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Govs to Buhari: Sack workers aged 50yrs, levy anyone earning over N30,000

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President Muhammadu Buhari

In a bid to prevent the nation from imminent economic collapse, the Nigerian governors have advised the federal government to retire all federal civil servants who are older than 50 years.

The governors also want the government to raise taxes across boars as well as levy anyone earning N30,000 and above monthly.

The governors made the proposal at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in July, an online publication, PREMIUM TIMES exclusively gathered from sources privy to details of the meeting.

The proposal also urged the government to begin implementation of the updated Stephen Oronsaye Report, which suggested merger and shutdown of agencies and parastatals with duplicated or contested functions as a way to address bureaucratic inefficiency and reduce the cost of governance.

Officials familiar with details of the meeting, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, explained that the governors were concerned about the deteriorating state of the economy and a proposal to restore fiscal discipline was presented to the federal government.

The federal civil service employs just about 89,000 people but will spend about N4.1 trillion on personnel costs this year, from its N17 trillion budget for the entire country. It is not clear how many workers are above 50 years of age, or how much goes to them.

The suggestion comes as indications emerge that the nation may be teetering towards the cliff of economic collapse.

The online publication had reported that Nigeria’s external reserves amount to only $15 billion, well below the $36 billion balance on the gross external reserves claimed by the bank. With the nation spending N5.9 trillion on imports in the first quarter of the year, reserves of $15 billion would barely cover four months of import.

Last week, details emerged that the balance in Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account had depleted significantly from $35.37m to $376,655, leaving the nation with no buffers to stabilize the economy and its currency. Yet another indication emerged recently that the nation was broke as debt service surpassed revenue.

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According to details of the 2022 fiscal performance report for January through April, Nigeria’s total revenue stood at N1.63 trillion while debt servicing stood at N1.94 trillion, showing a variance of over N300 billion.

As part of measures to restore fiscal discipline, the governors advised the federal government to reduce expenditure immediately by eliminating petrol subsidy and NNPC-funded projects, cap the Social Investment Programme (SIP) and National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) budgets to N200 billion, eliminate extra-constitutional deductions from FAAC, and reduce SWV items for SDG and NASS Constituency projects.

The governors, according to the sources, also asked the government to reduce duplications (e.g. empowerment programmes) and waste, reduce 1% granted to NASENI to 0.2%, amend the Act in 2022 Finance Bill, reduce personnel costs of federal government MDAs, and expedite privatization of non-performing assets like the NDPHC power plants.

Similarly, the governors urged that the 2023 – 2025 MTEF should reflect the suggestions and government’s commitment to restore fiscal discipline while the planned 22% increase in salaries in 2023 be reconsidered. They added that the fiscal deficit should be reduced to no more than 2% of GDP in 2023 – 2025.

Foreign Exchange and Reserves

To conserve foreign exchange and grow the reserves, the governors suggested that foreign trips by MDAs, including budgetary-independent agencies such as FIRS, NPA, NIMASA and NCC, be put on hold for at least one year.

They also urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to issue requests for Visas to foreign embassies for federal government officials and their families, unless express approval is granted by the presidency.

The governors further suggested the movement from State Income Taxation to Consumption Taxation, adding that with the introduction of 3% Federal Income Tax, state-level PIT should be abolished.

Similarly, they suggested that state Sales Taxes (flat rate of 10%) should be enacted for the 36 States and FCT, VAT levels increased to 10% with a timeline to raise it to between 15% and 20%, as well as re-introduction and passage of VAT into the Exclusive List. It was not clear whether all governors agreed with the position on VAT being moved to the exclusive list.

To improve tax revenues, they suggested that the federal government should introduce a flat 3% Federal Personal Income Tax on all Nigerians earning more than N30,000 per month, adding that persons earning less than N30,000 per month whether employed or not, including farmers and traders, should pay a monthly FPIT of N100.

Similarly, telecoms firms and NIMC should collaborate to ensure deduction of this from phone credit of individuals and linking to NIN and BVN.

The governors also suggested centralization of the collection of all federal oil and non-oil taxes in one agency, the FIRS, while Customs, NPA, and others assess and issue demands.

They suggested that the Federal Government improve crude oil and gas production, resolve lingering issues of ownership of gas in PSCs (eg Nnwa-Doro, OML 129) to help position Nigeria to take advantage of the gas needs in Europe, and provide incentives to expedite development of vandalism-resistant deep offshore fields like Bonga SW (Shell), Preweoi (Total), Zabazaba (ENI) and Owowo (Exxon).

The governors equally advised the government to encourage (and pre-finance, if necessary) Dangote Refinery to early completion to reduce massive future outflows of foreign exchange.

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CDS listing Kuje escapee with Owo attackers a mix-up – Akeredolu

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Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State says the announcement of a Kuje prison escapee, Idris Ojo, as one of the perpetrators of the June 5 attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, was a mix-up.

Irabor had listed Ojo among those arrested in connection with the attack on the Owo church.

Ojo escaped from Kuje prison when the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) invaded the facility exactly one month after the Owo attack.

However, Iraboh was said to have listed Ojo among those arrested over Owo attack.

Clarifying the issue in a statement his spokesman, Richard Olatunde, signed on his behalf, Akeredolu said the arrest of the escapee coincided with that of the church attackers, hence the mix-up.

The statement read, “The attention of Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has been drawn to the announcement of Idris Ojo as one of the attackers of St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, arrested by the security agencies.

“Governor Akeredolu acknowledged the confusion the statement has created in the public space, considering that the ugly event of June 5 attack in Owo preceded the unfortunate incident on Kuje prison.

“The governor said there was a mix-up in the announcement by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor. Governor Akeredolu explained that Idris Ojo, who is number 14 on the wanted list of Kuje Prison Escapees was arrested in his brother’s house in Akure.

“The announcement of the arrest of Idris Ojo as one of the perpetrators of the June 5 attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo was a mix up from the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor.

“Idris Ojo, who is number 14 on the wanted list of the Kuje Prison escapees was arrested in his brother’s house in Akure. His brother, Jimoh Rasheed Ibrahim, received and accommodated him after his escape from Kuje prison.

“He was thereafter moved and kept in the custody of the security operatives at the same time the attackers of Owo Catholic Church were arrested and brought into custody, hence, the mix-up.”

Governor Akeredolu urged members of the public to remain vigilant and give necessary supports to the security agencies in the State.

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2023 Presidency: Tinubu most succesful Nigeria’s gov, fit to contest, says Nnamani

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Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is currently the most successful governor in Nigeria and he is fit to contest for President in 2023, ex-Enugu Governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, has said.

He stated this in a series of tweets on Wednesday just as he condemned those attacking Tinubu’s health status, saying they should get their facts right.

Nnamani said, “Ahmed Bola Tinubu is the most successful governor in modern Nigeria bar none.

“While my vote is covered by the Umbrella per my party PDP and our candidate, HE Atiku Abubakar, I take a bow for the hardest working Politico of this generation. He (Tinubu) patiently paid his dues.”

He wrote on his achievements as governor of Lagos State,

“When Bola Ahmed Tinubu was governor, Lagos State’s IGR rose from N600 million per month to over N8 billion per month. He had an impressive track record as a governor.

“His state contributed more than 30% to our country’s GDP, accounted for more than 65% of industrial investment in Nigeria, 80% of its international trade, and collected more than 60% of the country’s value-added tax.

“In the area of human capacity, his mentorship was first class and his mentees have spread out and like little acorns many have become giant oak trees in Nigeria’s political firmaments.”

Commenting on Tinubu’s capacity to lead the country, Nnamani who is representing the Enugu East senatorial district in the Senate, said, “Guess what, the Igbo are not going anyway. Rather in the spirit of their fathers and forefathers more are pouring into Lagos every day. Tinubu is qualified to run for president of Nigeria in 2023 as there is no evidence that he has dementia.”

He also gave instances of former Presidents of the United States of America who were not medically sound but still performed well in their respective tenures.

He said, “Since we all desire a better Nigeria, our politics should be grounded in facts and reliable evidence. This is the only way we can advance this nation. Ahmed Bola Tinubu is the MOST successful governor in modern Nigeria bar none.

“Permit me to mention some past presidents who stood out for being able to contribute to the growth and greatness of their countries despite health issues. The first person on my lineup is John F. Kennedy (JFK). JFK actually experienced almost daily discomfort. He had digestive issues, allergies, and a persistent back condition that necessitated several operations and was made worse by his participation in World War II. He had medical sequelae of hypoadrenalism, anemia, low blood pressure, etc essentially later determined to be Addison’s disease. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), the longest serving president of the United States of America served his term as president on a wheelchair this was as a result of polio diagnosis when he was 39yrs old in 1921.”

 

 

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One million compatriots died to keep Nigeria together — Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari

•Says God willing, Nigeria will remain one

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