The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has given the reason it is yet to call off its ongoing strike, following its dispute with the Federal Government.
The national body of the university lecturers said that they are waiting for the government to conduct an integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), a homegrown payment platform created by ASUU in place of the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
While making the disclosure during an interview with Punch, the ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, said the government needed to give the clearance to National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to conduct an integrity test on UTAS.
The ASUU President said, “The integrity test will be handled by NITDA, it is the government that will facilitate it because NITDA is a government agency and unless you get clearance from the government that test cannot be conducted.”
On whether the government had accepted UTAS, Ogunyemi said, “We are still talking, we have given them the position of our members, we are thinking we should be able to hold a meeting this week if they have not changed plans. The meeting for Monday was postponed. In principle, they have accepted UTAS and told us to go for the test, and on our part, we have started the process.
“We had presented UTAS at three levels, starting with the Ministry of Education, Senate President and members of his team, officials of Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, where all other stakeholders were present, including NITDA. All stakeholders have witnessed the presentation and the next stage of integrity test is what we are moving into.
“If government facilitates it, it is not something that should drag for too long at all. We don’t foresee any problem with UTAS, it also depends on how early the government makes it possible for the integrity test to be conducted.”
Ogunyemi also explained that ASUU was ready to resume academic activities if the government was ready to play its part.
He said, “Our members are ready to resume work as early as the government is ready to play its part. I’m sure you are not suggesting that our members should resume on an empty stomach or the strike should be suspended without any concrete action on the side of the government. We don’t like to stay away from our work because we like our students; they are also our children.’’
Ogunyemi noted that as far as they are concerned, they don’t have any issue with going back to work, but they want more sincerity on the side of government.
What you should know
It can be recalled that ASUU embarked on an industrial action about 8 months ago across the country, following its dispute with the Federal Government over their insistence on the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in the payment of University lecturers’ salaries and allowances. Alternatively, ASUU developed a homegrown payment platform, UTAS, which they believe guarantees the autonomy of the university.
The Federal Government, following negotiation with ASUU, said that it might consider adopting UTAS as a way of finding a solution to the lingering crisis.
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.”
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala bags Forbes African of the Year, 2020
Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala has emerged the first African woman to win Forbes’ African of the Year award.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former minister of Finance and former Managing Director of the World Bank, has been named the Forbes African of the Year, 2020.
Forbes Africa announced on its official Twitter handle on Tuesday as it tweeted, “The 2020 #AfricanOftheYear Award honoree is…Congratulations to Dr. @NOlweala! Board Chair @Gavi; Board Chair @ARCapicity, gracing the cover of @forbesafrica,”
The honouree of the award would grace the cover of Forbes Africa magazine.
Last year’s edition of the award was also won by a Nigerian, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank (2013 and 2019). Other Nigerians that have won include Muhammad Sanusi II (2011), Aliko Dangote (2014), amongst others.
In response to the tweet by Forbes Africa on its official handle, the 66-year-old replied through her Twitter handle saying she was thrilled to win the award and also dedicated the award to Africans suffering from the impact of the pandemic.
“Thrilled to be named @forbesafrica-CNBC 2020 African of the Year following in the footsteps of my great Brothers @PaulKagame and @akin_adesina,This award is for fellow Africans suffering the health & economic impact of Covid19. The energy and resilience of Africans inspire me!,” she tweeted.
The award is coming weeks after Okonjo-Iweala emerged the overwhelming choice for the post of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation after gaining the support of the majority of the 164 member-nations.
N117 billion approved by FG for road rehabilitation
Babatunde Fashola has disclosed that the FG has approved the sum of over N117 billion for road rehabilitation across the country.
The Federal Government has approved the sum of over N117 billion for the rehabilitation of roads across the country in 2021.
This was disclosed by Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, in a press briefing after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting was held in Abuja on Wednesday.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported last month that Mr Fashola had stated that the Ministry’s priority in its 2021 budget was to complete already ongoing road and bridge projects across the nation.
- Fashola also said that the Federal Government needed at least N500 billion annually for the next 3 years to develop and fix its 35,000 kilometres road network, as work continued on 13,000 kilometres of the network.
- Fashola stated last month that the Federal Government was committed to finishing the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, adding that the drop in crude oil prices could not be a barrier to its completion.
Fashola disclosed on Wednesday that the sum of N18.9 billion, was approved for the rehabilitation of roads and bridges including the 26 km of Kano-Dambatta-Kazaure-Daura road, Anambra- Enugu Roads, Bridge construction Cross River, Nkumi bridge and others.
“The other memorandum relating to roads also is for the total sum of N98.7 billion,” he added. This includes roads and bridges in Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Anambra and Kano