The Federal Government has revealed its plans to repackage its social intervention programmes to make sure more people at the grassroots benefit from it.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this during the “Good Morning Nigeria” programme on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), the decision was taken after complaints by Nigerians that the social intervention programmes were not getting to the grassroots.
According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the people in their various states, told the Ministers when they were directed by President Muhammadu Buhari to interact with them, that the programmes were not getting to as many people as they should.
He said that the traditional rulers and other stakeholders from various geopolitical zones made the same complaints when the presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, met with them.
Mohammed said, “What we found out when we got home was that the programmes were not trickling to the grassroots and that is why we have taken a decision to see how we can repackage them. Everywhere we went, even traditional rulers said they ought to be involved in the execution of the programmes.”
“I recently wrote a memo to our colleagues that we want the list of all the programmes, so that we can also periodically publish them and let them know where they can be accessed. It is not that there is no information on the programmes. It is the execution that needs fine-tuning. We need to involve other tiers of government in the execution of some of these programmes.”
The Minister said various social intervention programmes were initiated before the #EndSARS protests, and designed to create jobs for the youths and also alleviate poverty among women and the vulnerable groups.
What you should know
It can be recalled that there have been numerous public calls over the implementation of the various social intervention programmes, with allegations of corruption and diversion of some funds.
This has caused conflicts between the members of the National Assembly and officials of the executive arm of government, who are saddled with the task of implementing the programmes.
Some of these programmes include the N-Power programme, TRADERMONI, MARKETMONI, FARMERMONI, MSME Survival Fund, N75billion National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), amongst others.
Buhari directs FIRS, others to ensure strict compliance of tax payment by foreign firms
President Buhari has directed the FIRS and other related government agencies to ensure strict compliance of tax payments by foreign companies.
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and other related government agencies to ensure strict compliance of tax payments by foreign companies operating in Nigeria by plugging all revenue leakages.
This is as the president has ordered all government agencies to automate their operations and ensure more synergy in advancing the interest of the country in revenue generation.
According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this directive was given by the president at the virtual First National Tax Dialogue held at the Conference Hall of the State House, Abuja, where he also stressed the need for deployment of more digital platforms and seamless connections.
What President Buhari is saying
President Buhari in his statement said, “It is not enough that our citizens and local businesses pay their fair share of taxes. Equally, foreign businesses must also not be allowed to continue to exploit our markets and economy without paying appropriate taxes.
” Accordingly, the FIRS has my mandate to speedily put all measures in place to fully implement programmes to stamp out Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in all their ramifications and generally automate its tax processes.
“In line with this, I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for seamless connection.
”FIRS must ensure that its deployment of technology for automation is done in line with international best practices. In particular, FIRS can borrow a leaf from other countries which have successfully automated their tax processes,’’ Buhari said.
President Buhari said that Nigeria will continue to work with the Inclusive Framework (on equal footing) to develop internationally acceptable rules for taxation of the digital economy, which he is optimistic would have evolved into an acceptable multilateral solution that will comprehensively address the tax challenges of the digitalised economy by the middle of 2021.
He said his administration was strategically restructuring the tax revenue mix in favour of indirect taxes in accordance with the national tax policy document.
The president said, ”To this end, FIRS is mandated to do all that is required in order to efficiently collect tax revenue due from transactions carried out using local and foreign online platforms. The government has made relevant statutory amendment to tax laws in the Finance Act 2020.’’
”The administration is, however, not seeking to increase the tax burden upon the citizens but to plug the existing tax loopholes or leakages and to ensure even and equitable application of the tax laws.”
”This was clearly demonstrated by the provisions in the Finance Act 2019, whereby government exempted small companies from tax and reduced the income tax rate for medium companies from 30% to 20%.
”In the Finance Act 2020, which I signed into law at the tail end of 2020, we went further to cushion the burden of tax on the low-wage workers by exempting minimum wage from personal income tax,” he added.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that in the new Finance Act 2020 which was signed into law by President Buhari and took effect from January 1, 2021, necessary amendments were made to the FIRS Establishment Act to provide the legislative framework for the adoption of technology in tax administration.
- The Federal Government has devised several strategies and policies to boost tax collections in the face of dwindling revenue due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The new Finance Act also includes provision for the exemption of low-income earners on N30,000 and below per month from income tax payment.
Renewable energy critical driver of Africa’s post-COVID-19 recovery and prosperity
Renewable energy will be a critical driver of Africa’s post-COVID-19 growth recovery and economic prosperity.
Panelists in a 2021 UK Africa Investment Summit event have said that renewable energy will be a critical driver of Africa’s post-COVID-19 growth recovery and economic prosperity – calling for a stronger partnership between the United Kingdom and Africa.
The panel was themed, “UK & Africa: Partnering in Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Development.”
Discussions at the event covered British innovation and experience in the context of partnering with Africa to advance its economic development. Panel members said investment in large-scale electrification projects would be key.
What they are saying
Louis Taylor, CEO, UK Export Finance said, “African countries are building back better from the coronavirus, adding that this presents an “unalloyed opportunity for UK investors to be part of the African success story and for African countries to access the UK’s support for projects.
“The UK is still the ultimate one-stop-shop. The UK government is still the largest G7 investor in Africa. For instance, UK Export Finance is providing a £ 1.7 billion guarantee to support the development of Cairo monorail in Egypt – the UK’s biggest ever overseas infrastructure guarantee.”
Wale Shonibare, the AfDB Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation, while calling for a structured approach to sustainable infrastructure development and the implementation of large-scale electrification programs, citing the Bank’s Desert to Power initiative as an example of a project likely to attract interest from UK businesses; stated that:
“Building on the City of London’s deep expertise in innovative financial solutions, the African Development Bank sees promising opportunities to further expand its program to securitize receipts from solar home systems providers.”
Nicholas Oliver, Business Development Director of UK-based NMS Infrastructure Ltd, urged that: “We need to create partnerships with governments and local businesses. It is a great time to invest in Africa. The African Development Bank estimates that climate change presents a $3 trillion investment by 2030. What an opportunity.
Olusola Lawson, Co-Managing Director of African Infrastructure Investment Managers, an infrastructure investment management firm, noted that: “In Africa, you can’t have transition without electrification. In this context, what we see is the trend from centralized large-scale power plants to a more distributive system.”
What you should know
- According to International Energy Agency data, scaling up Africa’s capacity to achieve universal access to energy by 2030 would require over $100 billion per year, of which 40% would be dedicated to solar, wind, and other low-carbon power generation projects.
- The African Development Bank has taken the lead in accelerating the electrification of the continent through its New Deal on Energy for Africa, a transformative partnership-based strategy that aims to increase access to energy for all Africans.
- The UK Africa Investment Conference, hosted by the UK Department for International Trade, brings together the UK and African businesses to explore the opportunities for partnership and investment.
- The UK has been a strong partner to the African Development Bank in the institution’s drive to attract greater private sector participation in African infrastructure investment. The Bank is currently working with a number of UK institutions to improve the enabling environment for infrastructure development in Africa.
CBN has disbursed N14.35 billion to DisCos for meter procurement – FG
The CBN has disbursed a total of N14.35 billion to DisCos to cover the procurement of meters.
The Federal Government has announced that the Central Bank of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N14.35 billion to DisCos to cover the procurement of 263,860 meters under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
This was disclosed in a statement by the FG on Thursday.
“According to the CBN, the facility disbursed is a loan that must be repaid by the DisCos on the basis of the previously agreed amortisation schedule. The repayment is to be deducted from payments made by consumers into the DisCos accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs),” the Federal Government added.
The maximum tenor of the facility is 10 years but not exceeding 2030, while the moratorium on the principal amount is for a period not exceeding 24 months from the date of loan disbursement.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in November 2020 that President Muhammadu Buhari had moved to make funding available for DisCos immediately, in a bid to roll out 1,000,000 meters in the first phase, of the Mass Meter Programme.
- The Ministry of Power said that the mass metering initiative of the Federal Government was paying off as one of the most ambitious packages in history.
- The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) revealed that one million meter units were earmarked for the initial phase of the implementation of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) with Ikeja Disco (IKEDC) topping the list with the approved meter allocation of 106,701 units (10.7%). Others were IBEDC with 103,997 units (10.4%), AEDC with 101,186 units (10.1%). PHEDC got the least of 77,070 units (7.7%).