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Daily Archives: January 7, 2019

JUST IN: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim resigns before end of term

The World Bank Group president, Jim Yong Kim, on Monday announced he would be stepping down from his position effective February 1.

Mr Kim’s announcement is coming more than three years ahead of the end of his tenure in 2022.

“It has been a great honour to serve as President of this remarkable institution, full of passionate individuals dedicated to the mission of ending extreme poverty in our lifetime,” Kim said his statement on Monday.

In his place, the World Bank Group CEO, Kristalina Georgieva, will assume the role of interim president effective February 1.

Mr Kim said the work of the World Bank Group is more important now than ever as the aspirations of the poor rise all over the world.

He said problems like climate change, pandemics, famine and refugees continue to grow in both their scale and complexity.

“Serving as President and helping position the institution squarely in the middle of all these challenges has been a great privilege,” Kim said.

As World Bank President since July 2012, the outgoing World Bank Group head noted infrastructure finance as one of the greatest needs in the developing world.

He said he led the Group to mobilize its financing by working with private sector partners to build sustainable, climate-smart infrastructure in developing nations.

Immediately after his exit, Mr Kim said he would join a firm focussing on increasing infrastructure investments in developing countries. He said details of his new position would be made public later.

Under his Presidency of the Group, Mr Kim said the World Bank set the target of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and to grow shared prosperity, by focusing on the 40 percent of the population in developing countries.

Besides, he said the Bank enjoyed strong support from shareholders to better position it to respond to the development needs, particularly its Fund for the poorest, the International Development Agency (IDA), which achieved record replenishments that enabled it increase its work in areas suffering from fragility, conflict, and violence.

Police declare Melaye fit for trial

The Nigeria Police Force has declared the Senator representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye fit to face trial.

The Police said it arrived at the conclusion after several test conducted on the Senator came out negative adding that it was an indication that the Senator was not medically challenged as he claimed.

But Melaye urged the police to relocate him to National hospital after three days of treatment at Police hospital in Garki, Abuja.

Certifying the Senator medically fit for trial, the Police Authority described the Senator’s request and actions so far as Nigerian Home video part 2.

The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Police Medical, AIG Kaomi Amadu also faulted Melaye’s claim based on medical record from expert.

Senator Melaye, whose Abuja residence was under siege for eight days surrendered to Police operatives at the weekend amidst drama which landed him in the hospital.

The senator is wanted by the Police for a case of Criminal Conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide, committed on 19th July, 2018, when him and his armed thugs allegedly attacked Police personnel; shot and wounded Sgt. Danjuma Saliu, attached to 37 Police Mobile Force (PMF) on stop and search duty along Aiyetoro Gbede, Mopa Road in Kogi State.

Malaysia’s King abdicates to marry Russian beauty queen

In a historic first, Malaysia’s king, Sultan Muhammad V abdicated Sunday, ending weeks of speculation about his future after he took medical leave and reportedly married a Russian ex-beauty queen.

Sultan Muhammad V’s decision marks the first time a king has stepped aside during his five-year term in the Muslim-majority country.

The national palace confirmed the resignation with immediate effect of the 49-year-old, who had been on the throne for two years and was known for his fondness for four-wheel driving and other extreme sports.

“His majesty tells the people of Malaysia to continue to be united to maintain unity, tolerance, and work together,” said a statement from the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz.

Malaysia’s Islamic rulers will now meet to decide on the next king.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with a unique arrangement where the throne changes hands every five years between rulers of the nine Malaysian states headed by centuries-old Islamic royalty.

The system has been in place since independence from Britain in 1957.

Royal officials gave no reason for Sultan Muhammad V’s move but there had been a question mark over the king’s reign since he went on leave for medical treatment in November.

Reports in British and Russian media then surfaced saying that he had married the former Miss Moscow in the Russian capital in a lavish ceremony.

Royal officials in Malaysia have so far not commented on the rumoured marriage, or given any details about the state of the king’s health.

Speculation intensified about the king’s future after his medical leave officially finished at the end of December, and the country’s Islamic royals reportedly held a special meeting last week.

While their role is ceremonial, Malaysia’s Islamic royalty command great respect, especially from Muslim Malays, and criticising them is strictly forbidden.

Sultan Muhammad V studied at St Cross College at Oxford and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, according to official media.

He is known for a relaxed public persona, taking part in walkathons to promote health, and has been photographed wearing a baseball cap backwards.

According to a report from official news agency Bernama at the time of his enthronement, he “fills his free time by reading and has an interest in extreme sports such as four-wheel drive expeditions and endurance challenges and shooting”.

He is also the ceremonial ruler of the conservative Islamic northern state of Kelantan.

The palace statement said he was “ready to return home to the state of Kelantan to be together with the state government and… the Kelantanese people”.

The palace did not indicate when the Islamic rulers would meet to pick the next king. During his leave of absence, the ruler of western Perak state had been carrying out his duties.

Portraits of the king and queen adorn government buildings throughout the country. The king is also the symbolic head of Islam in the nation, as well as the nominal chief of the military.

Malaysia’s sultans trace a lineage back to Malay sultanates of the 15th century. The king is referred to as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or “He Who Is Made Lord”.

Gabon rebel chief arrested, two killed in failed coup

The chief military rebel who led a failed coup in Gabon on Monday has been arrested and two of his commandos killed after they stormed a public radio station, the presidency said.

A group of soldiers attempted to take power and called in a radio appeal for a popular uprising against ailing President Ali Bongo, who is abroad recovering from a stroke.

Security forces stormed the radio station in the capital Libreville to take it back, killing two rebel troops, arresting their leader and freeing journalists who had been forced to help rebels make their appeal.

“The situation is under control,” the presidency statement said.

Six rebel troops earlier Monday burst into the state radio broadcasting station, “neutralising” gendarmes in front of the building before making their broadcast, it said.

Officials earlier said five rebels had entered the building and four had been arrested.

The message was read by a person who identified himself as Lieutenant Ondo Obiang Kelly, the deputy commander of the Republican Guard and head of a previously unknown group, the Patriotic Youth Movement of the Gabonese Defence and Security Forces.

He said a “national restoration council” would be formed in the former French colony “to guarantee a democratic transition for the Gabonese people”.

Bongo is staying at a private residence in the Moroccan capital Rabat after suffering a stroke. He made a televised speech on New Year’s Eve but has not been in the West African country since October.

Two powerful Kwara groups endorse Abdulrazaq

The chances of the Kwara State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq brightened on Monday with the support of two different groups in the state.

The two groups are Kwara Elders Unity Forum and the Kwara Rescue Movement.

Making the declaration at separate interviews with newsmen in Ilorin on Monday, the groups said that they endorsed Abdulrazaq because he represents their vision and passion for the development of the state.

Dr Saliu Ajia, the coordinator and Convener of the Elders Forum said that the forum is an assembly of eminent Nigerians of Kwara origin chaired by Chief Cornelius Adebayo, one –time governor, Senator and Minister.

According to him, the forum unanimously resolved at its meeting to support the candidate for strategic reasons.

“In the same vein, members of Kwara Elders Unity Forum also agreed to support the candidature of President Muhammadu Buhari in the same general elections as a matter of national expediency.

“We, therefore, call on all well meaning Nigerians to join us in working assiduously to install good governance at all levels in our polity through the election of credible, competent, qualified, tested and honourable men and women into offices under a free and fair democratic process,”he said.

In a similar development, the Kwara Rescue Movement has directed its members to vote for candidates of the APC in Kwara during the 2019 general elections.

The directive was contained in a communiqué signed by the secretary of the group, Alhaji Saleh Duro, which was made available to the newsmen in Ilorin.

The communiqué noted that members unanimously resolved to choose APC as most suitable political platform to support in the forthcoming elections.

“Kwara Rescue Movement will henceforth begin to vigorously mobilise, canvass and campaign for the victory of all APC candidates from the wards to national levels.

“Lastly, we also wish to put on record the pledge of our members to freely, totally and loyally support the APC by working for its success in the next general elections,”the group resolved.

Minimum Wage: NLC holds nationwide protest Tuesday

The Nigeria Labour Congress says it will on Tuesday hold a nationwide protest to drive its demand for the upward review of the national minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000.

The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, said in a statement that there would be no strike for now.

Ozo-Eson, therefore, asked members of the public to disregard reports that the strike would begin tomorrow.

The statement read in part, “It has come to our attention that some sections of the news media have largely misrepresented our action plan in reaction to the delay in transmitting the recommendations of the Tripartite Committee on a new national minimum wage to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It should be recalled that the National Executive Council of the NLC met on December 17 last year and directed that we hold nationwide mobilisation of workers and our allies if, by December 31, 2018, the bill on the national minimum wage has yet to be sent to the National Assembly to be passed as an Act of Parliament.

“We immediately announced then that on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, there will be a nationwide mass mobilisation and protests simultaneously across all states in Nigeria. This does not translate to a strike.”

15.1million new voters register for 2019 elections as total list hits 84 million

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says at least 84 million Nigerians will participate in this year’s general elections.

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, dislcosed this on Monday in Abuja while presenting the national voter register to political parties.

He said the total number of registered voters in the country stand at 84,004,084.

This translates to just 42 percent of Nigeria’s population which currently stands at 198 million.

The number is 15.17m more than the 68, 833, 476 Nigerians who voted in the 2015 general elections.
The presidential election is scheduled to hold on February 16 while the governorship and state houses of assembly polls will take place on March 2.
In November, INEC said 73 political parties will be participating in the elections.

Court nullifies Tonye Cole, Magnus Abe’s candidacy in Rivers

The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has given a judgement restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from presenting Tonye Cole and Magnus Abe as governorship candidates in the general elections.

The judgement was delivered on Monday.

Cole is the preferred candidate of Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transport, while Abe is the senator representing Rivers south-east.

The court also nullified all direct and indirect primaries conducted by both factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

While delivering the judgement, James Omotosho, the judge, said none of the primaries were conducted according to the law.

Following the ruling, the APC no longer has candidates for the governorship, senate, house of representatives, and state house of assembly elections.

The APC in the state had produced two governorship candidates in parallel primary elections.

A faction of the party loyal to Abe adopted direct primary election while the faction loyal to Amaechi, adopted the indirect primaries.

Delivering the judgment, Omotosho said both factions of the APC acted in disrespect of a pending suit before Chinwendu Nwogu, a judge of the state high court.

In a judgement delivered in October, Nwogu had nullified all the primary elections conducted in the state.

Omotosho said the judgment of Nwogu is yet to be set aside by an appellate court, hence, it remains valid.

He said the APC in the state could not produce candidates for governorship, national and state assembly elections while the matter was pending, noting that it is illegal for candidates to emerge from the different primaries conducted by the two factions.

“Both the direct and indirect primaries claimed to have been held by the APC are illegal and cannot stand in the face of the law,” he said.

Buhari says Tinubu will be fully in charge of reelection campaign

President Muhammadu Buhari says Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will be in charge of his reelection campaign.

Buhari said this on Monday while launching the APC presidential campaign council at the Abuja International Conference Center.

The president said he will actively participate in the campaign but will also focus on the business of governance during the period.

“Even though we have only 40 days, this campaign is going to tax us all because we intend to touch all corners of our great and vast country,” he said.

“But I must also add that, though we will all be deeply involved, I would like to assure the nation that I will do my part without making governance or my work suffer.

“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my co-chairman, will be fully in charge and is going to be on 24-hour vigil.

“That is to say, the operational buck of this campaign stops at his table, and I, therefore, urge all of us in the leadership of this campaign, in the field operations on the campaign trail and in the secretariat to consult with Asiwaju whenever guidance is needed.

“It is on this note, and in the name of God, that I now have the pleasure of inaugurating the APC presidential campaign council 2019.”

The president implored the leadership of the party to work together to ensure a successful campaign.

“Let us engage our citizens on issues and ask for reflection on the comparative difference between 2015 and 2019 on security, economy and corruption and abuse by those entrusted with leadership in Nigeria,” he said.

“As we embark on the campaign to secure mandate for the next level, I want to acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions of all stakeholders who have endeavored to keep our party united, and our governance successful.”

While appealing to all members to be guided by the enduring vision behind the formation of the party, the president urged them to always “keep their eyes on the ball, which is the success of our party at the polls”.

He added: “I wish to appeal to all members to be guided by the enduring vision behind the formation and sustenance of our party, which is anchored, on sacrifice and imperative to salvage and stabilize our great and promising nation.

“I appeal to all our members, and especially those who are in the campaign council, to unite and cooperate and ensure a smooth operation.

“Needless to add, directorates could co-opt on full or part-time basic persons who could add value to our campaign and help us to attain success.”

FIRS collects record N5.3trn revenues, targets N8trn for 2019

 

The Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, re-wrote Nigeria’s collection history when it announced on Monday, that it has collected a total of N5. 320 trillion in the 2018 fiscal year.

Tunde Fowler, Executive Chairman, FIRS, who made the announcement in Lagos today at a retreat: “Parliamentary Support for Effective Taxation of the Digital Economy” said it is targeting N8 trillion for 2019.

The N5.320 trillion collection is the highest revenue ever generated by FIRS in history. The highest in FIRS was N5.07 trillion generated in 2012.

FIRS’ generation of N5.3 trillion is significant as it was at a period when oil prices averaged $70 per barrel. Oil price was at an average of $100 to $120 per barrel between 2010 and 2013.

CORRECTION

Please help me correct paragraph 4 .

It should read as follows

Oil component of the N5.320 trillion is N2.467 trillion (46.38 per
cent)), while non_oil element of the collection is N2.852 trillion
(53.62 per cent. From audit alone, FIRS collected N212,792 billion
from 2278 cases with a huge reduction in audit cycle.

Said Tunde Fowler: “While we have been steadily increasing revenue collection over the years, our cost of collection has actually been going down. In 2016 we collected N3,307 trillion, in 2017 we collected N4,027 trillion and in 2018 we collected N5,320 trillion. Meanwhile, the cost of collection as a percentage of actual taxes collected has been reducing; in 2016 it was 2.6%, in 2017 it was 2.49% while in 2018 it was 2.14%.”

“The Service has been making tremendous efforts in also increasing the amount of non-oil revenue it collects. Non-oil collection has contributed 64.99% in 2016, in 2017 it contributed 62.25% and in 2018 it contributed 53.62%. This represents the government’s focus on increasing non-oil sources of revenue and the diversification of the Nigerian economy.

Fowler reiterated the fact that only companies that made a profit are obliged to pay taxes. According to him, if a company is situated in Nigeria it is only fair that it pays its fair share of tax for the benefit of all Nigerians.

The Executive Chairman also stated that various initiatives were implemented by FIRS to enhance tax administration and make taxation as easy as possible. FIRS deployed ICT initiatives that enable a taxpayer to pay taxes from anywhere in the world, at any time. With the e-payment channel one can pay taxes with the click of a button and one can also download their receipts. Other e-Services are the e-Registration, e-Filing, -Stamp Duty and e-Tax Clearance Certificate.

“Taxpayers can now also choose the tax office where they would like to conduct their tax transactions. Before now, if one was registered with a particular tax office, one had to conduct all of their tax transactions in that office. However, to make it more convenient for the taxpayer, they can now choose which ever office they wish to conduct their transactions with.

He noted that Nigerian taxpayers are embracing the modern way of tax collection, introduced by the FIRS through the 6-e Solutions.

Said Fowler: We are automating the collection of Value Added Tax, VAT in key sectors which will facilitate reduction in compliance cost in the long term. We are doing System to system integration between banks and FIRS. And I am happy to announce to you that we had a 31% increase year on year in VAT collection in the banks that have gone live between Jan 2017- Dec 2018 and collected 25bn so far

“Amongst others, there is also the Government Information Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), which links FIRS to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation OAGF for real-time exchange of information and data. We are also automating the payment of VAT by states through the State Offices of Accountant General Platform (SAG). This will ensure that we aautomate and deduct at source and remittance of VAT and WHT from State governments contract payments directly to FIRS’s account and so far, collected 13bn.

He noted that taxpayers that requested for and processed their Tax Clearance Certificate, TCC through tcc.firs.gov.ng, from the comfort of their homes. “Tax clearance on the platform grew from 9,574 – 59,350 within a year of introducing the platform.

“Auto VAT collection in key sectors has also facilitated in reducing the cost of compliance. Between January, 2017 and December, 2018 VAT collection increased by 31% which translates to a collection of N25 billion. Overall, in 2019 VAT crossed the N1 trillion mark. Indeed, VAT is the fastest growing tax type in the world and even rich countries that did not depend on taxation have now introduced VAT, like the United Arab Emirates.

“In 2016 FIRS initiated a tax amnesty programme which attracted over 3000 applications for waiver of interest and penalties. The programme resulted in payment of over N68 billion out of about N96.2 billion liability established by the exercise.

The Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the FIRS received over 5122 applications under the Scheme. The Scheme resulted in voluntary declarations of over N92 billion, with over N54 billion paid so far by companies.

Fowler also explained how FIRS ascertained whether those companies with banking turnover of N1 billion are tax compliant or not. He said, “FIRS wrote to all commercial banks in May 2018, requesting for a list of companies, partnerships and enterprises with a banking turnover of N1 billion and above. This activity was aimed at ascertaining those companies that are compliant with the tax laws and those that are not compliant. So far, non-compliant organisations have paid about N21.75 billion.

“Companies that had a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and were paying were 45261, those that had a TIN but were not paying were 40611 and those without a TIN and who were not paying were 34504.”

FG orders soldiers to vacate Daily Trust premises

Hours after men of the Nigerian Army invaded the offices of a Nigerian newspaper, Daily Trust in Abuja, Maiduguri, and Lagos, the Federal Government has directed the military to vacate the premises of Daily Trust, says the Presidency.

In a statement made by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu on Sunday evening, the presidency said the military has complied with its order.

The special aide who made the statement via Twitter also noted that the issue between the military and Daily Trust will be resolved via dialogue and not violence.

Also, Defence Spokesman, John Agim, explained why the military invaded and shut down the operations of Daily Trust offices in Abuja and Maiduguri in Borno State.

According to him, the invasion was not to stop the press from doing their job but because the medium made a publication that revealed the plans of the military in fighting insurgency.

“I think it is completely unacceptable for any media house to have information about the military plan on the fight against insurgency and publish such plans,” he said in a phone interview with Channels Television on Sunday evening.

“Boko Haram terrorists will be informed ahead of time and that also shows that they (DailyTrust) are sympathetic to the insurgents and the intention was just to invite them and let them understand the dangers their action puts on the military.

“So, the intention is not to stop the press from doing their job. They need to understand that without peace and security in the land, they cannot perform their job. So for everybody who has information, there’s a need to check with the security agencies before they publish such because releasing such information ahead of time can jeopardize the operation”.

However, the Editor in Chief of the newspaper, Mannir Dan-Ali narrated the ordeal of the newspaper in the hand of the soldiers.

He said: “For 4 Hours on Sunday, January 6, 2019, Armed Soldiers who came in 5 vehicles occupied the head office of Media Trust Limited, publishers of the Daily Trust titles sending away journalists and other staff. Before the siege was called off at about 9.30 pm, the soldiers has ransacked the newsroom and carted away dozens of computers and effectively strangulated the production of the Monday edition of the paper.

Earlier in the day at about 4 pm, another detachment of soldiers and plain cloth security officials went to the Maiduguri regional office of the company and conducted a search at the end of which they took away the Regional Bureau Chief, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab. Neither the company nor the families of the 2 reporters have heard from them since.

A production staff who was taken away from the Abuja head office alongside our computers was released after a period  of detention at the Mogadishu barrack in Abuja.

In Lagos, military men in 7 vehicles arrived our offices at Textile Labour House in  Agidingbi at about 9 pm and remain there until the time of issuing this statement.

We have not been told of the reason for the military operation against this newspaper but suspect it may have to do with the lead story of the Daily Trust on Sunday that dwelt on the military’s effort to retake some towns recently reported to have been lost to insurgents.  Another clue is that during the invasion of our premises both in Maiduguri and in Abuja, the military men were asking for the reporters who wrote the story.
Media Trust Limited condemns this unlawful act and calls on the military authorities to release the 2 reporters arrested in Maiduguri and return the dozens of  computers that were taken from our newsroom. We also like to thank our colleagues in the media and all others who have been calling and supporting us in our hour of need. We also appreciate the efforts of some government officials who insist that there is a better way of handling relations with the media.

Meanwhile, many Nigerians have condemn the army invasion of the newspaper’s premises. A Senior journalist and Labour leader Mr Owei Lakemfa described the invasion as lawless and demanded for the immediate sack of the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Buratai.

Lakemfa said: “The Nigerian Army was unhappy about a report in the Daily Trust Newspapers and sends armed soldiers to shutdown the newspaper headquarters in Abuja, and its Maiduguri and Lagos offices. The army also abducted some staff of the organisation. Do we have a government in this country that such brigandage should be accepted? I expect the Buhari administration to have sent the Chief of Army Staff home by the time Nigerians wake up in the morning or it should forever its mouth about the rule of law. Nigerians cannot be expected to be law abiding if a section is allowed to be lawless”.