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FIRS will continue to collect VAT – FG

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service will continue to collect Value Added Tax (VAT) following the ruling of the Court of Appeal on the matter, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York while speaking on the disagreement over the collection of VAT between FIRS and Rivers Government.

The chief law officer of the federation explained that the ruling of the Court of Appeal that FIRS and the Rivers Government maintain status quo, favoured FIRS.

He said that it was Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) that had been collecting the VAT before the dispute arose, over which the Rivers government approached the High Court.

“The position of not only the Federal Government but indeed the judiciary is the fact that status quo associated with the collecting of VAT should be maintained,” Malami said.

“And as far as the judicial system is concerned, the status quo as at the time the parties approached the court, it was the Federal Inland Revenue Service that was indeed collecting the value added tax.

“So with that in mind, the Federal Government has succeeded in obtaining an order that establishes the sustenance of the status quo, which status quo is that the Federal Inland Revenue Service should continue collection.

“This is pending the determination of the cases that were instituted by states, particularly the Rivers State Government and the Lagos State government. The cases are being determined by the court.”

NAN reports that the Rivers government had urged the Supreme Court to set aside the Court of Appeal’s Sept. 10 ruling ordering it and FIRS to maintain status quo on the issue of VAT collection.

A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Haruna Tsammani, issued the order being challenged at the Supreme Court by the Rivers government.

The state also urged the apex court to disband the panel of the appelate court, which gave the interim order and ordered another one to be constituted to hear the case.

“But one thing of interest is the fact that the Federal Government had indeed taken cognisance of the fact that where there exists a dispute between a State and Federal Government, it is the Supreme Court that should naturally have the jurisdiction to determine the dispute between the state and the federation.

“And we are taking steps to consider the possibility of instituting an action before the Supreme Court for the purpose of having this matter determined once and for all,’’ Malami said.

Railway

Abuja-Kaduna train resumes operation Saturday – NRC

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Barely 24 hours after suspending the Abuja-Kaduna trains for safety reasons, the Nigerian Railway Corporation says the services will resume Saturday October 23.

The suspension followed an explosion attack by hoodlums on the Abuja-Kaduna rail track Wednesday evening, which the corporation said affected the locomotive tank of a Kaduna-bound train.

Although there have been conflicting accounts of the attack with some attributing it to bandit or terrorist attack, the Managing Director of the corporation said in an interview on Friday night that the NRC team of engineers and technicians had fixed the problem and was certified that the train service could resume on the route after carrying out extensive an inspection of the line.

The NRC also said in a statement issued Friday evening that the Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) would “resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am.”

The statement read in part, “The board and management of the Nigerian railway corporation (NRC) hereby inform the general public, particularly our valued passengers that Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am. Subsequent train services continue.

“The NRC once again sincerely apologises for the inconvenience.”

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Motorists, travellers stranded as Delta bridge collapses

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There was confusion in part of Delta State on Friday following the collapse of the Umutu Bridge in the Ukwuani Local Government Area of the state, leaving several motorists and travellers on the Agbor-Abraka-Eku road stranded.

The incident reportedly occurred in the early hours of the day, adding that the aged long bridge gave way as a Trailer conveying heavy duty construction bulldozer was passing through it towards the Agbor axis of the state.

The deplorable condition of federal road has been on the news, with report of the road project already awarded for reconstruction by the federal government.

The road link many communities in the state and connect the people with other parts of the country, particularly Northern and South-East states.

Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Ochor Christopher Ochor who hails from the area, regretted that the federal government had not given such an important road the desired attention.

Ochor who spoke to our Correspondent, described the collapsed of the bridge as unfortunate and sympathized with stranded motorists and travelers for the pains it may have caused them.

He said he had already contacted the Commissioner for Work in charge of Urban and Highways roads in the State, Mr Neol Omodion, who has promised to take necessary steps to address the ugly situation.

Ochor however stressed the need to beef up security in the area to protect the lives and properties of the stranded travelers, calling on the federal government to reconstruct the road due to its strategic position  to the socio economic development of the area.

 

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W/Bank: Higher inflation ahead as oil price hits $86/barrel

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The World Bank Group says a higher global inflation rate is ahead, noting the current oil price rise may continue into 2022, after recording 80 per cent higher this year than what it was in 2020.

The latest Commodity Markets Outlook released on Thursday reported the global lender as saying higher oil prices were also impacting food security in some countries already.

This came as Brent Crude prices hit $86.10 per barrel early on Thursday, jumping to the highest level in three years, before retreating to just above $85 amid profit-taking.

Experts said the reluctance of OPEC+ to pump more in the short term suggests that oil prices will remain well supported for the remainder of this year.

Although Nigeria has set a $57 per barrel benchmark for the 2022 budget, it is expected to produce 1.88 million barrels per day while targeting N3.16 trillion from oil proceeds.

The World Bank outlook indicated that energy prices soared in the third quarter of 2021 and are expected to remain elevated in 2022, adding to global inflationary pressures and potentially shifting economic growth to energy-exporting countries from energy-importing ones.

“Energy prices, expected to average more than 80% higher in 2021 compared to last year, will remain at high levels in 2022 but will start to decline in the second half of the year as supply constraints ease.”

The global bank however feared that non-energy prices, including agriculture and metals, are projected to decrease in 2022, following strong gains this year.

Chief Economist and Director of the World Bank’s Prospects Group, Ayhan Kose, said, “The surge in energy prices poses significant near-term risks to global inflation and, if sustained, could also weigh on growth in energy-importing countries.”

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