The United Nation’s World Food Programme with the Food and Agriculture Organization has warned that Nigeria could face a “major (food) emergency… or series of emergencies” in the next three to six months, alongside Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Yemen.
This was disclosed in a report by the United Nations on Friday evening. The UN said the most vulnerable region in Nigeria is the North East, adding that the drivers of these humanitarian crises include long-running conflicts, and a lack of humanitarian access to communities in need.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported in March, that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation predicted that 7 million Nigerians would experience food shortage between June and August 2020, as 16 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were identified to face food and nutrition crisis.
FAO reported that states like Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Benue, Gombe, Taraba, Katsina, Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Plateau, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Niger would be affected.
It urged thus: “Introduce policies and programs that are crucial for improving the livelihood of the poor to improve self-reliance and reduce total reliance on food assistance as well as prevent further deterioration of the food and nutrition security situation during the clean season.”
In Friday’s statement, WFP spokesperson, Tomson Phiri, highlighted how people’s dire situations were linked to an insurgency in northern Burkina Faso and northeastern Nigeria. He said,
“People have lost assets, people have lost their capability to cope with any shocks. We had …unprecedented floods this year; floodwaters were submerging whole towns, people are struggling, the harvest that was just about to come in.”
The WFP revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns worsened food insecurity in 27 countries, with up to 104.6 million people in need.
“In those 27 countries, the number of people that are already facing acute food insecurity are (sic) more than 100 million already. Analysis obviously is continuously ongoing so we except this number to increase much more,” said WFP’s Ah Poe.
“And earlier on this year, we… had estimated in the countries where we are operating – which is around 80 countries – an additional 121 million people would be at risk of falling into food insecurity,” the WFP said.
Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Sahel Consulting, told Nairametrics in April that it would be impossible for Nigeria to achieve food security or GDP growth when more than 74% of her small-scale farmers were financially excluded.
“According to a report by the @worldbankdata, there is a strong correlation between financial inclusion and GDP growth. Improving access to finance for smallholder farmers will improve their output, the availability and affordability of food, and in turn the GDP of our economy”
“Our regional and national borders are closed, and trading is being restricted. These realities, if pro-longed and not urgently addressed, will lead to short term consequences of food shortages, price hikes, and medium to long term consequences of under-nutrition, mass starvation,” she added.
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.”