Lagos State government on Thursday said it has a strong case in its demand to collect the Value Added Tax (VAT).
It said its claims were also about fiscal federalism.
The state said VAT collection would neither impoverish other states nor would the process be cumbersome.
Commissioner for Information Strategy Gbenga Omotoso, who spoke on ‘Your View’ on TVC, said: “Lagos has a solid case in the ongoing legal dispute as the crux of the disagreement is about equity, justice and fairness.
“Whichever way it goes, it will also enrich our jurisprudence and enhance the way we see and relate to the law.
“No matter what, Lagos will always stand for true fiscal federalism.”
The commissioner noted that the volume of air, sea and road transport activities in Lagos puts pressure on the state’s infrastructure.
He added that additional revenue from VAT would facilitate infrastructure development for faster movement of goods and services, as well as economic growth for the benefit of Lagos and other states since prices will fall.
On the demand for a special status for Lagos, Omotoso described Lagos as a ‘giant that carries most of the burden of Nigeria on its shoulders and the engine-room of the nation’s financial and business activities.
“Lagos must be empowered to play this role to the benefit of Nigerians”, he insisted.
Omotoso noted that other states can partner with Lagos to generate more revenue or resources by taking advantage of its huge population and massive market to sell their agricultural produce and other products, while profits realised therefrom would be repatriated to create more wealth for farmers and other producers in such states.
According to him, Lagos almost became an orphan following the movement of the Federal Capital Territory to Abuja in 1991, resulting in modest support from the Federal Government.
He was confident there would be resources for more infrastructure and facilities in transportation, health, education, e.t.c, that will benefit Lagosians and others who troop in every day if the state is allowed to collect VAT.
Omotoso added that the state will sensitise residents concerning its position on the debate.
Also yesterday, Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel said states were entitled to collect VAT.
He was a guest on Arise TV News ‘Morning Show’ aired to mark the state’s 34th anniversary.
According to him, it was wrong for the Federal Government to collect and share revenue from VAT because it is generated from businesses and activities in states.
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, yesterday asked all taxpayers to continue remitting VAT to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
She said in an advertorial: “The ruling of the Court of Appeal employs all taxpayers in all the states to continue to collect VAT on behalf of the government in compliance with the VAT Act.”
But, Emmanuel said despite the huge oil and gas investments in the state, Akwa Ibom receives a paltry N2 billion from VAT.
He backed his Rivers and Lagos states counterparts, Nyesom Wike and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, both of whom have signed their VAT bills.
Emmanuel said: “If my brother state has gone to court, it is the same principle that we stand on. I think we are all in the same bucket, the same basket.
“All the 36 states do not need to join at the same time. Today my brother in Rivers State has gone far enough.
“I think the case has gone to the Appeal Court and there is also a stay of execution.
“Let me allow the rule of law. But for states saying they do not need VAT, maybe they do not know the hidden treasure in VAT.
“If today I sell a house in Uyo, or any other person sells a property, the value is enhanced because of the good roads, electricity, security and water I have created, and the value I have added to the property. Why should the VAT on the property not come to me 100 per cent?
“Just look at the money I have spent on capital projects in the first quarter put at N143 billion, if you take 7.5 per cent of that, why should all not come to me?”
World Bank blacklists 17 Nigerians, firms over corrupt practices
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.”
eNaira: FG targets $29bn from blockchain, digital currency
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.
As Buhari launches eNaira, CBN unveils 100 for 100 financial instrument
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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