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FEATURES, ICT
The Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and other staff of the commission have commended the dedication, hard work and outstanding work ethics demonstrated by Jerry Ugwu, a Deputy Director, who recently retired from the service.


Ugwu, a seasoned lawyer who has been described by all as a role model to many staff members of the Commission, exited the telecoms regulatory agency, at the mandatory retirement age of 60 years.
He joined NCC in 2010 as Chief of Staff in the office of the Executive Vice Chairman and moved through the ranks, culminating in his last-held position as Head, Legal Registry Unit in the Legal and Regulatory Services (LRS) Department of the Commission,


Speaking at the valedictory session organised by the Commission in his honour in Abuja, Danbatta described the celebrant as a dedicated and exemplary staff with excellent work ethics.


Represented by NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, Danbatta said Ugwu made significant impact in various capacities where he served in the Commission, adding that his dedication to work and gentleman posture are well acknowledged by Management.



“Jerry Ugwu is a pleasant personality; reserved but resourceful. He is a gentleman who is contented and has served the Commission creditably in the past one decade. We, therefore, wish you happy retirement,” Danbatta said.


Earlier in her opening address, Director, LRS, Josephine Amuwa, said Ugwu had “served meritoriously in various capacities over the years and contributed his quota to the growth of the telecoms sector.”


She said Jerry’s great personal attributes, such as his analytical skills, deep understanding of the Law, devotion and dedication to work will stand him in good stead in his future endeavours, saying that all the staff of Legal and Regulatory Services Department, will surely miss him, particularly his calm disposition to work.


“This is a day of celebration not only for all you have accomplished but also for all the possibilities that will be unfolding before you. Congratulations! We pray that the Almighty God give you the wisdom and strength needed to fulfill all your personal aspirations, post-retirement. Enjoy the new chapter of your life and enjoy being your own boss; say ‘Goodbye!’ to tension and ‘Hello!’ to your pension,” she added.


In his remarks, Ugwu thanked the Commission for the opportunity given to him to serve his country and also appreciated his colleagues for orgainsing a befitting retirement.



“I am humbled to hear all these good comments that have been said about me and I am grateful to all of you for organising this valedictory party in my honour,” he said.


The valediction was attended both physically and virtually by senior management staff including NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Ubale Maska; directors, deputy directors, assistant directors and other members of staff of the Commission, as well as family members.


They took turns to rain encomiums on the celebrant and wished well in retirement.
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Finance
Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, has urged the Kano business community and other taxpayers in the country to continue to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies the Service has deployed recently to pay their taxes as and when due.


Nami also charged members of staff of the FIRS to redouble their efforts in generating tax revenue for the country by expanding the national tax net to include those still outside it.


Mr. Nami gave the admonitions on Monday at a stakeholder meeting involving the Management and Staff of the FIRS and the Kano Business Community.


According to him, “presently, Nigeria’s economy relies on non-oil revenues to discharge its statutory responsibility of paying salaries and providing social amenities to the citizenry. However, despite the prospect which tax revenue holds for the country, the ‘’Tax to GDP’’ ratio for Nigeria is about 6% compared to Egypt at 15%, Ghana and Kenya at 17%, South Africa at 28%. This is a very sad reality that is unacceptable for a country that has the largest economy in Africa.”


Nami continued: “To overcome this challenge, we must recognise and adapt to the changing pattern of the business environment where technology is the driver of business operations. For many years, our revenue generation architecture had been largely manual with limited use of technology. Adopting technology in tax administration is crucial in improving domestic revenue mobilization given dwindling oil prices to avoid falling into a debt crisis. It is against this backdrop that the TaxProMax became the channel for filing Naira-denominated tax returns effective from 7th June 2021.”


Furthermore, the FIRS chief explained: “The TaxProMax enables seamless registration, filing, payment of taxes and automatic credit of withholding tax as well as other credits to the Taxpayer’s accounts among other features. The TaxProMax platform also provides a single view to Taxpayers for all transactions with the Service.
“It will interest you to know that the Service collected over N650 billion in June 2021. This feat was achieved as a result of the efficiency and effectiveness of the TaxProMax Solution.”


Another groundbreaking development that Nami pointed out which occurred under his administration is the introduction of the court-backed “FIRS Practice Direction”. According to Nami, “this is another innovation introduced to aid revenue generation by cutting down on needless litigation which slows down revenue collection.”


He listed the advantages which the FIRS Practice Direction conferred on tax revenue generation thus: “Cases of FIRS will be given accelerated hearing and priority in the Federal High Court; it enables the FIRS to obtain Order of the Court for forfeiture of immovable property of taxpayers, freezing of bank accounts, access to books, servers, billing systems etc; it fast-tracks the recovery of tax debts by civil action; it increases tax compliance, and increases the collection of revenue to the Government.”


Nami also disclosed that the National Tax Policy Implementation Document had prioritised the assessment and collection of indirect taxes in Nigeria as they are difficult to dodge, easy to pay and easy to administer. He, therefore, charges members of staff at the FIRS to put the document to good use in the tax collection processes.


The Executive Chairman listed challenges of tax collection in the country to include the fact that “when companies collect taxes as an agent of collection, Value-Added Tax (VAT) for instance, they do not remit as and when due. In some cases, they do not remit it at all.”


He, therefore, appealed to defaulting corporate organisations to turn a new leaf by remitting VAT and other taxes as and when due, stressing that the consequences of not doing so under extant tax laws in the country are severe, which corporate executives would not wish to experience.
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LIFE STYLE

The board of directors of FCMB Group Plc has announced the appointment of Yemisi Edun as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of its largest subsidiary, First City Monument Bank Limited effective May 1, 2021 following approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria

 

A notice at the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Tuesday said prior to the appointment, the new MD was the Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer of the bank and previously served as the acting Managing Director

 

The appointment followed the end of service of the bank’s former managing director Mr Adam Nuru who attracted media attention in late 2020 over alleged romantic affairs with a staff of the bank.

 

The bank said the board had reviewed the allegations against the former MD and did not establish any contravention of its policies.

 

The new CEO with a work experience spanning nearly 35 years, she holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University of Ife, Ile Ife and a Master’s degree in International Accounting and Finance from the University of Liverpool, UK

 

she is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a Certified Financial Analyst, Charter holder.

 

She is also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute Of Stockbrokers; an Associate Member of the Institute of Taxation of Nigeria; a ,Member of Information Systems Audit and Control, USA; and a Certified Information System Auditor.

 

“The board is confident that her appointment as MD/CEO of the bank will no doubt be of great value to the entire FCMB Group,” the notice said.

 

The board of Directors of FCMB also thanked the former MD for his years of dedicated service and wished him all the best in his future endeavours

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M-I-NA AMBASSADOR

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has congratulated the Publisher of THISDAY Newspapers and Chairman, Arise News, Prince Nduka Obaigbena on his 62nd birthday.

 

Governor Sanwo-Olu described the former President, Newspapers Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) who clocked 62 on Wednesday as a good manager of human and material resources, considering how he has built THISDAY Newspapers and Arise News from the startup to enviable positions in the media industry.

 

Governor Sanwo-Olu in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, on Wednesday, congratulated the Duke of Owa kingdom on his remarkable roles and contributions to the growth and development of the media industry in Nigeria.

 

He said Obaigbena’s efforts in social and political spheres as well as the economy in Nigeria have positioned him as one of the most respected journalists, publishers and entrepreneurs in the country with a network of friends and associates that cut across different parts of the African continent and the world.

 

The Governor also commended Obaigbena for his visionary and adventurous leadership style and positioning of two major media organisations – THISDAY Newspapers and Arise News, to provide a strong platform for informing, educating and entertaining Nigerians about various events in the country and the world at large.

 

Governor Sanwo-Olu also felicitated with family, friends and associates of Prince Nduka Obaigbena, as well as the entire media industry, especially THISDAY Newspapers and Arise News on the 62nd birthday of the media mogul.

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Economy, Government

*FG ‘ll be more intentional in seeking out investors

 

*Extended funding ability & right investment models critical

 

Going forward, the Federal Government will be looking for the right type of investors in its privatization and commercialization efforts, “looking out for the right models, the right type of investors and also looking at funding for these investors over an extended period of time,” according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

 

Prof. Osinbajo also restated the FG’s  strong commitment towards infrastructural and national economic development, and urges local investors and the international investment community to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by the Nigerian economy,

 

Some of these areas include the country’s tax credit initiatives to promote infrastructural development, as well as the ongoing reforms in the telecommunications, port, and power sectors.

 

The Vice President who is also the Chairman of the National Council on Privatization stated this on Tuesday at the one-day investors’ webinar organized by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in collaboration with the Nigerian Exchange Group and Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), with the theme: Showcasing Investment Opportunities in the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Privatization and Economic Reform Programme.

 

Delivering the keynote address and declaring the Webinar open, the VP who noted that the webinar was an important platform to draw attention to investment opportunities for Nigeria’s local and foreign friends and collaborators, added that the Buhari administration places a premium on mobilizing private capital and participation for improving efficiency and driving economic growth.

 

According to the VP, “the Federal Government of Nigeria is strongly committed to this approach to national economic development and we consider it an important duty to create the enabling environment for the required and much-needed investment input.”

 

The VP noted that past sector reforms in Nigeria have brought about increased opportunities and extensive economic and social gains, including in the pension scheme, telecommunications, port, and power sectors.

 

“For example, our pension reform, which replaced the old defined benefit scheme with the contributory pension scheme led to the creation of the Pension Commission (PENCOM) which now has over N12.3 trillion in pension fund assets.

 

 “Similarly, the reforms of our telecommunications sector increased the number of telephone lines in the country from about 450,000 in 2001 to currently well over 140 million active telephone lines and 97.9 percent teledensity.

 

“Equally notable is our port sector reform which led to the concession of various terminals, bringing about major investment and transformation of the various port terminals including in revenue, employment and operational efficiency,” Prof. Osinbajo said.

 

He emphasized that, despite the challenges, the Buhari administration remains committed to improving the country’s infrastructure and power sector, stating that “the Federal Government is working with key stakeholders in the sector to address some of the various challenges impeding its growth.”

 

According to him “our experience with the power sector underscores the importance of using the right moments in attracting investment, especially in the provision of infrastructure. And what we have seen is that while you are privatizing utilities of the size of our former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), we simply have to be far more intentional in looking out for the right models and the right type of investors and also looking at funding for these investors over an extended period of time.”

 

In the area of infrastructure, Prof. Osinbajo noted that “a major challenge of the Nigerian economy is its limited infrastructure stock, which is estimated to be about 35 percent of GDP, as compared to 70 percent of GDP in peer countries.”

 

He added that “it is clear that there is a shortfall there and given the limited resources of government, government alone cannot provide the financial outlays needed to meet the very huge infrastructure deficit there is and the needs of the economy.”

 

Underscoring the importance of the Public-Private Partnership model in promoting infrastructure development and driving economic growth, the Vice President highlighted the success being recorded by the administration’s tax credit initiative, especially in the area of road construction.

 

 “Today, several road projects that may have presented funding difficulties for the government have been done under a scheme that allows private entities, especially private entities that are corporate organizations in Nigeria to build, while government forbears on taxes they would have paid to the extent of their financial outlays on the infrastructure.

 

“For example, today, the NLNG is building the Bodo-Bonny Road and Bridge, and this is a huge project, almost N200 billion, and it is building it on that tax credit basis. Also, Dangote built the Obajana-Kabba road in Kogi State on that basis and is currently doing the Apapa-Oworonshoki road in Lagos, also on this tax credit basis.

 

 “What this means is that if a private entity is prepared to build or participate in the building of government infrastructure, such a private entity would get a tax rebate or tax credit for the amount of money spent. Of course, these would have to go through the normal approvals and all that. This has proven to be very successful.”

 

Prof. Osinbajo further explained FG’s approval for the establishment of a N15 trillion Infrastructure Development Company (InfraCo) as another indication of the Buhari administration’s commitment to infrastructural development nationwide.

 

According to the VP, “the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, the NSIA and the Africa Finance Corporation, among others, collaborating to establish a N15 trillion infrastructure fund under the auspices of an InfraCo “is one among many exciting possibilities that will open several doors for infrastructure investment in Nigeria.”

 

 “We believe that given the credibility of the actors – CBN, NSIA, AFC, and the quantum of resources that will be deployed, the InfraCo will make a major contribution to meeting the infrastructural needs of the Nigerian economy while promoting Public-Private Partnerships,” the Vice President added.

 

Other speakers at the event include the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed; Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh; Group CEO, Nigerian Exchange Group PLC, Oscar Onyeama; Executive Secretary/CEO of NIPC, Yewande Sadiku; and the CEO, Nigerian Exchange Limited; Temi Popoola.

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