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Malami writes governors on stamp duty, says no recoveries yet

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The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has written letters to all the 36 state governors in the country over compliance with audit and recovery of back years of stamp duty from January 15, 2016, to June 30, 2020.

“Pursuant to Mr. President’s approval and directives, I also wish to request Your Excellency to direct the State Ministries, Departments, Agencies, and Regulatory Institutions of Financial Sector to engage and grant access to the appointed Recovery Agents for the purpose of the Audit and Recovery of Stamp Duty to ensure that all established liabilities are remitted as appropriate,” the letter reads in part.

The Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the minister, Dr. Umar Gwandu, said in a statement made on Wednesday that no actual recovery has been made and added that recoveries are being conducted for the Federal Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Financial Institutions and that liabilities are being established at this stage.

According to the statement, Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Act granted the AGF an exclusive power to recover any outstanding payment or remittances related to stamp duty.

The letters, Gwandu said, were written pursuant to the provision of Section 111 of the Stamp Duty Act which provides that, “all duties, fines, penalties and debts due to the Government of the Federation imposed by this Act shall be recoverable in a summarily manner in the name of the Attorney General of the Federation or the State”.

He said what the AGF did, was to activate those powers, conduct the audit and recovery of back years stamp duty in collaboration with stakeholders.

Malami said the Federal Government has set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Audit and Recovery of Back years Stamp Duties from January 15, 2016, to June 30, 2020.

Members of the committee, he said, were drawn from the AGF’s office, in collaboration with relevant agencies including the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria, Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission, among others.

In view of the need to provide a comprehensive overview of the process and for proper understanding of the task, the Statement said the AGF organized a meeting with Attorneys General of States as they have similar powers with respect of stamp duty of Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Financial Institutions in their respective states.

Attorneys-general of the 36 states of the federation had last week, dragged Malami before the Supreme Court over alleged failure of the federal government to remit funds generated from stamp duties into the accounts of state governments.

The states said in their suit that they are the sole authority to collect stamp duties and not the federal government.

In the suit marked SC/CV/690/2021, dated, August 24, the attorneys are asking the court to issue an order directing Malami to account for and pay back all monies collected by way of stamp duties on individual persons’ transactions within the respective states of the Plaintiffs from the period 2015-2020 and thereafter till the time of the judgment as well as an order directing him to pay them all the sum of monies amounting to N176,067,400,000,00) representing ascertained and admitted collected stamp duties on individual persons’ transactions within their respective states for the period of 2015- 2020 and thereafter till the time of the judgment of the court or any other sum as they may be found entitled by the court.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant by himself, privies, agents or any persons by whatever name or how so ever called from appointing anyone for the purpose of collecting Stamp Duties on individual persons’ transactions within the respective states of the plaintiffs henceforth”, among other reliefs.

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World Bank blacklists 17 Nigerians, firms over corrupt practices

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The World Bank has disqualified nine Nigerian individuals and firms from executing any contract with it for engaging in corrupt, fraudulent and collusive practices.

Eight Nigerian companies debarred by the African Development Bank (AfDB) were also recognised by World Bank under the cross-debarment policy.

Cross-debarment is the recognition of debarment decisions by signatories to the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions on the same terms as the initial decision.

This is contained in its recent report titled ‘Sanctions System Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021’.

This report covers the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) — from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 — and was prepared by the offices of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) sanctions system.

The report stated, “In the fiscal year 2021, the World Bank Group sanctioned 57 firms and individuals, of which 54 were debarred with conditional release, making them ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank Group. In addition, three firms were sanctioned with conditional non-debarment, leaving them eligible to participate in World Bank Group-financed operations after meeting certain agreed-upon conditions.

“The institution also recognised 92 cross-debarments from other multilateral development banks (MDBs), while 45 World Bank Group debarments were eligible for recognition by other MDB.”

They are Sangtech International Services Limited, Sangar & Associates (Nigeria) Limited, Mashad Integrated And Investment Co Limited, and Medniza Global Merchants Limited — all banned for two years.

Others are ALG Global Concept Nigeria Limited, Abuharaira Labaran Gero, Qualitrends Global Solutions Nigeria Limited, and Maxicare Company Nigeria Limited. These firms are ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank for three years.

Commenting on the report, World Bank President, David Malpass, said; “The World Bank Group is firmly committed to placing governance, anti-corruption and transparency front and centre in our work. A stable, respected rule of law is essential to good development outcomes. An important piece of our anti-corruption efforts is the World Bank Group’s sanctions system.”

He said that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group had deployed more than $157 billion in critical assistance to developing countries.

“Yet, for these resources to have the needed development impact on the hundreds of millions of people who live in extreme poverty, we must ensure that resources are used efficiently, effectively and for their intended purposes,” he said.

“And that means remaining vigilant to the scourge of corruption and ensuring that we promote the highest integrity and transparency standards in public finance.”

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eNaira: FG targets $29bn from blockchain, digital currency

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Digital currency and its underlying technology, blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product by $29 billion in the next 10 years, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

He stated this in Abuja on Monday at the unveiling of eNaira, stressing that Nigeria’s digital currency would help move people and businesses from the informal into the formal sector and increase the tax base of the country.

He said eNaira would cater for businesses and households seeking faster and cheaper means of payment instead of “private currencies” that have gained popularity and acceptance across the world, including Nigeria.

The President said, “In recent times, Your Excellencies, the use of physical cash in conducting business and making payments has been on the decline. This trend has been exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence of a new Digital Economy.

“Alongside these developments, businesses, households, and other economic agents have sought new means of making payments in the new circumstances.

“The absence of a swift and effective solution to these requirements, as well as fears that Central Banks’ actions sometimes lead to hyperinflation created the space for non-government entities to establish new forms of ‘private currencies’ that seemed to have gained popularity and acceptance across the world, including here in Nigeria.

“In response to these developments, an overwhelming majority of Central Banks across the world have started to consider issuing digital currencies in order to cater for businesses and households seeking faster, safer, easier and cheaper means of payments.”

Buhari added that the benefits of digital currencies cut across different sectors of and concerns of the economy.

He said, “Let me note that aside from the global trend to create Digital Currencies, we believe that there are Nigeria-specific benefits that cut across different sectors of and concerns of the economy.

“Alongside digital innovations, Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) can foster economic growth through better economic activities. Indeed, some estimates indicate that the adoption of CBDC and its underlying technology, called blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s GDP by US$29 billion over the next 10 years.

“CBDCs can also help increase remittances, foster cross border trade, improve financial inclusion, make Monetary Policy more effective, and enable the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific welfare programmes.

“It is on this basis that I am delighted to officially launch the Central Bank of Nigeria Digital Currency, called the eNaira, and in so doing, we have become the first country in Africa and one of the first in the world to introduce a Digital Currency to her citizens.”

governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said the eNaira would make a significant positive difference to Nigeria and Nigerians.

The apex bank rolled out two applications for the digital currency on Monday — eNaira speed wallet and eNaira merchant wallet.

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As Buhari launches eNaira, CBN unveils 100 for 100 financial instrument

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President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) digital currency, the e-Naira.
While launching the digital currency, at the State House,Abuja, this afternoon, the president commended the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for his efforts towards ensuring a more efficient payment system in the country.
In his address, Emefiele announced a new financial instrument titled “The 100 for 100 PPP – Policy on Production and Productivity,” to reduce the nation’s overdependence on imports.
According to the governor, the instrument, “will be anchored in our Development Finance Department under my direct supervision.
“Under this policy the CBN will advertise, screen, scrutinize and financially support 100 targeted private sector companies in 100 days, beginning from 01 November 2021, and rolling over every 100 days with new set of 100 companies, whose names will be published in National Dailies for Nigerians to verify and confirm.

“The purpose of this instrument is to take further steps to reverse our over reliance on imports.”

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