Rotary Club of Omole Golden installs Alih new president – Newstrends
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Rotary Club of Omole Golden installs Alih new president

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By Dada Jackson

It was an atmosphere of goodwill and funfare at the 17th installation of the president and induction of board members of the Rotary Club of Omole Golden in Lagos.

The ceremony witnessed the installation of Rotarian Alih Hassan Ogwu as the 17th President of the Club for 2020/2021, taking over the leadership from Rotarian Babajinmi Ajibola.

Allih who is a multiple Paul Harris fellow and a recipient of the Rotary Youth Leadership Award joined the Omole Rotary Club in 2014 and has served the club in various capacities including the Vice President in 2017/2018 Rotary year.

As a Corporate Member of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) and a registered builder with Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Rotarian Alih is currently the Managing Director of Blarkcave Nigeria Limited, a Building and Civil Engineering Company in Lagos.

In his acceptance speech, the new President acknowledged the share dedication and commitment of past Presidents of the club, stating that their labour for humanity will remain memorial.

“The Presidency of our club has passed through the hands of men and women who through dedication and selflessness have kept the club alive. Without them there will be no Omole Golden”, he said.

He said though the year has thrown at human race an unprecedented challenge, Rotary is proud of the feat achieved so far and as people of action and volunteers they will do more to bridge the gap between all the negative things that tend to retard human progress.

While maintaining that the club will continue to build on the foundation laid by its leaders, the President revealed that within the Rotary year, the club has executed several projects in line with the Club’s 6 focus areas some of which were carried out with international partners in conjunction with Rotary 9110.

According to him, one of the projects that is dear to the heart of Rotary Club of Omole is the completion of neonatal clinic at Ifako Ijaiye General Hospital because it has to do with giving people the opportunity to live again. Our commitment with international partners through the global grant to ensure high-tech modern equipment are provided for the centre will give premature babies the opportunity to survive.

“We want to do more on water sanitation, we want to do more on in economic development and empowerment of our people, we want to do more in basic education and literacy, we want to do more on maternal and child health, we want to do more on in peace and conflict prevention, we want to do more in all areas of rotary focus”, Rotarian Alih disclosed.

Speaking on the theme of the year “Rotary opening doors of opportunities”, Rotarian Alih explained that the theme means an opportunity for Rotarians to step up humanitarian works by scanning through the needs of communities and in little ways offer a helping hand to bring relief to most of their needs.

“To those that need our help, the theme will mean different thing based on their need. To parent of a premature baby, it will be an open door to survival and to those who need portable drinking water, it will be an opportunity for a running tap in their community. I hereby call on men and women of high integrity and humanitarian spirit to join the Club”, he stated.

Earlier in his address, the Outgoing President of Rotary Club of Omole Golden, Rotarian Babajinmi Ajibola explained that the club has been able to connect the world in spite of the numerous challenges that faces humanity in recent times.

He pointed out that some of the significant project which the Club were able to execute in the past year include the donation of ICT lab at Ojodu Grammar School, donation of water borehole to Yakoyo Community, donation of a phototherapy machine along with incubator to Ifako Ijaiye General Hospital, peace and conflict resolution in partner with Area F Police Command and Micro Credit empowerment for 15 persons.

“Having connected the world in our year, let me specially welcome you all to the a new dawn of “Rotary Opens Opportunities” as we continue to support our philanthropic mission”, he stated.

The Chairman of the occasion, the Executive Director, Business Development and Operations, Global Accelerex Ltd, Mr. Olukayode Ariyo described the theme of the year as a symbolism of the present reality of the new normal.

According to him, this theme strengthens the ideals of the noble organisation by creating opportunities for a better world and uplifting the hope of the common people in the society.

“We must continue to use our strength for global support in creating changes needed in our community. fighting diseases, projecting peace and conflict resolution, improving education and literacy and above all, building bridges for socio-economic development.

The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Mrs. Teju Abisoye who spoke on the recovery programmes of the Lagos State Government for SMEs affirmed that government has activated a bouquet of recovery program to cushion the effect of the pandemic on SMEs across the State.

While highlighting several collaborative efforts which Government has instituted to support SMEs in order to survive the climate, the Executive Secretary revealed that the SMEs are a critical engine for the State economy and the recovery process entails providing access to affordable finance at a single-digit interest rate, enhancing capacity building, fostering market linkages and leveraging business expansion opportunities for SMEs.

“Our economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have included an array of measures to help people and businesses. The overreaching goal is to provide SMEs with critical support in the immediate term and offer them affordable access to financing”, she added.

Teju emphasised that business owners particularly SMEs should take advantage of these array of intervention programmes like the N5 billion post-COVID-19 economic recovery support for MSMEs, the LSETF W-Initiative, the five billion naira support fund for 2,000 low-cost private schools in the state, and visit the LSETF website to apply.

The occasion which witnessed the presentation of award to the General Manager, Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC), Engr. Olufemi Daramola for his outstanding and selfless contribution to the service of humanity, also saw the launching of the Club’s project and induction of new members to the club.

The occasion was graced by the District Governor, represented by his Assistant, Mr. Okechukwu Uche-Ukah, Past Presidents of the Club and Rotarians across District 9110.

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Over 60% firms, individuals not paying tax, says LCCI president, warns against overtaxing

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President and Chairman of Council, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry LCCI, Gabriel Idahosa

Over 60% firms, individuals not paying tax, says LCCI president, warns against overtaxing

President and Chairman of Council, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry LCCI, Gabriel Idahosa, has cautioned against the multiplicity of taxes by the Federal Government, saying the development was not good for the economy. Speaking on an Arise television show monitored in Abuja, Idahosa said it was not possible to begin to raise money for every little thing in government.

He said the federal government should instead increase the capacity of the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS to collect taxes, noting that not up to 40 percent of taxable persons and organizations were taxed. According to him, the countries that are most efficient in tax collection are the countries that have the minimum number of taxes.

His words: “It is not really possible to begin to raise money for every little thing in government. To levy for cyber security, industrial training, insurance, levy for police trust fund and others, the whole approach in recent times of trying to put levy on everything is simply not the way to manage public finance in any country.

“The business of raising revenue for government is assigned to a specific organization in government which is the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS in the case of Nigeria. It is the business of the FIRS to get revenue for all the services of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The countries that are most efficient in tax collection are the countries that have the minimum number of taxes.

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It has been established during the time of the Taiwo Oyedele Tax Reform Commission that some of the levies and taxes that you create does not translate into significant increase in revenue and in any country, the agencies in charge of activities like these, whether it is high level intelligence or security, are funded from the budget of the country and the way they are funded usually is not a matter for public conversation. Nobody exposes the way the intelligence agencies of countries are funded.

“The technical issue of whether the Act was correct or not is minor. The big issue is should government of Nigeria encourage all agencies to be coming with all manner of levies for every single thing. You want something on health and you have a levy, in security you have a levy etc. That should be the more important conversation, that there should be a concerted effort to increase the capacity of the FIRS to do the job of revenue collection.

As we speak, not up to 40 percent of taxable persons are taxed. The first thing to do is to bring all taxable people into the net and then tax them accordingly. You don’t even need to raise the tax. More than 60 percent of taxable organizations and individuals are not paying tax. That should be the focus. The first level of taxation is identity. Identify economic actors at all levels right to the remotest villages.

The capacity of the FIRS to reach tax payers across the country was not built over time but with the dwindling of oil revenue, that capacity has been increased. You are beginning to see FIRS offices in several parts of the urban areas and state capitals but more than 60 percent of Nigerian businesses are not in the urban areas or state capitals. Any country that wants to collect tax, has to go very granular. Businesses that exist in every village must be taxed and that is where the FIRS is moving slowly but steadily”, he stated.

Over 60% firms, individuals not paying tax, says LCCI president, warns against overtaxing

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FAAN begins sale of e-tags at airports

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FAAN begins sale of e-tags at airports 

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Friday commenced the sale of electronic tags (e-tags) at airports.
The initiative, it said in a statement, was in line with the presidential directive that mandating the use of e-tags for accessing the nation’s federal airports.
“Following the presidential directive that all citizens are mandated to pay for e-tags at all the 24 federal airports across the country, we wish to inform the general public that the e-tags are available for sale from Friday, 17th May, 2024 at the following locations,” FAAN said.
“Lagos: Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, Terminal 1, 5th Floor) Office of HOD Commercial. Contact: 08033713796 or 08023546030.
“Abuja: Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, HOD Commercial Office (General Aviation Terminal) Contact: 08034633527 or  08137561615.”
FAAN however said there would be an option to pay in cash at the access gates for motorists without e-tags.
On May 14, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, announced that everyone, including the President and Vice President, would pay tolls at the airports.
Keyamo said the government was losing over 82 per cent of the revenue it should have earned from the access fee.

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Your pension funds safe, won’t be accessed illegally, FG tells workers

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Your pension funds safe, won’t be accessed illegally, FG tells workers

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, says the Federal Government has no plans of illegally accessing the N20 trillion pension funds for infrastructure development.
He said noone should entertain any fear over the safety of the contributions of workers that make up the pension funds.
Edun had earlier said the spoken on a move to use the pension funds as part of the government’s efforts to bridge Nigeria’s estimated 20 million housing deficit, and provide massive housing and mortgage loans at 12 per cent interest rates, with 25-year repayment plans.
The minister’s comments had elicited serious reactions from notable groups and Nigerians, including the organised labour and a former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who advised the government to suspend the move.
Atiku said the move was potentially disastrous for retired Nigerians dependent on their pensions.
But in a statement personally issued on Thursday, Edun said the stories making the rounds that the government planned to illegally access the savings and pension contributions of workers were false.
He stated that the pension industry was guided by rules, adding that the government would be strictly guided by extant rules in accessing the pension funds of workers.
The minister stressed that government would not go outside the stipulated limitations on what the funds could be invested in.
The statement read in partu, “It has come to my notice that there are stories making the rounds that the Federal Government plans to illegally access the hard-earned savings and pension contributions of workers. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
“The pension industry, like most the financial industries, is highly regulated. There are rules. There are limitations about what pension money can be invested in and what it cannot be invested in.
“The Federal Government has no intention whatsoever to go beyond those limitations and go outside those bounds, which are there to safeguard the pensions of workers.
“What was announced to the Federal Executive Council was that there was an ongoing initiative drawing in all the major stakeholders in the long-term saving industry, those that handle funds that are available over a long period to see how, within the regulations and the laws, these funds could be used maximally to drive investment in key growth areas, including infrastructure, housing, and, of course, to find a way to provide Nigerians with affordable mortgages.
“Within this context, there is no attempt, nor is it being considered, to offer unsafe investments for pension funds or even insurance funds or any investment funds.
“No attempt whatsoever to increase the risk. No attempt whatsoever to lower the returns that would otherwise be earned.”

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