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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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Nigeria oil production drops to 1.231m barrels per day- OPEC

OPEC: Russia-Ukraine war causing volatility in global energy market

Nigeria’s crude oil production suffered its second consecutive monthly decline since the beginning of this year, as it dropped to 1.231 million barrels per day in March, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has revealed.

OPEC disclosed this in its latest Monthly Oil Market Report for April 2024, stating that crude oil production details which it got through direct communication from Nigeria showed that the country pumped less oil in March compared to February.

Data from the report indicated that Nigeria produced 1.322 million barrels per day of crude in February this year, but this dropped to 1.231mbpd in March, representing a plunge of 91mbpd.

The report further added that the country had produced 1.427mbpd of crude in January, but this was not sustained in February as it dropped in that month, while the southward oil production continued in March.

However, OPEC data showed that Nigeria’s average crude oil production in the first quarter of 2024 was 1.327mbpd, higher than the 1.313mbpd average oil production in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Nigeria’s first quarter oil output in 2024 was also higher than the 1.201mbpd average production in the third quarter of 2023.

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Emirates Airlines to resume Nigeria flights soon – Keyamo

Emirates, UAE, has concluded plans to resume flights with Nigeria.

This followed numerous visits from President Bola Tinubu to UAE over the communication breakdown between both countries.

Featuring on Arise Television on Monday, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, said the Emirates Airline had already indicated its readiness in a letter sent to the Nigerian Government.

Keyamo explained that what transpired during the earlier visit and resolution was not fake but was presented in a ‘hasty’ manner.

He said: “Emirates flight resumption is almost happening. I just received a letter from Emirates. The letter is on my phone now. They have gone through all the gamut and they are ready to come back. They will announce the date because to restart a route, they must get an aircraft for that route.

“I am announcing to Nigerians for the first time; that I just received a letter from Emirates now. The letter is with me. I have a hard copy thanking you for all the efforts we made. Mr President was the showman here. He was the one who pushed for it. He made my job easy because he went there, and had a diplomatic shuttle to resolve all the issues.

“That was why I said the last announcement was hasty and not fake news.

“They will announce the date for their next flight. We have received a letter confirming that all the issues have been resolved and prepared to start coming back. It may be before June.”

Apart from Emirates suspending flights to Nigeria, in 2022, the UAE Immigration Department notified its trade partners and travel agencies that it was stopping visa applications from 22 countries, 20 of which are African nations.

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CICB records 63% revenue growth in 2023

The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, says it recorded a 63.60 per cent growth of operating revenue, which stood at N1.37 billion in 2023, marking a significant increase from the N837.94 million recorded in 2022.

CIBN’s president, Ken Opara, disclosed this on Saturday in Lagos.

Opara added that the cost-to-income ratio for the year ended December 31, 2023, stood at 50.72 per cent, down from 59.41 per cent in the corresponding period in 2022.

“I am particularly delighted that our institute continued to wax stronger financially, notwithstanding the economic downturns and headwinds in 2023.

“It is on record that our institute, for the first time, crossed the one billion Naira mark by achieving a Net Operating Surplus of N1.371 billion in 2023 when compared with N837.943 million achieved in 2022, representing a growth of 63.60 per cent.

“Similarly, total revenue grew from N2.065 billion recorded in 2022 to N2.782 billion in 2023, representing 34.72 per cent growth, while total assets grew from N7.821 billion in 2022 to N9.119 billion in 2023.

“The cost-to-income ratio for the year ended December 31, 2023, stood at 50.72 per cent, down from 59.41 per cent in the corresponding period in 2022. This ratio is way below the approved Governing Council threshold of 61 per cent for the 2023 financial year.

“I am persuaded that with prudent and efficient management of resources, as well as diligent execution of our strategic plan, our institute will sustain this northward trajectory,” he said.

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