Stakeholders in the education sector have called on government at federal and state levels to increase their budgetary allocations to the field.
They also urged government at both levels to work on rebuilding trust with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The stakeholders made the call in a statement on Tuesday, signed by the Chief Executive Officer, Westerfield College, Mr Michael Dosunmu, following the school’s 2022 graduation ceremony held on Saturday in Lagos.
Dosunmu said that there was the need for Federal and State Governments to increase their education budgets and apportion proper funds to the universities.
According to him, central to all of ASUU’s demands is the issue of inadequate funding.
“There is a size of the budget that should be allocated to education, and if that is properly allocated, we will then have a situation where government begins to gain ASUU’s trust.
“The minister of education must be someone that the sector trusts.
” Also, the Principal of the college, Mr Dare Falodun, said government must embrace its duty of funding the education sector.
Falodun said: “In Germany for instance, from the early years all the way to the university level, education is free.
‘’It is not a right, but a duty of government to fund education; if universities are allowed to fund themselves, it then means that poor Nigerians will not be able to send their children to good schools.
“When you look at statistics, China has the highest number of students studying abroad.
Why do they do this?
Government funds students to schools outside of China, to learn from other countries.
‘’Once the students get that knowledge, they go back to use same to develop China.
” In his remarks, the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, urged well-meaning Nigerians to channel more investments in the sector to address the challenge of incessant strikes by ASUU.
‘’Every patriotic Nigerian interested in what is happening in the sector as regard the ongoing ASUU strike must be an advocate for education.
‘’Such Nigerian is a stakeholder in the sector and therefore, needs to double his or her investments in the sector, ’’ Olowo said.
The Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) through Deloitte, a leading professional firm, on Friday unveiled its whistle-blowing tip off channels to drive transparency, accountability and general public inclusivity in the affairs of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that whistle-blowing is the act of drawing public attention, or the attention of an authority figure, to perceived wrongdoing and unethical activity within public, private or third sector organisations.
NAN also reports that the whistle-blowing service provides multilingual, multiple reporting channels such as toll-free hotlines, web portal, email and a mobile application.
Mr Ayodele Subair, the Executive Chairman, LIRS, at the launch of the “Deloitte Tip-Off Anonymous for LIRS” on Friday in Lagos, said the LIRS was chosen for the pilot phase due to its multi-faceted interface with the general public.
The launch, Subair said, asides from seeking to enlighten and sensitise the tax-paying public on the initiative was hinged on the commitment of the agency and the government to ensuring high ethical standards in all its business processes.
He said the LIRS, with the state ministry of finance, having an oversight function, subscribed to the Deloitte Anonymous and Confidental Whistle-Blowing Facility.
Subair said that the facility would promote an enabling climate for employees and other relevant stakeholders to report wrongdoings, illegal actions or financial crimes noticed and or observed in the LIRS administrative and operational activities.
This, he said, would be done without fear of backlash as it would assist in evaluating and improving existing system and assess key practices necessary to create an effective speak-up culture.
Subair said Deloitte’s engagement as independent assessor was to ensure an objective and unbiased review of issues raised.
“This whistleblowing facllity would involve the reporting of acts of commission or omission that border on unethical conduct of employees, management, and other stakeholders by an employee or other interested person(s) through designated channels to appropriate authorities.
“The aim of this policy is to encourage employees and other stakeholders who have serious concerns about any aspect of the agency’s operations to come forward and voice those concerns.
“The facility is designed to ensure that concerns about wrongdoing or malpractice within the agency can be raised by any stakeholder without fear of victimisation, subsequent discrimination, disadvantage of dismissal.
“This facility does not only provide the avenue to report, but ensures credibility of reports through investigation, feedback to the whistle-blower and ensures protection for such whistle-blower from possible reprisals or victimisation for all disclosures made in good faith,” he said.
Subair added that all concerns would be treated in confidence with efforts toward concealing the identity of the whistle-blower with anonymous reports considered for seriousness, credibility and possibility of confirmation from other sources.
He, however, said anonymity would make it much more difficult to protect the position of the whistle-blower or to give feedback.
“The whistle blowing framework is a two-way affair aiming to expose LIRS staff involved with misconduct, employees of business entities who want to report employers who circumvent tax laws.
“It also helps members of the public who want to raise an alarm on persons or entities who wilfully commit financial crimes leading to revenue loss for the state.
“It is noteworthy to mention that all reports must be made in good faith as allegations made frivolously, maliciously or for personal gain would attract appropriate sanctions.
“We are hopeful that all our stakeholders will join us on this journey of purposeful engagements toward achievement of high standards of ethical conduct in the public service space inclusive of dealings with and within LIRS,” he said.
Dr Rabiu Olowo, Lagos Commissioner for Finance, said the state government through the ministry approved the facility to provide channel of reporting by stakeholders, employees and the general public.
Olowo noted that research showed that every minute, in the workplace, wrongdoing was observed daily but people were left with very few choices, leading to the decision to remain silent, concluding that nothing could be done.
He said the initiative would remind people of their civic responsibility to report wrongdoing in workplace or in doing business with the government.
He added that the scheme would create a culture of accountability, raising the awareness of stakeholders on the responsibility of speaking up to foster a sound and effective corporate governance system.
“Without reporting it, there is nothing we can do, so launching this initiative today presents a channel that can be trusted and the least we can do is to discharge them of any reprisal.
“The LIRS was chosen for the pilot scheme because it represents a framework cuts across and interacts with almost all Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“LIRS has over the years increased the state revenue with its present monthly average at N42 billion and reporting any misdemeanor that is not in line with the ethics of the government can shore up revenue,” he said.
Mr Samuel Egube, Commissioner, Economic Planning and Budget, Lagos, said citizens’ participation in governance via the whistleblower initiative opens up the state to accountability, transparency.
“Citizens’ improved participation through channels like this would stimulate trust and lead to all round growth and development,” he said.
Mr Beulah Adeoye, Partner, Deloitte, said the initiative was a whistle-blowing facility that affords callers the opportunity to raise concerns regarding wrongdoing, fraud or unethical behaviour within the workplace and report it to an independent party.
He listed attitudes depicting fraud to include; asset misappropriation, corruption, embezzlement, forgery, insider trading, maltreatment, money laundering, rebellion, nepotism, threat, and violent behaviour.
Others are dishonesty, bullying, bribery, harassment, expense claim abuse, kickback, stealing, under-invoicing misuse of authority, bribery and over invoicing.
He stated that key notes in making a report taking precautions, no malicious calls, provision of all available information.
“However, a report is not an evidence.
“The charge is when you see something, you say something and when you say something, you must be protected from the backlash that comes from it to foster a more ethical culture in our workplaces,” he said.
The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has commended Airtel on the launch of its SmartCash Payment Service Bank (PSB) targeted at closing the financial inclusion gap in the rural areas.
Osinbajo commended the telco on Thursday during the launch of Airtel SmartCash PSB at Victoria Island, Lagos.
Osinbajo, who was represented by Maryam Uwais, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investments, said that the launch of the SmartCash PSB, a subsidiary of Airtel Africa could not have come at a better time.
He said that Nigeria’s fintech industry had continued to visibly demonstrate progress, innovation and creativity of outstanding minds, rapidly becoming a model for other nations.
The vice-president said, “I am delighted to join the telco in the celebration of a collective aim to take advantage of the fast evolving developments in financial technology space towards catalysing empowerment and economic growth.”
Osinbajo said that the innovation would ensure that no Nigerian was left behind, particularly those in underserved areas.
“I am here to applaud a commendable leap, which is aimed at exploring vast opportunities and possibilities in the digital age for the benefit of the majority of our fellow citizens.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has also remained committed to ensuring that all citizens have access to the financial services and credit facilities, across every nook and crannies of the country,” he said.
Similarly, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who also commended the telco, said that the SmartCash PSB would further deepen efforts in the area of financial inclusion.
Sanwo-Olu , who was represented by Mr Rabiu Olowo, the Commissioner for Finance, said that the PSB license which was approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was targeted solely for those in remote areas, the underbanked and many Nigerians who reside in Lagos.
”I am sure that we would not be surprised that countless Nigerians do not have a bank account because they believe that banks are too far or for the rich and educated.
“Some others believe that the little they make is not sufficient enough to save in the bank.
“I, therefore, commend the CBN for coming up with this initiative that is providing a platform that caters to the financial needs of the underserved and underbanked population in Nigeria,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that the structure that had been put in place by Airtel was one that was simple, cost effective and would absolutely be impactful in bridging financial divide.
The governor said he had no doubt that Airtel would live up to the expectations of regulators and ordinary Nigerians who would see the innovation as a life changing one.
The Managing Director of Airtel Africa, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, said the innovation of the Airtel SmartCash was their contribution to reduce the financial gap in the country.
“The aim of the innovation is also to bring millions of people in the rural and urban area into the financial community by transforming their lives.
“The SmartCash is cost effective and your money is safe with us, there would be no issue of hackers.
“The launch of the innovation is a confirmation of our commitment to touching lives,” he said.
Ogunsanya said that the telco also planned to bring out 55 per cent of underbanked people into the financial system.
He said that the telco would work with the CBN to ensure that no Nigerian was left out of the financial system.
Also, the Managing Director of Airtel SmartCash PSB, Mr Muyiwa Ebitanmi, said that their goal was to deepen financial inclusion by removing barriers and improving accessibility in the rural areas in Nigeria.
“Today is indeed a special day that will mark the transformation of financial services,” he said.
The Chartered Institute of bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) on Saturday inaugurated Mr Ken Opara as the 22nd of Council to manage its affairs from 2022 to 2024.
Opara promised to transform and move the institute to greater heights, and that he would ensure the institute’s primary business shaped the future of financial intermediation.
Opara, who was sworn in by Justice A. Olateru-Olagbegi, at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, unveiled his strategic tagged, “FUTURE.”
He said the institute would focus on six key strategic pillars: Financial innovation and transformation, Dealing with industry Uncertainties, Trade and finance collaboration.
Others are: Unveiling pathways for membership growth, Reengineering and Rebranding the industry’s business model around Gen Z and Ethical conduct and governance.
Opara noted that with globalisation, the future was largely defined by technology, innovation, efficiency, functional optimisation and fast changing lifestyle.
He stressed that the youthful segment of the society was more characterised by these changes, adding that there was the need to drive initiatives that would attract them.
“Nigeria has one of the highest youth populations in the world out of which 62.26 per cent are within the age of 24 years or younger.
“This demography is aspirational, inquisitive, exploring, innovative, internet-savvy, outspoken, confident, cherishes independence, abhors rigidity as opposed to flexibility, spontaneous and they engage in self-love and expression.
“It becomes, therefore, imperative that practitioners should wake up to the smell of this coffee and weave strategy, operations and practice around the youth,” he said.
Opara further said while concerns around safety, control, stability and processes were quite germane, ignoring the existence of this phenomenon whose time had come would be at the peril of any operator.
The CIBN president pledged that CIBN under his administration would play a pivotal role between the practitioners and the regulators while ensuring adherence to sound corporate governance and ethical behaviour.
The newly inaugurated chairman also assured that he would complete and commission the remaining key projects of his predecessor, adding that he would be doing additional legacy projects.
The institute’s immediate past president, Dr Bayo Olugbemi, thanked the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, and other stakeholders for the support given him during his tenure.
“Today, as I pass on the baton to Dr Ken Opara, whom I have known for many years as a seasoned banking professional, I am absolutely convinced that he would take the institute to greater heights.
“We are now in a new era characterised by digital transformation and other technological advancements post covid.
“As we progress in this new era, I believe that Dr Opara and his team would expertly navigate this new terrain finding more ingenious ways to add value,” Olugbemi said.
Other newly elected officers are: Pius Olanrewaju, 1st Vice President; Oladele Alabi, 2nd Vice President and Mojisola Bakare-Asieru, National Treasurer.
Others in the Governing Council are: Victor Aguwah, Olayinka Odutola, Mary Aina and Segun Oshadare.
A consolidated tax of N800 for the informal transport sector was presented and signed by the Lagos state government and transport stakeholders on Tuesday.
Speaking at the ticket signing and presentation ceremony in Ikeja, Fice Commissioner Dr. Rabiu Olowo said that the harmonized tax was necessary.
Olowo said harmonization was necessary so as not to burden carriers with exorbitant levies.
He said that the state government carried out a survey six months ago, therefore he realized that an average carrier was paying N3,000 per day as levies.
According to him, most of the money paid by transporters is lost in the hands of unknown agents, hence the need to regulate taxes and clean up the informal transport sector.Lagos Danfo buses
Olowo said the consolidated N800 tax, which would take effect from February 1, was a gradual approach to ensure reform of the transport sector.
He added that the reform would help obtain a comprehensive database of carriers for better planning.
Olowo said that the consolidated tax was an agreement between the state government, local government, road transport union bodies (National Union of Road Transport Workers - NUTRW and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria - RTEAN ) and other parts in the MDAs.
Also read: Lagos shipper moves to monitor cargo defense fund
The commissioner said the benefits of the consolidated levy included a harmonized collection process structure, reduction of multiple taxes, fees and levies from state and local governments.
He said the harmonized tax would eradicate harassment of bus drivers and ensure collaborative commitments between stakeholders.
In his remarks, NURTW President Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya said that NURTW and RTEAN agreed on policies that would ensure the development of Lagos State.
Akinsanya, however, said the N800 consolidated rate would not deprive the union of collecting its normal statutory rate.Keep reading
The Lagos state government signed on Monday the issuance of a N137.3 billion bond, aimed at executing key infrastructure projects in the state.
Speaking during the signing ceremony in Ikeja, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that the conclusion of the process led to N377.715 billion, the total value of the bonds issued by the issuance program of Lagos state debt for N500 billion.
Sanwo-Olu said that this is also the third time that a sub-national would issue a long-term (10-year) Bond, in the Nigerian domestic debt capital markets, after the initial issuance of a 10-year instrument in 2017.
He said that to properly initiate the financing of the projects, the state government formally began the issuance process in April 2021.
According to him, in the last eight months, and with the unwavering support of the transaction advisers, the government has been able to achieve this commendable feat, which for some observers seemed impossible.
”We are gathered here for the signing of the necessary documents and the Exchange Commission (SEC), to finalize the issuance of N137.3 billion, 13% 2021/2031 Issuance of series IV bonds of fixed rate government bonds from Lagos, under the N500 Billion Fourth Debt Issuance Program.
”We set out to raise up to N125 billion and closed the Book Build with offers totaling N137.3 billion.
”This strong response from the investment community - to our administration's first-time bond issue - is humbling and indeed a testament to investors' continued confidence in the state's ability to meet its demands. infrastructure development and socio-economic objectives; and to meet reimbursement obligations.
"Despite the significantly overwritten book and the active participation of a wide range of institutional investors, including banks, pension fund managers, asset managers, and corporations, Lagos State has maintained its discipline on size and pricing." , He said.LR: Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde; President, Committee of the Assembly of the House of Lagos on Fice, Hon. Rotimi Olowo; The deputy governor of Lagos, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Chapel Hill Denham Managing Director, Ms. Kemi Awodein; The Commissioner of Fice, Dr. Rabiu Olowo and the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, during the signing of the Lagos State Bond Issuance program in the Banquet Hall, Casa de Lagos, Alausa, Ikeja, the Monday, December 20, 2021
The governor said that in accordance with the state's vision to build a Great Lakes, proceeds from the Bond would be used to fund key infrastructure projects, primarily in roads and healthcare.
He said these projects included the Lekki Regional Highway, the Ijeododo Highway rehabilitation and the rehabilitation of the alternative route to Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza.
Sanwo-Olu said that these projects would contribute to a better quality of life for people, while creating a more conducive environment for business and economic activities.
“There is no doubt, and we have seen it in previous interventions, that the social and economic multiplier effects will more than justify the cost of the investment.
”We applaud the Federal Ministry of Fice, PENCOM and the Nigerian Debt Management Office for their support and collaboration. Our thanks also go to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
”We are equally grateful to the investment community for their sustained support of Lagos State and our efforts to improve the social and economic well-being of all Lagos residents. We do not take your enthusiastic response to our bonus offer for granted.
"We will continue to uphold our commitment to remain the most responsible issuer in the Nigerian capital market," he said.
Earlier, Fice Commissioner Dr. Rabiu Olowo said that the 10-year bond from 2021 to 2031, at an interest rate of 13 percent, would avoid waste to the state government.
On behalf of the investment communities, Chapel Hill Denham Advisory CEO, Ms. Kemi Awodein, thanked the state government for trusting them to manage key projects in the state for the benefit of the more than 21 million residents of Lagos.
By Obike Ukoh, News Agency of Nigeria
When President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Board of Directors of the Income Mobilization, Allocation and Taxation Commission (RMAFC) on June 27, 2020, he called on members to be fair and equitable to all levels of government. government.
He warned them not to compromise the constitutional mandate of the Commission for any reason.
The RMAFC was created by law to monitor the accumulation and disbursement of income from the federation account.
The Commission must also review, from time to time, the current income allocation formula and principles to ensure that they are in line with changing realities.
The Commission is also supposed to advise federal, state and local governments on tax efficiency and the methods by which their revenues should be increased, among other things.
Chief Elias Mbam, its chairman, who spoke to State House correspondents after the inauguration, said the Commission would work to increase revenues shared by federal, state and local governments.
He said the President had insisted on tasking the Commission with fulfilling its mandate, adding that he would work in this direction.
“We need to increase the sources of revenue for the federation account; in other words, we will focus more of our efforts on how to increase the size of the pie to be allotted to the three levels of government, instead of struggling to share a shrinking pie.
“Thus, the Commission will be part of the federal government's diversification program with a view to finding other sources of income that will increase the resources of the federation account.
“One of our responsibilities is to review the income distribution formula and I say that we will fulfill our mandate.
“The problem is not just adding and subtracting; it arises from a process; everything you get is derived from a process; more responsibilities, more money, '' Mbam said.
It is to ensure a transparent process that the Commission recently launched a two-day public hearing on the review of the revenue allocation formula, in each of the six geopolitical zones.
Feedback from the public hearings indicated a strong desire to review the current revenue sharing formula. It is a universal song whose status should change.
The state consensus is a reversal of the current sharing formula: federal government 52.68%, states 26.72%, local governments 20.60%, with 13% of bypass revenue going to producing states. oil.
Mbam on the Lagos site for the South West, reiterated that the revised revenue allocation was not intended to change the country's fiscal arrangement.
“Whether we delegate powers or move into a full system of federalism or restructure, that is not the concern of this review.
“The review of revenue mobilization and allocation is a product of law and a law provided for in the 1999 Constitution as amended,” he said.
The RMAFC boss explained that the height of responsibility of one of the three levels of government would determine what he got.
He said: “If it is confirmed that the federal government has a high responsibility, it will get the equivalent of that responsibility as an allowance.
“If it is the local government that has more responsibilities, it will be done in the same way. Our position is that the more responsible a level, the more money it makes. ''
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who spoke at the South West public hearing, said the recovery would allow states to meet their growing responsibilities.
The governor said the current formula for sharing revenue between levels of government, which became operational about 29 years ago, was long overdue to be changed.
“Nigerian fiscal federalism should be adjusted to develop more spending responsibilities with appropriate allocation of revenues to lower levels of government.
“For the federal government to focus on issues of national interest like security and defense, among others.
“The Lagos State government has proposed a revenue distribution formula: Federal Government: 34%, States 42%, Local Government Councils, 23% and Lagos State (special status, 1%).
“The solution is to diversify and strengthen the tax base of the state government.
“The need to overturn the centuries-old fiscal domination of the federal government in order to re-establish a true federal system is strongly recommended. "
The governor stressed that there was a need for effective tax laws that would provide a framework for beneficial and dynamic intergovernmental fiscal relations.
“This will help nurture strong, transparent, efficient and independent tax institutions which will also help nurture strong, transparent, efficient and independent tax institutions.
"This will further ensure accountability and proactively address emerging fiscal challenges in the public sector," said the governor.
RMAFC Federal Commissioner Dr Adekunle Wright, who also spoke, promised the Commission would do a good job.
“As far as we know, Lagos per square meter is Nigeria's smallest, but the highest number of people per square meter, all of which we take into account and take into account.
“The income generated by Nigeria belongs to the Nigerians, the income that can be generated in Nigeria belongs to everyone, so all of these things have been taken into consideration to ensure fairness. "
Dr Rabiu Olowo, Lagos State Commissioner for Fice, stressed that the state should get more of the federal allowance.
“It is very important that the federal government revise the income distribution formula for Lagos State due to the high rate of daily population influx into the State.
“Lagos State is the smallest in the country, but is home to 10% of the entire population.
“Due to the daily influx, federal support is needed. The state also assumes a large number of federal responsibilities.
“Therefore, in line with current realities, it is very important that the federal government review the income distribution formula.
He said: “There is an aligned position of all stakeholders that the income distribution formula should be reviewed in support of state and local government.
“It's because they are the government closest to the people. "
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers who spoke at the South-South public hearing held in Port Harcourt aligned with his Lagos State counterpart.
He said that "the current income allocation formula, a result of the military decree as far back as 1992, has passed 22 years of democratic dispensation, obviously could not meet the current realities of the nation."
He noted that the federal government was overloaded and overburdened and could not effectively put in place a federal system as envisioned.
“It is only fair that the federal government reduce its charges and that allocations to the federal government be reduced.
“In this way, most of the responsibilities that belong to the federal government will now be taken away and given to the states,” he said.
He noted that the 1992 population figure, public school enrollments, public hospital beds, land mass were used as the formula for income allocation.
The governor called for a more equitable formula that would take into account the current number of the population, the enrollments in private schools and the number of places in private hospitals.
Participants in the Southeast Public Hearing held in Owerri also called for greater allocation of revenues to states.
Governor Hope Uzodimma d'Imo reiterated that the current income allocation formula which was last revised in 1992 was obsolete, given the realities of the economy and the developments following the last review.
For his part, Commissioner Ebonyi of Fice, Mr. Orlando Nweze, deplored the imbalance in the country's income-sharing formula.
Nweze said the revenue allocation should be revised to 40% for the federal government, 35% for state governments and 25% for local government areas.
Mbam, during this event, also reiterated that several socio-economic and political changes since the last review informed the decision of the Commission for this review.
“To ensure wide coverage of the participation, the committee invited stakeholders in print and electronic media to submit notes on the revision of the income distribution formula.
As the turmoil continues over how to get a big chunk of the “national pie”, especially from the states, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has a tip for governors: “Think outside the box”.
Osinbajo stressed that states should think outside the box to develop their economies and increase their internally generated income.
He said CEOs should focus their investments in areas where they have comparative advantages rather than waiting for monthly installments from the Federation account.
He recently gave advice to Ado-Ekiti at the first Ekiti Economic and Investment Summit, labeled: "Fountain Summit 2021". This was part of the activities marking the third anniversary of the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi.
He said states should increase their gross domestic product (GDP) as an independent country.
The Vice President said: “The attractiveness of investments for any state should be drastic, as it is the hub of income and it determines how happy the people of any state will be in terms of economic development in relation to their standard of living.
“But, while trying to grow investments, we have to be careful about multiple taxation; it weighs on businesses. ''
Recounting how Lagos State developed its economy between 1999 and 2007, Osinbajo said: “During my tenure as Commissioner in Lagos State, we started with 600 million naira of internally generated income per month. in 1999.
“The seizure of Lagos State funds by former President Olusegun Obasanjo made us think like a sovereign state. Today, Lagos State earns more than 45 billion naira per month.
“The surest route is to deepen investments in areas where states have a comparative advantage.
"We should also make good investments in technology to develop the knowledge economy, which is education."
While waiting for the new revenue-sharing formula, those calling for a change in the status quo should remember, as the RMAFC pointed out, that the exercise is not meant to change the country's tax arrangement. They should also think outside the box to "bake their own cake, according to the vice president's advice." (Characteristics)
By Florence Onuegbu
The Lagos State Government on Thursday said it realised an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N127 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
The Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, made this known in Ikeja, during the 2021 Ministerial Press Briefing in Commemoration of the Second Year in Office of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Olowo said the state was able to achieve the feat in spite the biting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic because it was proactive in preventing and blocking leakages.
”Our revenue trajectory and trend shows that Lagos is very different from others. Few years ago, our monthly IGR was about N800 million, but 15 to 20 years later, we are talking about billions.
”This is not accidental, but as a result of well thought out strategy, partnerships and collaborations with institutions and investments in technology.
”No institution or organisation is immune to economic sabotage and leakages, but we are proactive enough to predict such sharp practices and minimise them.
”We are also leveraging on technology to predict and prevent fraud by digitalising our processes,” he said.
The commissioner said the state’s debt sustainability ratio presently stood at 17.8 per cent, even when regulators said the ratio should be 30 per cent and 40 per cent.
According to him, the sustainability ratio means that the state pays back its loans as and when due.
”Debt is very good, especially for a mega city status that Lagos wants to enjoy. The most important thing is debt management and one of the most respected metrics to measure debt management is the debt sustainability ratio.
”This is to say how much debt do you have and how it compares with the revenue potential, your ability to pay. That is the most important thing for everyone to consider.
“Lagos’ debt sustainability ratio is currently at 17.8 per cent. This tells a lot about our ability to own and manage debts effectively.
”As our revenue grows and we pay our debts, we will continue to take more loans so far they are used to provide capital projects that will ensure the economic success of the people, now and in the future,” he said.
Olowo said the government, through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSTF), had helped over 9,000 businesses in the last 18 months, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19 and #EndSARS protest. (NAN)(NAN)
By Olayinka Olawale / Florence Onuegbu
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said on Thursday that the state is expected to generate $ 10 billion in the agricultural sector over the next five years.
Sanwo-Olu said this during the official launch of the Five-Year Agriculture and Food Systems Roadmap in Lagos.
He said most investments should be driven by the private sector with the necessary infrastructure provided by the government.
The projection is that the total investment in agriculture from government, private sector, donor agencies and development partners will amount to more than $ 10 billion over the next five years.
“The objective of the five-year roadmap is to develop agricultural value chains where Lagos State has competitive and comparative advantages.
“This will help increase the state's self-sufficiency in food production from 18 to 40 percent and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Lagos State.
“The roadmap is therefore the most appropriate tool to unleash the capacity to produce the agricultural products most consumed in the state and to accelerate the creation of farms and agribusiness,” said Sanwo-Olu.
He said the state could no longer afford to rely exclusively on other states for its food, stressing that it was time for the state to unleash its immeasurable agricultural potential.
The governor said the road map would also lead to wealth creation, value creation, food security, industrialization of the agricultural sector and the entrenchment of inclusive socio-economic development of the country. 'State.
According to him, the roadmap mainly focuses on three pillars which are the growth of the upstream sector, the growth of the middle and downstream sectors, as well as the improvement of the participation of the private sector.
“Our sustainable agricultural development strategies will focus on three pillars which include the growth of the upstream sector through interventions by leveraging technologies capable of reducing the cost of production of agriculture with the support of donors.
“We will also focus on growing middle and downstream sectors that involve processing, handling, storage, cold chain, packaging, use and marketing.
“The government will also help the private sector with business-friendly credit,” he said.
The governor revealed that the state has already started overhauling its Farmland Holding Authority, to support investment.
He added that the coconut belt would also be strengthened through increased involvement of the private sector.
Sanwo-Olu said that some of the historic investments that would help the roadmap execute well included the National Center of Aquatic Excellence (LACE).
He said LACE would increase fish production from 20 percent to 80 percent.
Others, he said, included the Imota Rice Mill, Lagos Avia Food Production Center, Igborosu-Badagry, as well as other statewide agriculture-focused initiatives. .
“I am excited about the wealth we will generate from our fertile lands and coastal resources.
“The next five years will be productive, competitive and transformational as Lagos State implements its agricultural roadmap.
“We are on our way to becoming the agricultural powerhouse of the country, and I invite you to join us in making history.
“I am very encouraged by the interest already aroused by the five-year agricultural roadmap and I hope that it will be supported and supported by concrete actions on the part of our development partners and the international community.
“I assure you that the Lagos State government is putting in place deliberate incentives to make your investment safe, secure and profitable,” he said.
Previously, State Agriculture Commissioner Abisola Olusanya said the roadmap was a brain-child of the Agriculture Stakeholder Summit held at the start of the Sanwo-Olu administration.
Olusanya said partnerships with the private sector would go a long way in bringing the roadmap to fruition.
She said investing in transforming agriculture into agro-industry was a way to realize the dream of achieving self-sufficiency in food production.
“With thousands of hours spent by statisticians, agricultural experts, investment bankers and practitioners, this strategic document has been implemented to help pave the way towards sufficient food in Lagos.
“I dream of a socially inclusive Lagos; where the informal sector turns into data-driven clusters and then contributes to the development of this great state, ”she said.
Finance Commissioner Dr Rabiu Olowo said agriculture currently generates less than 2 percent of the state's gross domestic product.
He added that establishing the roadmap would lead to more investment and create wealth.
Olowo therefore urged all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to work together to ensure the success of the roadmap. (NOPE)(NAN)
The Lagos State House of Assembly says a bill that will make operators of lottery, pools and betting in the state to pay N20 million as licence fees to the state government is underway.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, made this known at a public hearing on the bill in Lagos on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the bill was entitled; “Lagos State Lotteries And Gaming Authority Bill Arrangement of Sections”.
Obasa, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun, explained that the new bill, when it becomes law, would consolidate all the laws in the sector.
“The new bill will also repeal existing laws such as the Lagos State Lotteries (Amendment) Law 2008, the Lagos State Lotteries Law (2004), and the Casino and Gaming Regulatory Authority Law (2007).
“Others are Casino and Gaming Regulations (2007), Pools Betting Control Law (2003) and Pools Betting Tax Law (2003).
“In addition, before a license is granted to an operator, the authority shall be satisfied that the applicant is a registered company in Nigeria with a minimum share capital of N20 million or as may be directed by the authority.
“The bill also specified that the local content shareholder shall abide by the regulations, policies, terms and conditions issued by the authority,” he said.
Obasa said a sound legislature must be the aggregate of the common interest of the majority, and that it must perceive the interest of the people and aggregate it.
The speaker said to achieve the essence of democracy, the legislature must be in tune with the people.
He said this underscores the essence of public hearing as the worldwide gaming was worth $200 billion, saying several Nigerians are now involved in games and sports bettings.
Obasa said the addictive nature calls for caution, hence the need for an amendment of the 2008 lottery law as the bulk of the game were done on mobile gadgets.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, said that a lot had changed in the Nigerian gaming sector in the last 10 years and most of the people involved were youths.
“The future of gaming in Nigeria is bright. The regulations are very robust. So the bill addresses cyber security and addresses the concerns of many people. I want to urge all stakeholders to take it serious,” he said.
The Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Mr Rotimi Olowo, said in an interview that he was moved by the response of the stakeholders and the operators that attended the hearing.
Olowo, representing Shomolu Constituency I, added that the bill was meant to consolidate, gaming and virtual lottery in the state.
“We have different licences for individual products in the sector. The people have ventilated their opinions and we will work on them.
“The law is not meant for the operators alone, it is also meant for the regulators, we will look into all the areas.
“They are talking about service charge of three per cent, and they say it is small, but the sector is huge. We are not talking about digging into their data, but they should give us correct data,” he said.
The lawmaker said that the bill would help the state to gather enough money that would be used in the health sector, environment and even sports sector.
Olowo said that the money was not coming into the consolidated fund of the state, adding that it was meant to take care of the welfare of the citizenry.
The lawmaker explained that the bill had 109 sections with three regulations.
“It has about 109 sections and each of the sections is not talking about the same thing; some talk about lottery, gaming and others.
“We want to have all the laws in one place, so we will look at their positions and work on it.
“The issue of N20 million will be looked into by the regulators. We will look at the socio-economic reality and allow sanity into that sector.
“Some funny guys who are into yahoo come into the business, and some of them are involved in money laundering. Many Nigerians want to come into the sector, but they don’t have the wherewithal.
“So, we will not protect foreigners to the detriment of Nigerians. We can reduce the percentage, not that somebody who has the money will just come into it and we will allow Nigerians to suffer,” he said.
Olowo said that the state would be going into virtual gaming and that this has a lot of potentials for the people of Lagos.
He said that they would make sure that this did not deter investors or discourage residents of the state.
One of the stakeholders, Mr Adebagun Nojeem, from Lagos Pool Promoters, requested that the stakeholders in the gaming sector should be involved in the state’s Lottery Board.
He also suggested that the issue of N20 million share capital should be looked into.
“The issue of N20 million share capital should be looked into. It would have retroactive effect on the companies that have been registered.
“Pool is a game of the senior citizens. With the new capital base, we may go under.
“The 10 per cent charges on sales should be reduced to about 2.5 per cent. Penalty of N2.5 million should be reduced to N1 million or N500,000 and the issue of imprisonment should be removed,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Tokunbo Akande from the Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), said licensing fees or royalties should be used in the bill instead of taxes and that there should be rooms for dispute resolutions in the bill.
On his part, Mr Niyi Adekunle from Grand Lotto, said that the first licence fee for lottery was issued in 2008 for N200 million, which he said was a huge amount.
Adekunle noted that a lot of people that applied for licences had passed away, and that the licence should be changed to reflect the universal license.
“A lot of people are restricted to just one form of lottery. The Lottery Board should be focused on the spending of lottery. People might do lottery not just for winning, but for some other activities.
“For instance, we could say the money spent on buying lottery ticket is for research on COVID-19,” he said.
Mr Chima Onwuka from the Nigerian Licences Lottery Operators said the taxation and levies imposed were becoming multiple, and called for the elimination of multiple taxation.
He said that the investors and operators were in the business to make money.
Also, Mr Clement Okoli from Betway Nigeria, advised that the House committee to relate with the regulators and operators for inputs before the bill is passed into law.
Emmanuel said in sports betting, almost every product was licensed separately, and the one licence should cover the whole business.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale/Ojetimi (NAN)