Breaking: Protests Loom Over Fuel Price Hike
Civil society organisations (CSOs) in Rivers State have threatened to embark on a mass protest if the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and security agencies do not resolve the issue arising from the fuel price hike in the state.
Lamenting the plight of the residents of the state, the group warned that after the next 14 days if the fuel hike persists, they would shutdown the state with their massive protest.
Chairman of CSOs in the State, Mr. Enefaa Georgewill, said they suspended the protest after security agencies, particularly the Department of State Services(DSS), intervened and opted for more time.
He said DSS has assured that they were working with NNPCL to restore normalcy, warning that if after 24 days, “fuel price does not revert to official price of N165 per litre, there will be a mother of all protest and we will not listen to anybody.”
Georgewill said: “What is happening here is a warning protest to NNPC to stop suffocating and punishing Rivers people by allowing petrol marketers to sell fuel above the government approved pump price.
“Since yesterday, security agencies have been on our neck that we shouldn’t carryout this protest. Protest is a part of our democracy and it is the duty of the citizens to freely express themselves by way of protest.”
“What security agencies need to do is to provide security for protesters.
“Therefore we are giving the DSS two weeks to call on NNPCL to resolve the fuel crisis in Rivers State and ensure that fuel is sold at the approved pump price of N165 per litre.
“Failure to do that in two weeks, we are going to carryout out a mass protest because we cannot continue with the job lost, we cannot shut down our businesses due to fuel scarcity, because this is a country without electricity.”
On his party, Public Relations Officer of CSOs in Rivers, Mr. Solomon Lenu, worries that the State Governor , Nyesom Wike has remained silent, while the people suffer the effect of fuel price hike.
“Nigeria is using N4.3trillion to subsidize fuel that we don’t have, in addition to that NNPC said we are consuming 60million litres of fuel per day. This is a product is solely imported into the country by NNPC and the President who is the Minister of Petroleum is not saying anything about the situation.
“The governor who is a very vocal person, who when he speaks the country stands at attention, is not saying anything about it because they don’t feel the same problem which the ordinary people are feeling. So we are saying enough is enough.”
Also, a lawyer and resident of Rivers State, Barr. Iniayemana Jonahs, said the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Act stipulates that when there is an issue in prices, the people must be adequately informed.
“The government making us to buy fuel at N300 is unacceptable. The arbitrary price increase violates the provisions of the PPPRA Act, because the Act states that where there are issues on petroleum prices, the people must be informed and also sufficient notice must be given.”
“Nigeria College of Taxation and Fiscal Studies” Bill Passes Second Reading
A bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria College of Taxation and Fiscal Studies passed its Second Reading last week at the Senate.
The presentation of the Bill was made by Senator Abdullahi Aliyu Sabi CON on the floor of the Senate Tuesday last week, where he noted that the institution, if established would provide professional and academic training as well as certification for tax administrators, tax practitioners and tax professionals across the country.
In his presentation, Senator Sabi, who represents Niger North Senatorial District of Niger State stated that the College had become necessary given the important role that taxation is playing in the nation’s economy, and that this institution would help formulate and draft tax policy for the country while addressing human capital gaps in the country’s tax industry.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that diversifying the sources of government revenue to focus on sustainable sources is inevitable. This diversification puts taxation at the centre of the revenue mobilization discussion; the attainment of this laudable objective would require tax experts who have been properly and adequately schooled to formulate tax policy, draft and interpret tax legislation, carry on private tax practice, and administer taxation in the modern era.
“In view of the constant shift in the social, technological and business environment, with direct impact on the tax system, it is is important to have skills, competence, and adaptable personnel to man the tax system. There must be a conscious development of the field of taxation and fiscal policies in Nigeria to awake the society on the importance of taxation as a sine qua non to our development.
“Nigeria must go beyond the mere inclusion of taxation in the curriculum of educational institutions; instead the country must establish a modern system that facilitates the study of taxation via a well laid out academic curriculum, guided and focused by practical realities of Nigerian taxation and the revenue ecosystem,” he noted.
Senator Sabi further emphasised that the College would help in tackling the issue of lack of sufficient capacity of tax officers, which he noted has led to “the delegation of powers of revenue authorities to third parties, creating complications, multiplicity and uncertainty in the tax system,” and that it would correct “aggressive and orthodox methods for tax collection” while also carrying out a “regular review of obsolete tax laws that do not reflect modern realities.”
He noted that all these would help the country address its fiscal and revenue challenges and achieve the objectives of the National Tax Policy.
In his presentation, the distinguished Senator representing Niger North also cited that countries such as Kenya, Japan, India, Australia, Austria, Singapore, and Malaysia have established similar institutions for developing capacity in taxation, excise duty and customs and fiscal matters, and that this has impacted positively on their economy through significantly high tax-to-GDP ratios.
This College is expected to provide training for tax officials, including officers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs, sub-national revenue authorities, and even the general public. It is to consist of a main campus and 12 regional centres.
The Bill proposes that the College would be funded chiefly by the extant yearly subvention of the FIRS for training thus requiring no direct impact on government spending.
Senator Adamu Aliero representing Kebbi Central District, Kebbi State, commenting on the Bill noted that the only sustainable source of revenue for the Federation was taxation, and that the proposed College would train tax officials who would be instrumental to widening the country’s tax net.
He also added that there is currently no institution in Nigeria that offers specialised training in taxation.
NLC, CBN meet in Abuja over Cash scarcity
In less than 24 hours after the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, directed all its branches and affiliate unions to mobilize members for a shut down of all the branches of the Central Bank of Nigerian, CBN, across the country, over cash scarcity, the apex bank on Thursday evening met with the NLC at the Labour House Abuja.
Recall that the Comrade Joe Ajaero-led NLC, had on Wednesday while addressing journalists said that activities in all branches of the CBN nationwide and the Abuja headquarters will be shut down on Wednesday next due to the cash crunch in the country.
Comrade Ajaero had advised workers to stockpile food items as the industrial dispute with the CBN will be total.
He said Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardship occasioned by the scarcity of naira notes to attend to medical needs and other areas of need.
Vanguard gathered that the NLC threat to paralyze activities at the CBN necessitated the impromptu meeting which started at about 5 pm on Thursday.
The two man delegation made up of the CBN Deputy Gpvrrnor in charge of operations and the Deputy Governor in charge of Economic Pokicy, told the NLC President that about two billion naira was pushed out on Thursdsy in a bid to address the hardship.
A source privy to the meeting told Vanguard that the CBN promised to ensure that the scarcity of naira notes will come to an end as quickly as possible.
“They said the money they pushed out today is equivalent to the whole money pushed out within the week. They also promised to work day and night starting from this night to ensure that there is enough money in the banks,” the source said.
He further said that the CBN denied the allegation that it was printing money out of the country and that the Governor, Godwin Emefiele has directed that the old naira notes should be made available to customers.
Besides, the source denied the allegation that the old naira notes have been burnt, assuring that there will be remarkable improvement in few days to come.
It was gathered that the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero told the CBN delegation that he was not interested in how much that was pushed out, but only interested in seeing that workers and other Nigerians collect their money in banks without stress..
“The President told them that it does not bother us how much they pushed out, our concern is to see that this hardship comes to a stop.
“He also told them that they should work day and night to solve the problem and will depend on the feedback from the average Nigerians who go to the banks to make withdrawals whether there is improvement before Wednesday next week NLC planned to picket the apex bank ,” the source said.
When contacted, the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero, confirmed the meeting and said that the interest of the leadership is to see that Nigerians are able to withdraw their money devoid of the hardship they are passing through.
“We will only know that they are serious when we see improvement,” he added.
EFCC Arraigns FCMB Manager Over N55Million Overdraft Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned one Kichime Gomwalk, a bank manager and two others for alleged fraud.
Gomwalk of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited were arraigned on Tuesday before Justice P. S. Gang of the Plateau State High Court Jos.
The accused persons were arraigned on five counts bordering on stealing, cheating and obtaining by false pretence money to the tune of N55,000.000.00 (fifty-five million naira).
Gomwalk, while serving as the manager of the bank’s branch at Murtala Mohammed Way in Jos, the Plateau State capital, was alleged to have forged COCIN Gratuity Certificate of Pledge/Letter of Set-Off dated December 30, 2019, purportedly co-signed by Mrs. Monica Bitrus Tang and Rev (Dr.) Amos Musa Mohzo, Directors.
It was allegedly used to secure an overdraft facility from FCMB Plc to the tune of N55 million with COCIN Gratuity account number 100GOMWALK379 domiciled with FCMB Plc.
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