Aso Villa Reads for 19/12/2018

Every day we bring you the best news the media is reporting about the Government of Nigeria.

“The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler, has said the service has generated N5 trillion by the second week of December 2018, adding that the agency is at the verge of making N5.3 trillion at the end of the year. If the FIRS pools N5.3 trillion revenue, that will be the highest revenue ever generated by FIRS in history. The highest in FIRS history is N5.07 trillion generated in 2012. Mr Fowler’s generation of N5 trillion is significant as it was at a period when oil prices oscillated between $50 and $70 per barrel. Oil price was at an average of $100 to $120 per barrel between 2010 and 2013.” According to Premium Times the FIRS Boss was “speaking at the induction of new members of the Joint Tax Board (JTB) on Wednesday in Abuja, Mr Fowler said FIRS has been able to record significant achievements following maximum support from the Presidency, Ministry of Finance, the JTB and other taxation stakeholders.“This year, the FIRS, with the support of the Presidency, Ministry of Finance, the JTB and other stakeholders, has been able to generate up to N5 trillion. We believe that we should be able to close at least at N5.3 trillion which should be the highest in the history of FIRS. And we believe that with that additional revenue, the state and federal governments would be able to provide more services and more development to the people of Nigeria”, he said. Mr Fowler urged the new inductees to JTB to equip themselves with new ideas and embrace the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to be able to face the reality of revenue collection in the ever-changing society.”

Daily Trust reported that “President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated that he is committed to the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30,000 for Nigerian workers. He however, added that his government must approach such implementation with caution so that it does not lead to increased borrowing. Buhari stated this Wednesday during the formal presentation of the 2019 Budget Proposal of N8.7 trillion before a joint session of the National Assembly. “Let me say I am committed to the new minimum wage. But we have to be cautious so that the implementation does not lead to increased borrowing,” the president declared. He further stated that technical committees would be set up to map out ways to ensure that the new wage was effected as soon as possible.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has granted disconnection approval to mobile network operators (MNOs) to disconnect owing colleagues over rise in interconnect debt and failure of the affected operators to pay. A document sighted by The Guardian yesterday, confirmed that the NCC has sent notification letters to the affected operators.NCC has asked MTN, Airtel and IHS to disconnect, on partial basis, services to Globacom, Ntel (MNOs) and interconnect exchange points including Breeze, Exchange, Solid, Medallion and Niconnx.” Guardian reported that “the implication of this development is that some millions of subscribers would soon start to experience service disruptions. The Guardian checks showed that over 35 million subscribers might be affected if the disconnection move is implemented. While the affected operators have between the next 10 and 21 days, starting from yesterday to make amends or risk disconnections, Globacom currently has 41.5 million subscribers; Ntel as at March had about 150,000 subscribers, while millions of voice and data passes through the affected exchanges on a daily basis. Recall that as at July, the Commission put interconnect debt in the sector at N165 billion, but one of the owed operator, who does not want the his name and that of the company in print, told The Guardian yesterday, that the figure now hovers around N180 billion, with some affected operators not showing concern.”

“The budgets of revenue generating agencies such as Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Central Bank of Nigeria and Federal Inland Revenue Service will soon be captured in the national budget. This is to stop the current practice of sending separate budgets to the National Assembly, the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, has said. Speaking to Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Government Owned Enterprises (GOE) at a townhall meeting in Abuja, yesterday, the DG Budget said government had decided to go hard on revenue generation because of the refusal of GOEs to remit their operating surpluses to the national coffers.” Daily Trust reports that “he said after investing about N40 trillion cumulatively in Government Owned Enterprises (GOE) and recording less than one percent return on actual performance, the Federal Government has declared a state of emergency on revenue generation in the country. He said it is “envisaged in both in Executive Order 2 (EO2) and 2019 MTEF that is why we have gathered here today to basically elaborate on the provisions of these reference documents and to create a forum for interaction and if there is valid feedback for us to take back to the presidency on the subject to do so.””

According to Premium Times “in order to reduce the attendant financial burden that the congestion at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports has brought on importers, the Nigerian Ports Authority has announced a change in operations at the ports. A statement by the authority said with effect from Tuesday, December 18, there will be an increase in rent-free period for cargoes housed in the terminals. The statement said that the rent-free period would increase from the current period of three free days before commencement of rent charges to 21 free days before commencement of rent charges. This will last for four months. “With effect from Tuesday, December 18, 2018, there will be an increase in the demurrage free period on return of empty containers from the current 5 days period to 15 days for a period of four (4) months,” the statement said. “Shipping Companies should immediately deploy sweeper vessels to evacuate empty containers from the port to clear the backlog of empty containers littering the country within four (4) months. The Authority encourages the use of Onne Ports for such sweeper vessels. The Nigerian Customs Service is urged to immediately commence the process of auctioning of overtime cargoes. This is imperative as the ports are meant to be transit and not storage facilities. These auctions should be carried out on the spot at port locations and every buyer would be given a stipulated short period to evacuate the cargoes out of the ports after which they will be re-auctioned.”

“The Federal Government has opened discussions with international stakeholders in the automobile sector to kick-start a pilot programme on electric vehicles (EV), it has been revealed. This is in line with the global trend in vehicle electrification with fossil fuel being phased out while mobility is largely powered by electricity and batteries. The Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr. Jelani Aliyu, disclosed this at the weekend while delivering a keynote speech at the 2018 annual Nigeria Auto Journalists’ Awards (NAJA) awards in Lagos, saying electric vehicles are desirable in Nigeria. Aliyu explained that the EV Pilot Programme comprised three components such as the vehicles itself, charging stations and training/maintenance. According to him, Nigeria must not shy away from vehicle electrification which informed the discussion the country has opened with both electric vehicle and power station manufacturers. Asked when the programme would take off, he said, “very soon”.” Daily Trust reported this.

Business Day reports that “thirty six federal agencies, including the Petroleum Pricing Regulatory Agency, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Ports Authority, among others, owed government a whopping N2.671trillion operating surpluses as at end August, 2018, Ben Akabueze, Director General, Budget Office said on Tuesday, as he announced a new framework that would ensure tighter compliance in remitting monies generated by the Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) going forward. Figures reeled out by Akabueze indicted 50 agencies, with the Petroleum Pricing Regulatory Agency yet to remit up to N1,343,194,015,405.79; Central Bank of Nigeria, N801,181,279,115.10; Nigeria Ports Authority, N192,102,073,658.22 as well as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), N66,081,854,857.40, among others.” According to the report, “the Performance Management Framework which he announced in Abuja would institute Corporate Governance enhancement practices, including performance contracts for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and other key Management Staff; Set financial indicators and targets for each GOE; ensure a Monthly publication of revenue and expenditure performance for all GOEs; as well as quarterly publication of GOE’s Budget Performance. At a town hall meeting with Chief Executive Officers of Government agencies, Akabueze regretted that despite huge sums — put at approximately N40 trillion -which the Federal Government has invested in these agencies, what they usually remitted to the Treasury in terms of dividend or surplus at the end of each operating year is mostly insignificant.”

“The federal government says the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will soon access World Bank’s $750 million grant. The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this at the 7th Community of Practice (CoP) for State Commissioners of Planning and Budgeting, in Abuja, with theme, ‘Achieving Realism in State and Federal Budgets for Effective Service Delivery.’ Mrs Ahmed, who found CoP in September 2016, as then Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, was invited to speak on issues concerning the group. She expressed optimism that states will continue with their fiscal responsibility to serve as a platform to access the loan and grant from the World Bank.” Premium Times reports that “the Community of Practice meetings, she said, enhances the state commissioners of planning and budget’s capabilities in performing their functions, and serves as platforms for facilitating peer learning and information exchange, strengthening coordination, collaboration and networking. Issues being discussed at the 7th CoP meeting include expanding the forum beyond the current membership to include the minister of finance and commissioners of finance from states for better coordination and planning, budget and public finances. She said: “During the course of these meetings we had the benefit of hosting the World Bank and several other opportunities, including the Governors’ Forum,” the minister said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES.”

“The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday said it generated N1.1 trillion revenue for the Federal Government’s coffers between January and November 2018. This is against the N1.037trn the service generated in the same period of 2017.” According to Daily Trust, “the national Public Relations Officer, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Joseph Attah, who disclosed this in Lagos yesterday revealed that the achievement was a testimony that the ongoing reforms of the Service is impacting positively on productivity. He said suppression of smuggling remains the most challenging aspect of the Customs functions as anti-smuggling operations are seen differently by different people. Attah said during the year, Customs recorded 4,010 seizures with duty paid value of over N40 billion, outstanding among the seizures of 59 × 40ft containers of Tramadol and other control drugs across the Commands of the service. He stressed that Apapa Command intercepted 40; Tin Can, 10; Port Harcourt, 11; and Onne, nine. The Service also seized 238,094 of 50kg bags of rice from January to November 2018, Attah disclosed.”