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Tinubu’s Economic Plan Addressing Current Challenges–FIRS Chairman

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. As Guinness commits to investing more in Nigeria

President Bola Tinubu has a strategic plan that is being religiously followed to lead the country out of the current economic challenges, chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue, Zacch Adedeji, has said.

Adedeji spoke on Wednesday when the Chief Executive Officer of Guinness Nigeria, Adebayo Alli, led the management team of the company on a visit to the Revenue House in Abuja.

According to a statement by Dare Adekanmbi, Special Adviser on Media to the FIRS chairman, the plan warranted the president’s directive that a conducive environment be created for businesses to flourish and grow the economy.

“The president gave a directive that he wants a single digit tax in the country, meaning that the maximum number of taxes we will have after the work of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms will be nine taxes.

“For us at FIRS, we have responded to that directive. We want to grow the pie such that even if we are taking the same percentage of the bigger pie, the result will be huge.

“By God’s grace, we will not introduce additional taxes nor increase any form of taxes. We are only determined to increase the pie.

“We have restructured our operations at FIRS in such a way that we are now effectively carrying out our duty of assessing, collecting and accounting for taxes.

“We used to have functional types of taxes, but we have identified that the only customers we have are the taxpayers. We have improved the way we relate with our customers by rearranging our operations based on our customers, using their turnover as the basis to categorise them into large, medium and small.

“We did this to actually develop expertise in what we do. Secondly, to provide you with a one-stop shop for your activities. If you are in a large tax group, you only need to go to one office to pay all forms of taxes, including audit and other activities. You don’t need to move from one office to another again.

“We are here to serve you. You taxpayers are not armed robbers or criminals that we will be chasing about. FIRS is also not a law enforcement organisation. We are partners in progress.

“You are one of the trees in our vineyard. The only thing we can do is to ensure you are well watered and pruned so you can bear good fruits for us to have plenty of harvest,” he said.

He added that President Tinubu, through the consumer credit scheme recently introduced, aimed at increasing the purchasing power of Nigerians to boost the productive capacity of companies and stimulate growth.

“In a couple of days, the consumer credit scheme will be launched and what that will do is to really set the right fundamentals most especially for the kind of products you sell.

“In an economy of our size, it will be extremely difficult if we don’t have a consumer credit scheme. People need to eat before they drink. But when they have credit to buy things, this gives them more money that they can use to come to drink and relax after work.

“More so, the president has also directed the commencement of a single window platform for your logistics at the ports. So, instead of having to pay in many places, you can now do that through the platform, most especially for companies like yours.

“You know your products before they come into the country, so you pay before they arrive as the issue of port congestion that delays the time you get your raw materials has been taken care of now.

“Another bold decision the president has also taken is the birth of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Fund. Some of the raw materials you source locally are produced in the Northern part of the country. The infrastructure deficit that we have increases the cost of moving these materials from one place to another.

“Based on the president’s holistic plan, in the next three years, we will have a very good rail and road transportation network that will make movement of goods and raw materials easy and remove most of the bottlenecks for industries,” he said.

Earlier, Guinness CEO, Alli, had pledged that the company would continue to do business in the country, notwithstanding macro-economic challenges being faced.

“We have come to know FIRS more and also tell you a little bit about who we are as a large taxpayer so you can understand our world, the value we add to Nigeria, despite the macroeconomic situation facing us,” he said.

He assured the FIRS chairman that Guinness would continue to invest in the country, just as he sought assurances from the tax authority in terms of the role it would play “in getting the economy back on the right path from the recovery point of view.”

 

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Rivers: Tensions Grow As Wike, Fubara’s Supporters Clash, Baby Hurt

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A baby was reportedly tear-gassed and became unconscious on Wednesday as supporters of the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, clashed with the loyalists of ex-governor Nyesom Wike in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

It was gathered that the clash happened during a government medical outreach in the Eliozu community, Obio/Akpor LGA.

Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that trouble started when officials of the state Ministry of Health were carrying out a medical outreach for women at the Eliozu Health Centre.

It was gathered that no sooner had the programme started than some supporters allegedly loyal to the factional Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule, arrived at the venue to find out the reason for the gathering.

The venue is said to be near the residence of Amaewhule, who is the leader of the 27 lawmakers loyal to Wike.

But supporters of the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Obio/Akpor LGA, Chijioke Ihunwo, loyal to Fubara, who were at the venue allegedly stopped them from accessing the venue, leading to a heated argument and subsequent clash.

Following the fisticuffs, stones were pelted from several directions, as the medical outreach was disrupted abruptly.

A few minutes later, a team of anti-riot policemen arrived at the scene, firing teargas to disperse the opposing groups and quell the situation from getting out of hand.

It was gathered that a child was tear-gassed during the mayhem and became unconscious.

The situation led to the relocation of the medical outreach to a state-owned medical facility at the Waterlines axis of Port Harcourt where the programme was launched.

Reacting to the incident, the Obio/Akpor CTC Chairman, Chijioke Ihunwo, accused Amaewhule, of leading policemen to disrupt the outreach.

Ihunwo stated, “This morning there was an incident at the Eliozu Health Centre where the former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule, led some security men to disrupt a programme by the Ministry of Health.

“A few minutes later, some policemen came and started beating up our women, shooting tear gas at pregnant women who were at the Health Centre.

“We want to say that Obio/Akpor Local Government Area will not be under siege. We want to call on the President, Bola Tinubu that the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of the FCT are tarnishing the image of your government.

“We are calling on you to rein them in so that Rivers State can have peace. Let the FCT Minister concentrate on his job in Abuja and leave our dear governor alone.”

When contacted, the spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident.

Iringe-Koko, in a short message to our correspondent, said the police responded to a distress call over the scenario, adding that the investigation was ongoing.

She stated, “A distress call was received from the health centre in the Eliozu community today, 24th July 2024, where supporters of two separate political factions were engaged in a fight.

“The police responded by sending operatives to the scene to restore law and order.

“The police deployed anti-riot tactics, including the use of canisters, to disperse the crowds. An investigation into the matter has been initiated.”

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Protest: Nnamdi Kanu, Diaspora Voting Make List As Organizers Unveil 15 Demands

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Organizers of the planned nationwide protest, scheduled for August 1 to August 10, have unveiled their key demands from President Bola Tinubu’s government.

The nation’s economic situation has propelled citizens, particularly the youths, to plan a mass protest nationwide.

Despite efforts by the government to quell the move, the youths are insisting on embarking on the protest in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

Former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore, who is one of the organizers of the movement, forwarded the demands to our correspondent on Wednesday.

The looming protest titled, “Days of Rage”, “EndBadGovernance” is aimed at drawing the attention of the Federal Government to the economic situation of the country.

Among other things, the intending protesters want the FG to return the fuel subsidy, address issues in the power sector, release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu from the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, and allow for diaspora voting during general elections

According to Sowore, Nigerians are asking the FG to “Scrap the 1999 constitution and replace it with a people-made Constitution for the Federal Republic of Nigeria through a sovereign National Conference followed by a National Referendum.

“Toss the Senate arm of the Nigerian legislative system. Keep the House of Representatives and make lawmaking a part-time endeavour.

“Pay Nigerian workers a minimum wage of nothing less than N250,000 monthly.

“Invest heavily in education and give Nigerian students grants not loans. Aggressively pursue free and compulsory education for children across Nigeria.

“Release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally and demilitarize the South East. All ENDSARS and political detainees must also be released and compensated.

“Rationalize public owned enterprises sold to government officials and cronies.

“Reinstate a corruption-free subsidy regime to reduce hunger, starvation and multidimensional poverty.

“Probe past and present Nigerian leaders, who have looted the treasury, recover their loot and deposit it in a special account to fund education, healthcare and infrastructure.

They are also demanding the “Restructuring of Nigeria to accommodate Nigeria’s diversity, resources control, decentralization and regional development.

“End banditry, terrorism and violent crimes. Reform security agencies to stop continuous human rights violations.

“Establishment of a special energy immediately to drive massive corruption-free power sector development.

“Immediate reconstitution of the electoral body, INEC to remove corrupt individuals and partisan hacks appointed to manipulate elections.

“Massive investment in public works and industrialization will help employ Nigeria’s teaming youths.

“Massive shake-ups in the Nigerian judiciary to remove cabals of corrupt generations of judges and judicial officers that continue denying citizens access to real justice.

“Diaspora voting”.

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday appealed to Nigerians to shelve the planned protest, urging youths to keep faith and believe in the ability of his administration to transform Nigeria.

 

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Stop Demarketing Dangote Refinery, Indigenous Companies – MAN Cautions FG

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has cautioned the Federal Government from demarketing local industries.

The Association also called for caution from major actors, government agencies, and regulators in the oil and gas sector of the economy regarding the Federal Government-Dangote Refinery saga.

MAN Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said government agencies that provide regulatory oversight functions should promote an enabling business environment for local investments to thrive.

He said no regulatory agency should cast a shadow over a homegrown investment like the Dangote Refinery.

According to him, the allegations of poor quality, and monopolistic tendencies levelled against Dangote Refinery by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) were unsubstantiated.

Ajayi-Kadir stressed that local investors in Nigeria, particularly the Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) play a vital role in driving economic growth, paying taxes, creating jobs and fostering development within the country. As such, these investors must be protected and given the necessary support to thrive in this business environment.

He said a business colossus like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, with investments in diverse sectors of the economy and across the Continent of Africa, should be accorded all needed support to grow and invest in more sectors and positively impact the well-being of the people.

 

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