The Federal Government has apologised for asking all account holders in the country’s financial institutions to register their details again.
The PUNCH reports that the FG earlier asked all account holders in banks, including insurance companies, to fill and submit a Self-Confirmation form.
The order was given despite the possession of the Bank Verification Number and the National Identification Number by account holders on Thursday.
Failure to do so, the Nigerian government threatened to block access to defaulters’ accounts or impose a monetary penalty.
The order to fill another Self-Confirmation form, despite the existing BVN and NIN, had attracted condemnations on social media.
However, in a tweet on Friday, the government apologised for misinformation.
It tweeted, “We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly.
We apologize for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly pic.twitter.com/KBiPh0lCwJ
In a press statement, the Federal Inland Revenue Service explained that only “reportable persons” are expected to submit the form.
The statement read, “This is to clarify the publication for financial institutions account holders in Nigeria to complete the self-certification form, pursuant to the Income Tax (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2019 which is for the fulfilment of Automatic Exchange of Information Requirements.
“The Self Certification form is basically to be administered on Reportable persons holding accounts in Financial institutions that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.
“Reportable persons are often non-residents. And other persons who have a residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or Country.
“Financial Institutions are expected to administer the Self Certification form on such account holders when the information at its disposal indicates that the Account holder is a person resident for tax purpose in more than one jurisdiction.
“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during the account opening processes for the KYC and AML purpose.”
Earlier, the Nigerian government said all persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of their institutions.
It had tweeted, “This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.
“Failure to comply with the requirement to administer or execute this form attracts sanctions which may include monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.” (Punch)
The godfather of Lagos politics, Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2015, led the Southwest into an alliance with the north to birth the All Progressive Alliance (APC). His decision, evidently, was informed by the expectation that the two geopolitical regions will share power, invariably to the exclusion of the Eastern bloc. And ultimately that he, or the Southwest will take power by the time the north completes two terms in 2023. But it has proved to be a miscalculation.
Certainly, power play is about conspiracies and alliances. Tinubu is well within his right to do what he thought would best advance his political interest and that of his region. However, in backing President Muhammadu Buhari, he cut his nose to spite his face.
It may not have seemed obvious to many, but once Buhari took power in 2015, Tinubu’s political career was in jeopardy.
To navigate the president without bruises, the best Tinubu could have done was retire from active politics and assume the role of an elder statesman. He did not, he stayed on, wanting to be president and pushing hard to remain at the centre of political discourse. But power is jealous and if there is any holder of the highest office in the land who would tolerate a co-president, it is not Buhari. Things are beginning to unravel, fast.
Without Tinubu and by extension, the Southwest, Buhari could not have been president today. This is one fact that president’s men who now dominate the political space and brook no opposition will hate to admit, but it remains true, regardless.
But being essentially Buhari’s kingmaker, it was political naivety to decide to hang around in the expectation that he would share power. The old Machiavellian advice is that the prince must first destroy the one who made him king. Reason? Because he could decide tomorrow to make another king.
Writing in ‘The Prince’, the legendary Niccolo Machiavelli noted “… he who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined; because that predominancy has been brought about by astuteness or else by force, and both are distrusted by him who has been raised to power.”
Of course, it should have been obvious that, in helping to make Buhari president, Tinubu wasjeopardizing his political career and plunging the Southwest and by extension, southern Nigeria into political slavery whose only parallel in the country’s political history, is the late Emeka Ojukwu leading the Igbo to war in 1967.
With respect to the Biafra war, blaming Ojukwu for embarking on it could earn one exile in the Igbo country. But if truth be told, the war was avoidable and could have been avoided if Ojukwu had not been too stiff to listen to the likes of Zik and other intellectuals who understood better, international politics and diplomacy. This is not to say, nonetheless, that Ojukwu was not sufficiently provoked by the killings of the Igbo in the north in the aftermath of the July 1966 revenge coup that threw up Yakubu Gowon as head of state, and indeed the actions – or lack of it – of the Gowon-led federal side. Regardless, it was still in his hands to accept to fight or toe the path of diplomacy which, given the circumstances, was the best option and the only way to win international support for his secession quest. In the event, he went to war and only succeeded in sacrificing more Igbo lives and weakening the Igbo politically.
The consequence of that weakening is that it provided fertile ground for the emergence of hegemonic northern power. The imbalance so created is largely responsible for the crisis of Nigeria’s national identity. One mistake many Nigerians, particularly in the south, make is the assumption that the country is already formed and settled as a circular state. It’s not the case. There is the ever present quest to define the country, right of course, from the 1804 jihad.
Colonial rule put a stop to it, then in the post war years, the middle belt soldiers who dominated the army acted as a wedge. Tinubu’s alliance with Buhari has served to reenact that quest. Buhari is now, apparently, out to define the country. The Jagaban’s political miscalculation could yet prove too costly.
The old generals who I reckon, understand this are already raising alarm. But of course, the horde of naive, ignorant online crowd of crumb eaters are blurring the resistance line.
As it concerns the 2023 presidency, it should be clear to anyone with a functioning brain that President Buhari’s north has no intention of relinquishing power to the southwest or any zone for that matter. What many may not have realised, however, is that for the next three decades at least, if ever, and should Nigeria remain one, power will not leave the north. But in projecting, one must always leave space for the law of unintended consequences and the God factor.
But given Buhari’s antecedents, was there any grounds for the southwest particularly to have given him benefit of the doubt in 2015? Absolutely none in my reckoning. However, it would appear that emotion rather than sound political calculation informed their support for Buhari in 2015. It was, perhaps, more of spite for the East than love for Buhari. I had been amazed when, in the heat of the moment in 2015, before the election, the news editor of my then media platform branded a fellow reporter who didn’t buy into the Buhari presidential project a “bloody b*stard who is following the Igbo people to betray Yoruba by supporting Jonathan.”
In the lead up to the 2019 polls, I had on several occasions engaged my landlord – a backer of Buhari’s second term project who loves to discuss politics with me – on who between Atiku Abubakar and the president would make a better leader. My insistence was, of course, that Atiku would. After we exhausted all manner of issues he raised against the former vice president, he said finally that he would still back Buhari because Atiku was an “Omo Igbo project” and that “after Buhari, Yoruba will take power and after Yoruba, Hausa will take power again.” According to him, “we will be rotating it like that, Igbo people will never smell that place.” I had more of pity for his ignorance.
When in 2003, Buhari joined presidential race, he did so, apparently to stop the then president, Olusegun Obasanjo. Not because Obasanjo had performed badly as president, having taken power with the return of democracy in 1999, but because Buhari and the section of the north he represented believed that power had to return to the region.
In settling for Obasanjo in 1998/99, the intention of the northern military class was for him to do four years as compensation for MKO Abiola – the Yoruba had become uncontrollably agitated – and hand power back to the north. But not long after Obasanjo took power, it became clear that he was never going to leave it for anybody. This realisation led to agitations, criticisms of Obasanjo government was swift in the north, the climax of which was the Sharia crisis of 2000. To take power however, the anti Obasanjo forces in the north knew that ultimately, it was about going to challenge him at the polls. Buhari emerged as the arrow head of that challenge. And through speeches and actions that appealed to regional sentiments, he built cult following that saw him win elections convincingly in the north right from 2003.
Until 2014/15, Buhari was a regional hero who believed he could become president by winning elections in the north and never thought seriously about campaigning in the south. However, in 2014/15, the Tinubu led southwest gave him an undeserved national platform, and through heavy media propaganda, dressed him in the robe of a born again democrat. But old habits die hard. Once in power, Buhari did not hesitate to take off the borrowed garb of a nationalist and democrat to put on his original robe of sectionalism. Right from his first set of appointments, he made clear his intentions. And as it stands, he has completely consolidated power in the hands of the north. Buhari is an idealogue, usually idealogues are very resolute and persistent people. Say what you will, he is doubling down on nepotism. Shout ‘Fulanisation’ or ‘Islamisation’ all you will, he will only look for a hate speech bill or social media bill to shut you up rather than re-examine his ‘hate’ policies.
Possibly, when Buhari is done with the country – if he has his way – no southerner will, on the basis of election, ever become president except at the behest of the north. By suppressing votes in the south and inflating figures in the north, the administration is only trying to establish a pattern, a dangerous pattern which supporters of his party in the south are evidently too blind to see.
It is clear to the discerning where the president is headed. But the question is whether he would succeed. I had pointed out elsewhere that the project would fail, ultimately, because Nigerians are too many to be subjugated.
It would seem, from the actions of those controlling the levers of power, that there is an attempt to precipitate a national crisis with a view to using force to take over the country. But of course, this is a country of 200 million people. The advantage those who have “legitimate” right to bear arms are enjoying at the moment would be lost if there a total breakdown of law and order. And the country would break into fractions controlled by warlords such that it would take a miracle to have it again as one, stable country for anyone to control.
THE DIRTY POLITICS OF THE YORUBAS! THEY WOULD SUPPORT THE DEMONS FOR CRUMBS OFF THEIR TABLES PURELY TO CURRY FAVOUR!
Lord Abiodun Ogunseitan Founder of the reform party of Nigeria
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Eighteen Federal Government’s revenue generating agencies failed to remit N526bn and $21bn into the Federation Account between 2010 and June 2015, an audit commissioned by the National Economic Council has revealed.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has therefore recommended that the affected agencies be made to refund the money.
Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the NEC presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
The council chaired by the Vice-President has all state governors, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and relevant ministers as members.
Dankwambo explained that the shortchanging by the agencies was detected by an audit firm, KPMG, which was contracted by the NEC to carry out a forensic audit of revenue remittances to the Federation Accounts by the NEC.
The governor listed the government agencies indicted of underpayment by the audit report to include the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Others are the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, among others.
Apart from refunding the money, Dankwambo said a sub-committee would be set up to look into the details of the infringement.
He said those found to be criminal in nature would be handed over to the Attorney General of the Federation for action.
The governor said, “KPMG presented the report of the technical audit of RGAs, concluding that a total sum of N526bn and $21 bn was underpaid to the Federation Account.
“NEC’s Ad-hoc Committee which I head with members including governors of Edo, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Lagos states and the finance minister recommended refund of the amounts underpaid.
“Council adopted the presentations and reports of the KPMG and the recommendations of its Ad-hoc Committee including a resolution to identify instances where there appears to have been criminal infringements and forward such to the Attorney General of the Federation and the Legal Committee of the National Economic Council for further action.
“Council resolved to pursue the strengthening of the NNPC’s governance structure to prevent further recurrence of such gross underpayment by the NNPC and other RGAs.”
The governor said it was resolved that the audit period is extended to June 2017.
“One of the resolutions of NEC is to extend the audit to June 2017. So the audit will continue for the remaining agencies.
“It is NNOC, NPDC, DPR, Customs, Federal Internal Revenue Services, NPA, Maritime Authorities, all the revenue generating agencies and the details of the infringement are contained in the report. It is a voluminous report; there are a lot of items that are there.
“The most important decision that was taken is that a sub-committee will be set up which will be an arm of the legal committee of NEC that will look into the details of these kinds of infringements and make sure that those issues that are criminal and require prosecution will be handled by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.”
Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said the issue of whether states should henceforth determine how much is paid as fuel subsidy and not NNPC came up at the meeting.
He, however, said a final decision on the matter would be taken at the next meeting.
He said, “We are doing the nitty-gritty with the NNPC in terms of remittances. Don’t forget that the reason we got it right in 2016 on the NNPC side was that the oil prices were too low. It was easy for everyone to get fuel into the country and then make their profit.
“So, when the price started jacking up, then marketers started adjusting back because they needed to have a template of cost recovery and how they are going to make up the difference from the pump price to the landing cost of what they are importing.
“Our problem is the volume, the quantity of consumption which is not acceptable. Working with the governors, so many decisions were taken but by next month, we are going to adopt that position either for the governors to take responsibility for the subsidy in their states based on the consumption or we look at other ways.
“For instance, if you say we paid the N800bn subsidy, you will ask who are we paying the subsidy to? And if you look at the infrastructure development and capital programme of the Federal Government, it is about N1.1trn, almost 70 percent of what you are spending on developing the economy.
“If there is no infrastructure development, then you cannot talk about the development of the economy. N800bn is a huge amount that we must look at it, who is benefiting from it.
“So, we are coming up with a strategy; we are going to meet in the months of May and June. By next meeting, we will definitely come up with a position of the government at both the level of volume of what is being brought into the country and what the state and federal governments collaborate to check.”
Adeosun reported to the council that the balance in the Excess Crude Account as of May 14, 2018, stood at $1, 830, 682, 945.30.
She also reported to Council that the current balance in the Stabilisation Account as of the same day stood at N15, 725,456,963.83.
She put the balance in the Natural Resources Development Fund at N116, 104,644,763.39.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, gave an update to council on the just-concluded Economic Recovery Growth Plan Focus Labs.
Udoma told members that the Labs identified 164 projects spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He said the outcome indicated that over 500,000 jobs were likely to be created by 2020 and that more labs would be conducted in due course for other sectors. (Punch)
…Claims revenue-generating agencies under-remitted N1.7trn in 4yrs
..NNPC operated N3.1trn deficit
From Fred Itua, Abuja
Shocking revelations emerged at the Senate, yesterday, that almost all various federal revenue-generating agencies have short-changed the Federal Government to the tune of N1.7 trillion, through under-remittance of revenues generated between 2012 and 2016. It was also discovered that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC), ran at a deficit of N3.1 trillion during the period under review. The N1,695,585,887, 406 reportedly lost by the federal government during the stated period was from N21.5 trillion generated by 93 agencies covered in the Senate investigation. These facts are contained in the report of an Ad-hoc Committee on Alleged Mis-use, Under-Remittance, and other Fraudulent Activities in Collection, Accounting, Remittance and Expenditure of Internally Generated Revenue by Revenue Generating Agencies, set up by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in November 2016. In the 32 – page report laid before the Senate, last week, a copy of which was sighted by Daily Sun, yesterday, 25, out of the 93 revenue-generating agencies covered, were alleged to have defrauded the federal government of N1.7 trillion. Specifically, the report stated that during the period under review, the Nigerian Customs Service, which generated N335.855 billion, failed to remit N83.963 billion as 25 per cent of the amount generated, in accordance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. Similarly, the the committee discovered that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) generated N455.5 billion but had under-remittance of N33.83 billion. Also included is the Nigerian Ports Authority which recorded under-remittance of N86.636 billion into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), despite generating N789.104 billion. Others are the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), N13.716 under-remittance, out of N3.098 trillion generated, NIMASA, with N184.489 billion under-remittance, out of N301.160 billion generated, Nigerian Television Authority, N5.567 billion under-remittance out of N56.817 billion generated, among others. For NNPC, the committee report stated that while the nation’s cash cow during the period under review generated N15.541 trillion, its entire expenditure during the period was N18.657 trillion, exceeding the corporation’s revenue profile by N3.115 trillion. The committee also observed that revenue-generating agencies chose to comply with a directive, via a memo dated November 11, 2011, with Ref. No. BO/RVE/12235/259/VII/201 by former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to remit only 25 per cent from the revenue generated and use the remaining 75 per cent as part of its expenditure which is a clear violation of section 1200 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and also a violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Establishment Acts of some of these institutions. The report showed that most of the revenue-generating agencies denied the Auditor General of the Federation access to their financial books and records, which, in itself, is in conflict with section 125, subsection (3) a (i and ii) of the constitution. Consequently, the committee recommended as follows: “That the Senate should amend the laws, where necessary, to make it mandatory for all revenue-generating agencies to accommodate resident auditors, to be posted by the Auditor General of the Federation, who will have access to all financial records and books, and ensure compliance with section 120 (i) of the constitution. “That the Fiscal Responsibility Act should be amended in a way to compel all agencies and institutions of government on compliance with financial regulations regarding income generation, accounting and remittances. “That the Senate should also amend the laws, where necessary, to make it mandatory for all revenue-generating agencies to accommodate resident Treasury Officers, to be posted by the Accountant General of The Federation, who will have access to all financial records and books. “That the National Assembly should direct the immediate stoppage of the implementation of the contents of Okonjo-Iweala’s memo and that agencies and institutions should adopt the new mode of remittances, as approved by the Senate. “That the Fiscal ResponsibiliTy AcT (2007) should further be amended to make all revenue-generating Agencies to pay 30 percent of their income generated monthly to the Consolidated Revenue Account before any expenditure, etc.” (The Sun)
The Federal Government said it is targeting an estimated revenue of $1 billion from the proposed Nigeria Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).
The scheme takes off on May 1 for up to six months and will offer a window for those who, before now, have not complied with extant tax regulations to remedy their positions by the provision of limited amnesty to enable voluntary declaration and payment of liabilities.
The scheme will also have incentives in place to encourage early participation. Under the scheme, taxpayers will be allowed up to three years to settle their liabilities.
The National Economic Council (NEC) approved the scheme following a briefing by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adesoun, at the meeting where she stated that the underpayment of tax via the use of tax havens and other evasion strategies, have not been helpful to Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler, who disclosed this to State House correspondents at the post-NEC briefing said the FIRS was targeting an increase in tax contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 18 per cent by 2020.
He said this will be done through a VAIDS approved by NEC on Thursday. The scheme is expected to simultaneously generate revenue and encourage investment and economic activity as only 214 individuals in the entire country pay N20 million or more in tax annually.
He said, “VAIDS scheme targets to increase the tax to GDP ratios to 18 per cent from just six per cent by 2020,” adding that the FIRS can surpass NEC’s projected 15 per cent.
The FIRS boss said only 14 million Nigerians out of 40 million eligible taxpayers currently pay tax. Fowler said a conservative revenue of $1 billion is expected to be generated from the scheme, adding that the VAIDS will embrace all federal and states’ taxes including companies income tax, personal income tax, petroleum profits tax, capital gains tax, stamp duties, tertiary education tax and technology tax.
“It is anticipated that at least 50 per cent of the funds recovered will belong to states that are the ultimate collectors of personal income taxes. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be gazetted and signed with each state government,” Fowler, who briefed alongside the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, and Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Bala Bantex, said.
According to him, under-payment of tax has been principally perpetrated by multinational companies and high net worth individuals, keeping Nigeria as a country with the lowest non-oil tax to GDP at six per cent.
“The proposed VAIDS will capitalise on the international goodwill built by President Muhammadu Buhari in his mission to rebuild Nigeria,” he said.
The scheme is also expected to capitalise on the current global movement against tax evasion and illicit financial flows and offer a window for those who have not complied with extant tax regulations to remedy their position by the provision of limited amnesty to enable voluntary declaration and payment of liabilities.
Adeosun also reported to council that the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) as at March 15, 2017 stood at $2,45,864,724.59, recording a marginal increase of $2,458,382,882.03.
The ECA balance does not reflect the decision of council last month to deduct $250 million for injection into the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).
She also briefed the council on the Stabilisation Fund Account (SFA), an account which is equivalent to 0.5 per cent of the Federation Account.
The Finance Minister informed council that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) recently approved for disbursement (N39,613,282,870.69) to a number of states, stating that the stabilisation fund now stands at N25,793,400,290.
Council also deliberated on the need to accelerate and review the extant National Forest Policy as well as ensure its backing through the enactment of relevant forest laws.
Ikpeazu said council recommended massive afforestation/reforestation of degraded forests and landscape outside forests and the establishment of take-off of the National Forestry Trust Fund through contributions by wood products exporters according to products classification (totally processed, semi-processed, charcoal), among others.
It also recommended the establishment of National Forest Model Estate in all the states and FCT, improvement in forest governance and establishment of national task force to effectively protect the forest estate/reserve as well as effective monitoring, evaluation, documentation of trade in wood and wood products.
This is as council members plan an extraordinary session to discuss security matters especially as it relates to the economy.
Bantex told newsmen that the decision to hold the session came following a briefing from the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Mongonu, on the security situation in the country with particular reference to Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east, cattle rustling, ethnic militias/security outfits, kidnapping, armed robbery, militancy in the Niger Delta and proliferation of small arms across the country. The NSA fingered unemployment as the major threat to security. The Sun