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VAT For Brothers: Stop Illegality First Wike tells FG

VAT for brothers: Stop illegality first, Wike tells FG, Gombe fears stoppage

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has advised his counterparts that are begging the state and Lagos State to discontinue moves to collect the Value Added Tax directly.

Wike, in Port Harcourt on Monday, said the Federal Government and states that were appealing to Lagos and Rivers states to be their brother’s keeper, must first accept the illegality of the central government collecting VAT, instead of states.

He stated this as the Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Yahaya, while receiving the All Progressives Congress stakeholders from the southern part of the state on Monday, said other states must wake up to reality on ground.

Yahaya noted that if the income from VAT ceased, the state government would not be able to pay salaries.

The battle for VAT started last month when the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt in its judgment held that Rivers State had the right to collect VAT within its territory.

But in its ruling on an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue, the Court of Appeal on September 10 ordered a stay of execution of the Federal High Court judgment.

Lagos State has asked to be joined in the appeal filed by the FIRS.

While some states have appealed to Lagos and Rivers states to be their brother’s keeper, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, dismissed moves by the states as a joke.

On Monday, Wike said Nigeria must encourage federating states to harness their resources and generate revenues.

The governor made the observation when the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the SUN (Newspaper) Publishing Limited, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh led a delegation to present a letter of nomination to him as the SUN Man of the Year 2020 Award at Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday.

Wike observed that there were attempts to frustrate states like Rivers, to actualise the constitutional provisions that empower them to harness their resources and revenues, particularly VAT.

The governor decried the situation where the legality of states collecting  VAT was not considered on the merit of the law by some public commentators including state governors,  who were politicising it and looking at it from prisms of ethnicity and religion.

Wike said this in a statement issued by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri titled ‘States must be encouraged to harness their resources, revenues to develop themselves—Wike’

According to the governor, what the FIRS is doing is illegal and could be likened to robbing states.

He stated, “You don’t even need to be a lawyer to know that VAT is not in items 58 and 59 of the second schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Everybody knows that.

“It is not even in the concurrent list. Therefore, it falls under the residual list. It is not arguable. That yesterday nothing happened does not mean that today nothing will happen, or tomorrow something will not happen.

“Nigeria should encourage states to be strong enough to have resources to develop their states. We are in a federal system where we are practising unitary system. Everybody at the end of the month will run to Abuja to share money. Nobody comes back to the state to think, how do I develop my state”?

“The issue of VAT did not start from Rivers State alone. It started in Lagos State when Lagos State challenged it in the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court said  Lagos shouldn’t have sued the Federal Government.”

He urged those demanding a brother’s keeper consideration to first appreciate the position of the law and situate it rightly.

“Some people say, be your brother’s keeper. I have no problem in being my brother’s keeper. But why not come out and say, let us tell ourselves the simple truth. As it is being provided in the law, who is the person responsible to collect  VAT?

“When you agree to that, that it is the state, then we can sit down to look at the different problems of states. And not to say be your brother’s keeper while you’re doing an illegal thing, in disobeying what the law says you should not do,” the governor explained.”

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New Naira Notes Ready For Issuance- CBN

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said the newly redesigned Naira notes are already in banks and ready for issuance.

In a statement on its official twitter handle, the CBN quoted Emefiele to have made the disclosure in Daura, Katsina State, while on a visit to brief the president on the Naira redesign and the recently reintroduced cashless policy.

“The newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes are now in banks and ready for issuance to members of the public,” the statement said.

The CBN governor clarified that the currency redesign and reintroduced cashless policies were not targeted at anybody but were for the good and development of the Nigerian economy, and urged Nigerians to embrace the various electronic channels available for banking and financial service transactions in Nigeria.

Emefiele further said the CBN deferred the cashless policy severally to prepare and deepen Nigeria’s payments system infrastructure.

He, therefore, advised Nigerians to take their old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes to the banks before the January 31, 2023 deadline.

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NIBSS Says e-Payment Transactions Hit N38.9trn In November

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) has revealed that transactions worth N38.9 trillion were performed electronically in November through the NIBSS Instant Payment platform (NIP).

This is the highest monthly transaction record on the platform.

Compared with the N34.5 trillion recorded in the preceding month, the November figure also shows a 12.7 per cent increase.

The latest data also shows that the November figure brought the total value of NIP deals in the last 11 months to N345 trillion.

Year on year, the e-payment value increased by 50 per cent compared with the N25.9 trillion recorded in November last year.

The value of the e-payment recorded was a reflection of the increase in the volume of deals within the month. The NIP volume rose to 492.2 million in November, showing a 53.8 per cent increase over the N319.9 million recorded in the same period last year.

The NIP is an account-number-based, online-real-time Inter-Bank payment solution developed in the year 2011 by NIBSS. It is the Nigerian financial industry’s preferred funds transfer platform that guarantees instant value to the beneficiary.

According to NIBSS, over the years, Nigerian banks have exposed NIP through their various channels, that is, internet banking, bank branch, Kiosks, mobile apps, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), POS, ATMs, etc. to their customers.

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CBN Insists It Won’t Reverse New Withdrawal Policy

Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank, says there would be no reversal on the new cash withdrawal policy adding that the limitations was not intended to hurt anyone.

He disclosed this on Thursday following his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State.

The National Assembly had earlier faulted the CBN’s unveiling of revised cash withdrawal limits with a maximum of N100,000 for individuals and N500,000 for companies, claiming that it might worsen the current economic situation.

But while reacting to the objections from the National Assembly and the public outcry over the cash withdrawal policy, Emefiele said;

“And we think Nigeria, as the biggest economy in Africa, needs to leapfrog into the cashless economy.

“We cannot continue to allow a situation where over 85 per cent of the cash that is in circulation is outside the bank.

“More and more countries that are embracing digitisation have gone cashless,” he said.

He added that there would be no rigidity on the policy and no reversal, appealing to Nigerians to embrace the new policy.

According to the Governor of the CBN, the new naira notes have already been disbursed to the various commercial banks and expects that the banks would begin distribution to the public.

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