Every day, we bring you the best stories that the Media is reporting about the Government of Nigeria

“The Federal Government has generated a total of N3.62 trillion from Value Added Tax (VAT) in the last four years. Data sourced from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the value of VAT collected by the Federal Government has been on the rise from 2015 after President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office to 2018. Analysis of the data showed that in 2015, the government generated a total of N759.43 billion from VAT, but this value rose to N777.51 billion in 2016.” Daily Trust reported that “in 2017, the value of VAT collected rose further to N972.35 billion before it hit N1.11 trillion in 2018. The value of VAT collected in 2018 was the highest ever recorded in Nigeria’s history, but the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) does not seem satisfied with the collection so far. The FIRS puts Nigeria’s VAT rate from 6.75 per cent to 7.25 per cent, as one of the lowest in the world. Recently, the FIRS hinted of the possibility of a 35 per cent to 50 per cent hike in VAT rate in order to fund the country’s recurrent expenditure. The recurrent expenditure is expected to balloon as a result of the N30,000 national minimum wage increase, which President Buhari is likely to sign into law. This implies that the N8.83 trillion proposed for 2019 expenditures at the federal level may increase when the wage bill is revised to accommodate the new minimum wage”.

According to Leadership “the federal government yesterday approved the sum of N27.46 billion for states ravaged by insecurity and natural disasters, such as flooding. Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, who is also the vice chairman of the Presidential Initiative on Food Security, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) weekly meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa. The governor said that the intervention came under the National Food Security Council for states affected by conflicts and insecurity.” The report revealed that Governor Bagudu said that “the council considered the importance of helping the victims and approved N8billion for Adamawa, Plateau, Benue, Zamfara with 69,872 persons listed as beneficiaries He said: “FEC considered and approved two memos from the National Food Security Council. First, it approved the intervention for states that have been affected by conflicts and insecurity, where many have been displaced from their homes and some are living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps. “While support has been given in terms of accommodation, food, welfare, the National Food Security Council considered the importance of helping them restore their livelihood activities, particularly agricultural activity. “The council approved the memo by Mr. President and approved N8.558billion for intervention in Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara States. The beneficiaries are estimated at about 69,872 people. The intervention includes the provision of fertiliser, seedlings, chemicals, poultry and animals to enable them resume economic activity.””

“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Wednesday unveiled the guidelines for its crude oil-for-product swap programme, known as the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase (DSDP) scheme. The corporation in a tweet message on its official twitter handle @NNPCgroup, disclosed that it will engage qualified refineries, oil traders, as well as local downstream operators in the 2019 DSDP programme. NNPC did not state the volume of crude oil it would put into the DSDP programme but usually allocates 445,000 barrels of oil a day from Nigeria’s daily production figures to take care of the country’s daily products consumption. This volume is also often used by it in its crude oil for product swap programmes, including the DSDP.” This Day reported that “according to the corporation, the invitation of participants in the swap contract was in line with Nigeria’s public contract and procurement law — the Public Procurement Act 2007, as well as its policy and procedures on same.

It said the decision to engage qualified and credible companies in the DSDP programme was to ensure sustained product supply in the country. The corporation added that the programme would deliver monthly crude oil lifting on Free on Board (FOB) basis to suppliers who shall in return deliver petroleum products of Nigerian standard specification to it on Delivered at Place (DAP) basis, at designated safe ports in Nigeria. NNPC equally stated that the petroleum products to be delivered shall be equivalent in value to the crude oil received from it by the suppliers.”

Daily Trust reports that “the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has denied calling for a 50percent increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) during interactive meeting between Fowler and committee members of the Senate Finance Committee at the 2019–2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper ((PSP), statement from the service said yesterday. The statement said the Chairman of the service, Tunde Fowler on Tuesday called for an increase in the number of Nigerians and companies paying VAT and not for a 50 per cent increase in VAT rate. The statement also said although the chairman indicated that there should be an increase in VAT rate by the end of the year, he “never, for once suggested a 50 per cent hike of any percentage increase at all.” It noted that contrary to reports in the media, the chairman called for a reduction in Companies Income Tax (CIT) rate for small businesses so as to improve compliance. “Rather, he promised improved collection in CIT, Petroleum Profits Tax, PPT and VAT in 2019 relative to the collection performance of the Service in 2018. In 2018, FIRS collected the sum of N1.1 trillion in VAT N1,42 in Companies Income Tax (CIT) and N2.4 trillion in Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT).”

Business Day (Thursday 21 March 2019, page 39) reports that “concerned by the increasing rate of illegal migration from most African nations, the Nigerian government at the ongoing World Border Security Congress in Casablanca, Morocco, is pushing for a policy framework that comprehensively addresses migration and its linkage with development priorities. Junaid Abdullahi, executive secretary, Border Communities Development Agency, Nigeria, in a speech called on the various countries to identify and enable migration and development policies that support human resource development rather than simply restricting mobility. Abdullahi further called on various African governments to tackle youth unemployment, restiveness, poor educational systems, and unjustified income disparity through under- employment, many of which were underlying factors that fuel illegal migration.”

“The Executive Secretary/CEO Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello has criticised the imposition of surcharges on Nigerian bound cargo because of non -existing security concerns along the Gulf of Guinea region. He criticised foreign carriers of mis-categorisation and exaggeration of security situation in the country to justify the surcharges unjustly levied on cargo destined to Nigeria. Bello, said even though there were security challenges, it is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, saying many countries in the world were also witnessing same. He was quoted in a statement to have pointed out that incidences like pilfering, armed robbery at sea, piracy and other infractions, “are not too frequent in our shores and is of less magnitude but our detractors will always magnify it to portray us in bad light.” The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council praised the collaboration between the Nigerian Navy, NIMASA and other relevant security agencies, “which to a large extent has reduced considerably such incidences in Nigerian water ways as statistics has shown that Nigerian Navy has foiled about 90 per cent of such incidence in our water ways.” The statement disclosed that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, as the ports economic regulator had called for inter-agency collaboration to strengthen institutional capabilities that would create a seamless security architecture and provide a robust security in the maritime sector, thereby adding value to the economy.” This Day reported this.

“The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udoma, said the Federal Government would go into negotiations with senior civil servants soon after the bill on the new National Minimum Wage is assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari. Udoma said this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday in Abuja to give explanations on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Paper. He said the Executive would meet with relevant stakeholders on the matter as soon as it is signed into law.“Once we announce the minimum wage, we now enter into negotiations with those who are above the minimum wage. So, we have to be prepared for that. We will be meeting with the finance committee on how best this minimum wage will be addressed both from the federal and the state governments. This is to ensure that the whole government apparatus is not just to pay salaries. It is important we are able to pay the minimum wage and still have enough resources to do infrastructure, health, agriculture and others,” he said.” According to Daily Trust, “the minister stressed that once the minimum wage becomes law, serious emphasis would be laid on productivity. “As a result of agitation from the unions, the President set up a tripartite committee to look at the minimum wage. It is expected that every five years a review is done. We know that the N18,000 is too low and it will be difficult to manage with 18,000 and the president supported the review. It is, however, important that as we are reviewing it, we make sure that we can fund it. That is why we set up a committee. So, we will be coming to you as there may be some changes to make sure we can fund the minimum wage,” he explained.”

This Day reports that “the federal government will auction by subscription N100 billion worth of bonds on March 27, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said. The DMO said in a circular on its website on Tuesday in Abuja, that the five-year re-opening bonds of N40 billion to mature in April 2023 was offered at 12.75 per cent. It said that the seven-year re-opening bonds also of N40 billion to mature in March 2025 would be auctioned at 13.53 per cent. It added that the 10-year bonds, also re-opening, of N20 billion which would be due in Feb. 2028, would be auctioned at 13.98 per cent. According to the DMO, units of sale is N1,000 per unit, subject to a minimum subscription of N50 million and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter. The DMO explained that the bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the Nigerian Government, with interest payable semi-annually to bondholders, while bullet repayment will be made on maturity date. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the country issues sovereign bonds monthly to support the local bond market, create a benchmark for corporate issuance and fund its budget deficit.”

“The Federal Government has charged commercial banks in the country to support indigenous software developers in their banking operations. Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Dr. Isa Pantami said given the massive deployment of technology in the banking sector, the commercial banks should help in grooming indigenous software developers. He spoke in Lagos during a two-day roundtable conference on the use of local software in the financial sector organized by the CWG Plc. He said the banks would save enormous resources by supporting indigenous developers. Pantami noted that the indigenous developers may not have the capabilities required by the banking industry but “We must create conditions and systems that will enable us successfully develop ours. Hopefully when we rise from these conversations, we would have identified a sustainable path and realistic timeline to reverse this trend and grow our local industry.”” Daily Trust reported this.

“The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) have resolved to commence enforcement of the National Identification Number (NIN) on the new enhanced 10 years validity e-passport. President Mohammadu Buhari had on January 15th 2019, while unveiling the new enhanced e-passport, directed that the NIN which is issued by NIMC be inserted as additional data in the new passports.” This Day reports that “the resolve to commence enforcement was agreed upon during a courtesy visit by the Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, to the Director General NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja recently. The Director General and CEO of NIMC, in his address stated that the Commission had upgraded its software and infrastructure to enable the generation of the NIN in just micro seconds. This meant that unlike in the past, the NIN is issued instantly to successful enrollees into the NIDB (National Identity Data Base}. “Few months ago, we had an issue that made NIN generation take up to hours and people had to come back the following day. However, right now it is instantaneous and that is the way we intend to maintain the system. The type of Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) we utilise makes sure that the NIN is unique –that is our only job,” Aziz said.”

“The federal government on Wednesday said it has concluded plans to boost business opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) globally through strategy branding with the aim of improving Nigeria’s economy. The minister of communication, Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu who made this known through his Special Adviser on New Media, Oluwakemi Areola added a summit to kick-start this will take place on Thursday in Abuja. The summit which is Nigeria’s first edition of Glocalisation and Branding will be attended by no fewer than 1000 participants.” According to Daily Trust, “the Special Adviser who is also the Chief Executive Officer, Vivacity PR, explained that topics such as, Carving A Niche, Making Your Brand Stand Out Through Uniqueness, Personal Branding In The Digital World, Creating A Global Brand With Local Personnel, Local Financing For Glocal Brands, Getting Comfortable With Out Of The Box Branding And Advertising In The Nigerian Sector and other interesting issues would be discussed. “The idea is to bring together global and local brands to explore areas of synergy, discuss financial options, impacts of technology and social media on branding and techniques that would make brands stand out and generate required revenue,” Areola said. The event, aiming at helping brands to expand to global markets using local creativity and personal branding, is scheduled to hold at the NAF conference, Abuja.”