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 Mr Muhammad Nami, Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), on Sunday stressed the need for adequate investment in empowerment of women and girl child to promote tax administration in Nigeria.

Nami made the call at the 2020 Year-end and award ceremony, organised by the Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria (SWAN) in Abuja.

The FIRS boss, represented by Alhaji Adamu Kudu, Director, Special Taxes Department of FIRS, said that the role of women could never be undermined in accounting profession.

According to him, the role of SWAN is very important, as far as tax administration is concerned; FIRS as a body is responsible for assessing and accounting for taxes collected.

“These roles cannot be possible without the presence of SWAN in our midst; it is integral part of Nigeria tax system.

“It has been recognised and we will continue to recognise it, in as much as SWAN continues to play its role in supporting tax administration.

“All hands must be on deck to lift SWAN beyond expectations; today is important for all of us to flash back on what happened in 2020 and to prepare ourselves for 2021.

“Where we expect lots of challenges and we are bound to crash them as they come, we cannot move forward without the presence of SWAN in our midst,” he said.

Speaking at the event, the SWAN Chairperson of Abuja Chapter, Mrs Taiwo Ojo, promised to continue to work closely with the Federal Government and FIRS to promote growth in the tax administration system.

According to her, SWAN is not different from roles played by men in the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN).

“There is what the men are expected to do and there is what women are expected to do, which is exactly what we are doing in ICAN.

“The key objective of SWAN is to go out there and let the girl child know she can also be a Chartered Accountant.

“Both men and women can be Chartered Accountants; what we are trying to do is to enlighten them, to let them know they can become professionals, by starting from the soft aide of the ladder,” Ojo said.


In a separate interview, Hajia Kudirat Abdul-Hamid, Auditor-General for FCT Area Councils, Abuja, underscored the need for adequate investment in mentoring of the girl child, to achieve targets.

She noted that there was no discrimination between the male and female Accountant.

According to her, first, one becomes member of the institute having qualified, go through the professional exams and thereby enable the organisation reach the grassroots.

“To reach young people and encourage female participation in accounting profession; what we do cuts across coaching, mentoring and catching them young.

“By going to secondary schools to encourage them there, to take up the profession; it has been proven that women are the best managers of resources,” Abdul-Hamid said.

She explained that women proved to be outstanding in any industry they found themselves, adding that more should be done to empower a girl child.

SWAN Abuja chapter consists of 300 Chartered Accountants.

High point of the event was citation and presentation of awards to distinguished personalities, cutting of SWAN cake and group photograph.


Energy, Finance

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele on Saturday said that arrangement is being made to enable the Dangote Refinery sell refined crude to Nigeria in naira when it commences production.

Emefiele who disclosed this during an inspection tour of the sites of Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals Complex Fertiliser Plant and Subsea Gas Pipeline projects at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos said that the first shipment of Urea from the Dangote Fertiliser Plant would begin in March to help boost agriculture in the country..

The CBN governor noted that the 15 billion dollar projects being constructed by the Dangote Group would save Nigeria from expending about 41 per cent of its foreign exchange on importation of petroleum products.

Emefiele said: ”Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira.

“That is the element where foreign exchange is saved for the country becomes very clear.

“We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all those costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight will be totally eliminated.

“This will make the price of our petroleum products cheaper in naira.

“If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.

“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency,” Emefiele said.

Emefiele expressed optimism that the refinery would be completed by the first quarter of 2022, adding that this would put an end to the issue of petrol subsidy in the country.

“I am saying that by this time next year, our cost of import of petroleum products for petrochemicals or fertiliser will be able to save that which will save Nigeria’s reserve.

“It will help us so that we can begin to focus on more important items that we cannot produce in Nigeria today,” Emefiele said.

He said the CBN had given a N100 billion intervention to the projects, adding that the apex bank was ready to support Nigerian businesses set up to uplift the country economically.

Also speaking, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said that the fertiliser and petrochemicals plants were capable of generating 2.5 billion dollars annually while the refinery would serve Nigeria and other countries across the world.

He said the projects would create jobs for Nigerians and build their capacity in critical areas of the oil and gas industry.

Dangote thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN governor for their support toward the completion of the projects.

He said: “I will like to thank the president personally for helping us and assisting us in making sure that we are now back on track.

“Mr President personally wrote a letter to the president of China and asked them to bring the expatriates that we don’t have so that we can continue work.

“During the coronavirus, you will remember that we had one or two cases when it started and everybody ran away from site but right now we are beginning to bring people back and we have about 30,000 people now.

“The good part of it is that we have learnt a lot also and there are a lot of Nigerians that just need small training and they are doing extremely well.

”So now we only need a small number of people coming from abroad just to give that training.”

Dangote also called for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly to maximise the opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.


Economy, Government

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured local and foreign investors safety of their investments in the State.

He gave the assurance on Friday while speaking at a one-day economic summit organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bankers Committee and the Vanguard Newspapers in Lagos.

Governor Sanwo-Olu who noted that Lagos occupies a leading position in Nigeria and across the continent, said his administration is working daily to improve infrastructure, encourage innovation, agriculture as well as improve on digital economy through the smart city initiatives.

Speaking on “Rebuilding Lagos and the Southern Nigeria Economy,” Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos’ growth is beneficial not only to the State but also the entire Nigeria.

He said: “Compared to other African countries, Lagos occupies a leading position in the country and across the continent. To seize these opportunities, and achieve our vision to become Africa’s economic capital, we are working on Lagos Vision 2050, which presents an opportunity to build upon the ongoing work and define a journey towards the megacity Lagos aspires to become over the next 30 years.

“We will also encourage other Southern states to do the same so as to align our regional aspiration to forge cooperation. Working together, Lagos and other Southern states can collaborate to build symbiotic partnerships beneficial to one another.

“Lagos is excited to share best practices across Southern states while continuing to collaborate with public and private partners to bring benefits to the state and to the region.

“When we achieve our big ambitions, Lagos will grow as well as Southern Nigeria and the entire country.”


The Governor noted that with Vision 2050 in mind, investments focus across key areas should be on human capital, infrastructure, public system and services, innovation and knowledge, as well as environmental sustainability.

“We will take a structural approach to Vision 2050; we will also share best practices with others,” he said.

The Governor also added that security and good governance, which is the last pillar of his administration’s THEMES agenda, has enjoyed a considerable attention because of its critical role in stimulating development in the State.


Economy, Finance

*Advocates scaling-up of national projects

*Says building 300,000 housing units in a year not too ambitious

Rather than adopt a policy that prohibits cryptocurrency operations in the country, “we must act with knowledge and not fear” and develop a robust regulatory regime that is thoughtful and knowledge-based, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this in a keynote address delivered virtually at a one-day economic summit organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Banker’s Committee, and the Vanguard Newspaper, themed “Bankers’ Initiative for Economic Growth”.

According to the Vice President, “I fully appreciate the strong position of the CBN, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and some of the anti-corruption agencies on the possible abuses of cryptocurrencies and their other well-articulated concerns. But I believe that their position should be the subject of further reflection.

“There is a role for regulation here. And it is in the place of both our monetary authorities and SEC to provide a robust regulatory regime that addresses these serious concerns without killing the goose that might lay the golden eggs.

“So it should be thoughtful and knowledge-based regulation not prohibition. The point I am making is that some of the exciting developments we see call for prudence and care in adopting them, but we must act with knowledge and not fear.”

Emphasizing the need for monetary authorities to rethink their stand on cryptocurrencies, Prof. Osinbajo said “there is no question that blockchain technology generally and cryptocurrencies, in particular, will in the coming years challenge traditional banking, including reserve (Central) banking, in ways that we cannot yet imagine. So, we need to be prepared for that seismic shift. And it may come sooner than later.”

His words: “Already remittance systems are being challenged. Blockchain technology will provide far cheaper options to the kind of fees being paid today for cross-border transfers. I am sure you are all aware of the challenge that the traditional SWIFT system is facing from new systems like Ripple which is based on the blockchain distributed ledger technology with its own crypto tokens.

“There are, of course, a whole range of digital assets spawned daily from block-chain technology. Decentralized finance, using smart contracts to create financial instruments, in place of central financial intermediaries such as banks or brokerages is set to challenge traditional finance. The likes of Nexo finance offer instant loans using cryptocurrency as collateral. Some reserve banks are investigating issuing their own digital currencies.”

Talking about the task of national development and the public and private sector interventions, the Vice President emphasized that “in order to engender sustained economic growth, we must think in terms of scale”.

“I am quite concerned when I hear that national interventions are classified as pilots involving sometimes no more than 1000 people. Given the size of our population, we cannot afford the luxury of pilot projects. We should design our interventions very carefully and then go big.

“It was quite puzzling to me when people said that our plan to build 300,000 houses under the ESP was too ambitious a target. After all, this just amounts to 400 houses per local government yet many of our local governments are larger than some African countries who would not consider building 400 houses in one year as too onerous a task.

“The task of national development requires that we fire on all cylinders after all, at one stage, China was building 1.9m housing units per year over a number of years.”

Speaking on the need to complement the efforts of the Federal Government in bridging the infrastructure gap, the Vice President said “the Buhari Administration has a track record of building roads, rail and power projects across the country. In spite of this commitment we are still very far away from meeting the full infrastructural needs of the economy.”


The Vice President called for improved support especially from the private sector in the operationalization of the Infrastructure Company (InfraCo).

“The President has now approved the establishment of InfraCo which will be a public-private partnership chaired by the CBN Governor to overcome our infrastructural deficits.

“I expect that this is a project that will excite the interest of financiers and bankers and I encourage you all to lend support to make it a success,” Prof. Osinbajo noted.

The Vice President also emphasized the need for stakeholders to pay attention to human resource development as they scale up investments in the economy.

On the country’s recovery from its second recession in four years, Prof. Osinbajo said policymakers, lawmakers and business leaders have cause to cheer the relatively good performance in the face of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and attributed successes recorded to the early actions of Mr. President, “first in providing an initial stimulus and then, constituting the Economic Sustainability Committee and the Economic Sustainability Plan.”

Participants at the forum include the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele; representatives of, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; the Founder of Vanguard Newspaper, several banking executives, among others.



Nigeria’s Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, on Thursday said that it will soon present a draft national policy on Five Generation network (5G) at the Federal Executive Council for consideration.

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami said this at an investigative hearing on the status and impact of 5G network in Nigeria in Abuja.

The public hearing was organised by the Senate Joint Committees on Communication, Science and Technology, ICT, Cyber-Crime and Primary Health Care.

Pantami said the presentation of the draft policy would be done at the end of research on 5G network.

“We have not gotten there, whether we will deploy 5G, but we are on track conducting research, investigations, engaging stakeholders and definitely if all issues are addressed, the executive will support the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.

“We are not operating in circles,Nigerian telecommunication sector is part and parcel of the International Telecommunication Union(ITU).

“Where issues of telecommunication technology and its impacts are been discussed.

” At the international level, we are in the process of compiling our final position.

“And most of our position will be part of the draft national policy which will be presented at the Federal Executive Council. (FEC),” he said.

He said the primary concern of government was to ensure security and welfare of Nigerians, even in their activities in the telecommunication sector.

He said the trial on the impact of 5G in Nigeria was approved by the Federal Government in some selected cities like Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta and Calabar.

“On Sept. 25, 2019, we conducted the first trial on 5G in Nigeria. In order to demonstrate trust and prove leadership by example.

” I personally pledged to make a trial so if there is any security implication or medical implication, then I would be number one victim.

“And if there is any relationship with COVID-19, I will be the first victim,to date I have not contracted the virus. And I did a test up to ten times,so I did the trial personally.


“The position is that we are almost at the final stage. So now, Nigeria is ready for 5G as long as we address the major challenges,” he said.

Pantami added:“The only issue being raised  is about radiation,but people don’t realise that the radiation of 4G is more harmful than that of 5G.

“The radiation of microwave oven at home is more harmful than that of the 5G.

“The radiation of even the smart phone itself is even more harmful that that of 5G.”

President of Senate, Ahmed Lawan, while declaring the event open said that the investigative hearing was crucial given the controversy surrounding 5G network.

“We all remember the surrounding disagreements, following the outbreak of the COVID-19.

“It was one controversy that needed clarifications, not just from the government or the public sector, but from the private sector,” he said.

He said there were concerns that COVID-19 was associated with the deployment of 5G communication network.