Intels, which has always had political advantage and always difficult to get them to comply with government’s directives. So, can we look at it that way, because I am curious as to what’s political about the fact that your contract ended and the NPA is reclaiming back its service.
“How is it political that your contract ended on August 9 and government said now that your contract has ended, we will continue that service you rendered and pay that your sister company for any revenue that arises and you say ‘No, I must be the service provider’. So, what’s political about that?
She said the political angle to the dispute was caused by Intels’ thinking that it is above regulatory scrutiny, because of its political influence.
“For me, what’s even political is the fact that a company thinks it is above the law, because it has been using its own political influence to operate outside of the legal framework. So, we should be asking Intels why it’s been political with its operations,” she said.
She added that the Service Boats relationship was another added layer to the conflict between the FG and Intels, citing that Intels sued the FG to remain as 3rd party service provider for Service Boats.
“On Intels, we have layers of relations. The noncompliance to TSA after a lot of pushback, and now their contract relationship with us on Service Boats has expired.
“They have gone to court to request for them to remain as the 3rd party provider, which is ridiculous. You can’t force government to allow you provide a service.
“Of course, we have another project to do with them regarding an amortization project. Revenues made from Service Boats is meant to pay for the amortization. But, the point is that Intels need not be the service provider for that service, to enable government repay them for that amortization.
“But of course, they have gone to court, and we are challenging it to ensure the FG gets value for their money,” she added.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in 2018 that Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman revealed how the revenue from the pilotage agreement between the Federal Government, Ports Authority, and Integrated Logistics Services was shared.
- According to Bala-Usman, the agreement allowed Intels to take 28 percent of the generated revenue for its services, while noting that the agreement was silent on the sharing formula for the 72 percent balance between Intels and NPA. This loophole made Intels remit arbitrary payments to the government through NPA at its discretion.
- Intels, in October 2017 had been drawn into a battle with the NPA over the termination of the pilotage agreement with the firm, based on advice by Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
- The company had threatened legal action, but later backed down and made assurances that it would comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) rules. This led to the issuance of ultimatum to Intels to pay $48million into the TSA.
- The NPA boss said the $48 million is the amount Intels ought to have remitted to the government between November 2016 and December 2017.
FIRS to commence recovery of all outstanding tax debts and penalties from January 1, 2021
The FIRS has stated that it shall recover all outstanding debt with penalties and interest from January 1, 2021.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has disclosed that its waivers on penalties and interest on outstanding taxes arising from desk examinations, audit exercises, investigations, or all other forms of tax assessment will close on December 31, 2020.
Hence, effective from January 1, 2021 the Service shall recover all outstanding debt with penalties and interest, in accordance with the provisions of the extant tax laws.
This disclosure was made by Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, the Director of Communications and Liaison Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service, in a press release issued on December 2, 2020.
Consequently, the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, in a notice urged taxpayers to use the advantage of the remaining days of this month to settle their tax obligations in order to enjoy all subsisting waivers offered thereof by the Service.
The Executive Chairman in the reminder notice tagged “Public Notice on the Recovery of Outstanding Taxes from Taxpayers”, disclosed that FIRS in recent times, has issued a series of palliatives for the waivers of penalties and interest on outstanding taxes.
He explained that the Service had noticed that some taxpayers are yet to take advantage of the palliative windows opened to cushion the effect of the challenges of the economy on taxpayers.
Mr. Nami, however, called the attention of taxpayers to the last window of opportunity for the waiver of outstanding penalties and interest on all taxes collectible by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which will close on 31st December 2020.
What they are saying
Mr. Muhammad Nami, in the reminder notice, said:
“The Service has observed that some taxpayers are yet to take advantage of the palliative windows opened to cushion the effect of the challenges of the economy on taxpayers.
“Furthermore, the Service wishes to put all taxpayers on notice that the last window of opportunity for the waiver of outstanding penalties and interest on all taxes collectible by the Federal Inland Revenue Service shall close on 31st December 2020.
“Consequently, all concerned taxpayers are hereby put on notice that after the expiration date of 31st December 2020, the Service shall recover all outstanding debt with penalties and interest, in accordance with the provisions of the extant tax laws such as ‘the power of substitution’ conferred on it by Section 31 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007.”