Good Contents Are Everywhere, But Here, We Deliver The Best of The Best.Please Hold on!
Plot 6, Acme Road Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria. +234-806-117-5653
Education

Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education said it will constitute a national committee on the harmonisation of schools and examination calendar following the disruptions by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, made this known at the 2020 Annual Ministerial briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

The Minister said there was a need for the harmonisation so that schools, learners, teachers and examination bodies would be on the same page.

According to him, following the outbreak of COVID-19 by the end of 2019, the first step taken as a nation was to close down all the teaching and learning facilities nationwide in March 2020.

“Upon closure, we proceeded to float online learning facilities. The major challenges we had were electricity and internet access for teachers and learners.

” Consequently, while some learners continued their education, others, especially in the rural areas could not, thereby putting our learners at different levels of exposure.

“There is, therefore, the need for us to harmonise our schools and examination calendar be it state, Federal or private schools.

” This is because, at the end of the academic year, children in primary schools who want to proceed to our unity colleges will have to write the National Common Entrance on the same day,” he said.

He added that the committee comprising NECO, WAEC, NABTEB, JAMB and a representative of private school owners among others would be inaugurated before the end of January.

On the increasing carrying capacity in tertiary institutions, Adamu noted that four public universities, six polytechnics and six Federal Colleges of Education had been established in the last one year.

He added that four private universities and several polytechnics, colleges of education and allied institutions were also established to address the carrying capacities in higher institutions.

” A breakdown in terms of the number of universities shows that the country now has 44 federal universities, 50 state universities, bringing the total number of public universities to 94.

” As at last count, the country has 79 private universities bringing the number of universities in Nigeria to 173 with a combined carrying capacity of over 2.5 million.

” Nigeria has a total of 85 (federal and state) polytechnics, 61 private polytechnics, 117 monotechnic (federal, state and private), Colleges of Agriculture, specialised institutions and colleges of health technology,” he said.

According to him, the country has 158 Innovation Enterprise Institutions (federal, state and private).

“Total enrollment shows that the polytechnics have an enrolment figure of 348,326 students while the monotechnics have 33,338 with specialised institutions accounting for 5,197.

” Innovative Enterprise Institutions recorded 3,454 enrolments and the total enrollment in these categories of institutions stands at 385,118 students.”

The minister further explained that the government had added six federal colleges of education across the geopolitical zones and licensed 14 colleges of education with a combined carrying capacity of 49,500.

He said that the total carrying capacity of the nation’s colleges of education as of today stood at 495,340 spaces.

He also noted that the Tertiary Trust Fund had committed N395,032,375 to the development of infrastructure in tertiary institutions.

He said this was aside from budgetary allocation and revitalisation funds to universities.

He, therefore, added that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had witnessed massive investment in capital projects in tertiary institutions totaling approximately N1.7 trillion with universities taking two-third of the total sum

0

Economy, Government

President Muhammadu Buhari has authorized ministries, departments, agencies and business enterprises to grant access to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to their systems for the purposes of tax collection nationwide.

President Buhari gave the order on Thursday while delivering his address as the Special Guest of Honour at the First Annual National Tax Dialogue organized by the FIRS at the old Banquet Hall, Aso Rock Villa Abuja. The theme of the dialogue was “Taxation in a post-Covid Economy”

The President also mandated the FIRS to “speedily put all measures in place to fully implement programmes to stamp out Base Erosion and Profit Shifting in all of its ramifications and generally automate its tax processes.”

In addition, President Buhari urged the FIRS to fast-track its digitalization of the tax collection process.

The President said: “I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for seamless connection. We all are now living in a fast digitalising world. As such, business transactions are continually being migrated from “brick and mortar” locations to digital places or spaces.  It is therefore incumbent upon tax authorities to adopt digital means to efficiently track taxable transactions for the purpose of collecting taxes.  In order to provide the necessary legislative framework for the adoption of technology in tax administration, we also made necessary amendments to the FIRS Establishment Act in the Finance Act 2020.”

Also, President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who delivered the keynote address at the Tax Dialogue, gave assurances that the AfDB would support the FIRS to modernise the tax collection processes in Nigeria through capacity building.

In her opening remarks at the Dialogue, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamusuna Ahmed, highlighted some provisions of the Finance Act 2020, stating that a number of these provisions were enshrined in the Act in order to help businesses, especially SMEs, recover from the adverse effects of COVID-19.

 She said tax compliance was key to national prosperity, stressing that government was determined to minimise the incidence of tax dodging through suck leakages as cross-border transactions through maximum use of technology.

The Finance Minister urged the audience to generously contribute their ideas during the dialogue in order to improve the nation’s tax system.

In his Welcome Address at the event, Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, underscored the importance of the dialogue, saying: The universal collapse of traditional government revenue sources and the consequential resort to tax is a testimony.  The well-known arms race among nations is gradually giving way to “tax-race”.  The international struggle for and against digital services tax is just the beginning of the tax race.  It is a race for all nations – developed or developing.  And for Nigeria, it is “a must-win” race.”

Mr. Nami stressed that the FIRS would match on to digitalise the tax process fully and canvassed the cooperation of the three tiers of government, the citizens and corporate organisations in the country for the success of the digitalization drive.

His words: “The FIRS started the journey to automation several years ago when it launched “Project Fact”.  Several other initiatives were launched to further take advantage of evolving technology in taxpayer registration, online payment platforms, remote filing of returns, etc.  However, there was very limited success with the various initiatives due to inadequate statutory framework. 

“A quantum leap was achieved with the 2020 Finance Act which copiously provided legal grounds for deployment of technology in tax administration.  The Service is grateful to the President, the leadership of the National Assembly, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and all other stakeholders that worked together to enact the necessary laws.

“The Service is taking advantage of the new law to embark on studies (with the assistance of friendly tax authorities and international tax organisations) with a view to developing a robust digitalisation roadmap.  The roadmap will enable the Service to digitalise its whole operations (end-to-end) in a systematic, coherent and efficient manner.

“There is so much to look forward to in the coming years.  The FIRS is starting this decade with the resolve to leapfrog tax administration into the digital age. Ladies and gentlemen, we are banking on your continued support as we embark on this onerous journey.”

0

Economy, Finance

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) generated a total sum of N4.9 trillion of tax revenue in the year 2020, a landmark achievement that represents approximately 98% of the national tax target of N5.076 trillion set for the FIRS by the Federal Government.

This was disclosed by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Muhammad Nami during a press conference in his office.

While briefing the press, Mr Nami pointed out that this near 100% collection feat was all the more remarkable when placed against the backdrop  of the debilitating effects of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy; the all-time low price of crude oil in the international market; business disruptions and lootings during the #EndSars protests; generous tax waivers granted by the FIRS to ease the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown; additional tax exemptions granted to small companies in the 2019 Finance Act; and  insecurity in some parts of the country.

Throwing more light on the significance of the 2020 performance, he further noted that the FIRS recorded this feat at a time when the price of oil hit an all-time low. In other words, oil which used to contribute over 50% in tax returns through the Petroleum Profits Tax in previous years, accounted for only 30.6% contribution to the tax revenue generated in 2020. He also added that the non-oil tax collection was 109% in 2020, which is 9% higher than the previous year. 

Mr. Nami attributed the FIRS revenue generation success in 2020 to a number of reforms initiated by the Board and Management of the Service under his leadership. The reforms included capacity building for members of the staff; improved staff welfare package; promotion and proper placement of staff; deployment of appropriate technology for tax operations; segmentation of taxpayers to ease tax compliance; and continuous collaboration with relevant stakeholders, among others.

 Mr. Nami commended “the conscientious taxpayers in the country and dedicated members of staff of the FIRS nationwide for their support and devotion to work which made this performance possible despite the numerous obstacles encountered by the Service in 2020”.

He added, “The FIRS is optimistic this current fiscal year 2021 will be better than 2020. We shall perform exceedingly well given that our Service reforms are expected to yield greater dividends, especially as different parts of tax administration are being automated. We are also optimistic that exploration activities will improve in the oil sector and increase the prospect of higher tax revenue from the sector. Similarly, the ongoing reforms by the Service together with increased stakeholder collaborations will brighten the prospect of improved voluntary compliance and consequently higher tax revenue generation for the country this year and beyond.” 

0

Energy

The public opening of bid for rehabilitation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) downstream infrastructure was held virtually in Abuja on Thursday, no fewer than 96 companies have indicated interest.

According to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Pipelines and Storage Company (NPSC), Mrs Ada Oyetunde, the exercise was in conformity with the mandate of the Federal Government to prioritise the rehabilitation of critical downstream infrastructure across the country.

She listed some of the facilities that would be rehabilitated by successful bidders to include critical pipelines for crude oil supply to the refineries and evacuation of refined products, depots, and terminals.

Oyetunde said that the objective was to get them ready to support the refineries when they become operational after their rehabilitation.

“An open tender for pre-qualification of interested companies was published in August 2020 in the national dailies, for the rehabilitation of NNPC downstream critical pipelines and associated depots and terminal infrastructure through Finance Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) to cover the 4 lots.

 “The four lots are Lot 1: Port Harcourt Refinery related infrastructure, Lot 2: Warri Refinery related infrastructure, Lot 3: Kaduna Refinery related infrastructure and Lot 4: System 2B related infrastructure,” she said.

The NPSC boss said that the BOT arrangement would provide a reliable pipeline network and automated storage facilities for effective crude feed, product storage and evacuation from the nation’s refineries post-revamp through an open access model.

This, she added, would charge market reflective prices and tariffs to recover the investment.

Earlier, the Group General Manager, Supply Chain Management, Mrs Aisha Katagum, commended the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) for providing guidance for the project.

She assured the bidding firms of a fair, equitable and transparent selection process.

Observers at the public bid opening exercise were representatives of the ICRC, BPP, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Civil Liberties Organisations.

0

Economy, Government

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo has inaugurated a steering committee for the implementation of the Export Expansion Facility (EEF) to boost non-oil exports.

Adebayo on Thursday, at the virtual inauguration of the committee warned that the economy would remain vulnerable to external shocks with attendant effects of devaluation, inflation and unemployment, if the country did not grow its non-oil exports.

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, the minister said  export growth was at the centre of the strategy for diversifying Nigeria’s sources of foreign exchange.

According to him, it would reduce the vulnerability of the economy to external shocks.

“We have witnessed the devastating impact of events outside our control can have on our livelihoods due to our reliance on a primary source of foreign exchange.

“The coronavirus pandemic further amplified these vulnerabilities and reminded us that if we do not grow non-oil exports, our economy remains vulnerable to external shocks and their ripple effects of devaluation, inflation and unemployment.

“However, I believe we are on the right path in addressing these concerns and have chosen the right partners for the journey,” he said.

He noted that the EEF is aimed at protecting export businesses from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, safeguarding jobs and de-risk the economy from shocks like COVID-19.

According to him, its primary goal is to increase Nigeria’s export capacity in the near term and its export volumes in the medium term.

The minister added that it represented a huge financial commitment from the government and demonstrated President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to export diversification.

He listed the duties of the steering committee to include ensuring timely implementation of the programme in line with the Federal Government’s objectives and for the benefit of its intended beneficiaries.

According to him, it also includes approval of the Programme Implementation Plan and Budget in accordance with agreed priorities and approval of implementation strategy of EEF’s projects and target beneficiaries for each project, where applicable.

He added that the committee would ensure approval of disbursements to beneficiaries, vendors and implementation partners and review of the periodic performance reports and resolve implementation challenges.

Members of the committee headed by Adebayo as Chairman, include Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, former Managing Director, Fidelity Bank as the Vice Chairman and Mr Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director, Nigeria Export Promotion Council.

Others include Mr Mansur Ahmed, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr Suleiman Audu, Director, Commodities and Export Department of the ministry and Mrs Suratu Umar; Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Aisston Consulting, among others.

0

PREVIOUS POSTSPage 1 of 3NO NEW POSTS