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Kogi Overhauls Revenue System, to Begin TSA

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  • Kogi Overhauls Revenue System, to Begin TSA

With recommendations for adoption of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the establishment of a legally sound and operationally efficient post-autonomy process for the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR), Kogi State is set to rejig its revenue system.

The move, which is part of efforts to fight corruption and wastes in public finance management, has already received commendations from the state government as the Adhoc Committee on Fiscal Responsibility submitted its report.

In recent times, the need to engage professional accountants and financial experts in charting a sustainable path in states’ revenue drive, management and plugging of loopholes against corruption has been canvassed at various levels.

A nine-member committee, led by a professor of Public Sector Accounting at Kogi State University, Steven Ocheni, while delivering the report to the state governor, said the members had painstakingly sourced and collated vital information, which led to the various recommendations in the report.
Other members of the Committee are Asiwaju Idris Ashiru, Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development; Oloruntoba Kehinde, Commissioner for Budget and Planning; Momoh Jibrin , State Accountant-General; and Okala Yakubu, State Auditor-General.

The committee still included Alhaji Ahmed Ododo, Auditor-General for Local Government; Alhaji Bako Mohammed, Ag. Permanent Secretary (Administration), Secretary to the State Government’s Office; Mallam Sairu Mohammed, Ag. Permanent Secretary (Establishment), Office of the Head of Service; and Alhaji Yakubu Oseni, Chairman, Kogi State Board of Internal Revenue.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, while receiving the report, said it was meant to reposition the state’s fiscal policies, enthrone transparency and fight corruption, as the terms of reference include the establishment of a legally sound and operationally efficient TSA; efficient Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS); and autonomous revenue board.

He assured that the sound operational guidelines for prudent management of the state’s revenue and financial discipline with a view to total elimination of wastages, drastic reduction in outgoings and rapid increase in revenue generation during this administration and beyond would be implemented.

Already, the committee has recommended for adoption the approach and methodology of Lagos State Pension Commission.To arrive at this, Ocheni said that the committee constituted three sub-committees, which had interactions with the representatives of Kogi State Pension office, representatives of Pension Commission and Pension Fund Administrators.

Again, it engaged the Organised Labour Union and other stakeholders in a Town-Hall meeting to interact on the implementation of the scheme.“We recommend Kogi State Pensions Commission for both the state and Local government pensioners, adopting the administrative set up of the Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) for convenience and cost effectiveness,” he said.

He however, said the success of the scheme requires a huge investment in ICT to enable state and Local government pensioners’ records to be fully automated and a database maintained for constant update.

Corroborating the need for investment in technology to achieve success in the new drive, the Secretary to the Kogi State Government, Mrs. Ayoade Arike, noted that the implementation of TSA would be be a major issue as it is about online communication.
“I noticed that the internet level in Kogi State is not superb. We need a strong internet facility to aid the TSA,’’ she said.The committee suggested an execution of an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) from the state to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for deduction of pension contributions at source.

“Technocrats experienced in pension and financial matters be appointed to man the State Pension Commission. The state government should establish a Pension Transition Agency to service the Old Pension Liabilities with a reasonable monthly allocation to be determined by the Actuary, sufficient enough to defray the outstanding pension liabilities in five years,’’ he said.

As part of the repositioning, there is need for a new bill for a legal backing for the autonomy of the Board of Internal Revenue Service to be passed by Kogi State House of Assembly.

For effective performance, the state Internal Revenue Service is to have five Directorates, each headed by an Executive Director, who is a professional tax practitioner and member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) experienced in taxation and management.

The Directorates are: Tax Operations; Compliance; Enforcement; Corporate Services; and Secretary to the Internal Revenue Service.While it also recommended the immediate adoption and implementation of the TSA and the contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) for Kogi State Public Service, there was a pre-qualification of banks, with eight eligible to be used for the policy.

The banks are Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Skye Plc, and United Bank for Africa. By the report, the would now establish a Project Team/Secretariat to be headed by the State Accountant-General, made up of Director Treasury, Director Budget, Staff from Main Accounts in the State Auditor-General’s Office, Inspectorate Unit, Board of Internal Revenue, Director, State Auditor-General’s Office, and the Bursar, Kogi State University representing tertiary institutions.

“The team has a primary responsibility for the coordination of all pre-implementation, implementation and post-implementation programmes required for the successful take-off of the State Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) scheme.

“The committee recommends that after the first three months of operations, a policy of No-Pin, No-Pay should be applied to ensure all and sundry comply for the success of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS),’’ he said.

Upon implementation of the report, the retirement benefits of certain category of public office holders may be treated in line with the statutory requirements of such benefit schemes, like the Governors and other State Political Office Holders.

Addressing the governor, the Don said the state’s “New Direction Agenda,” which emphasises public accountability, transparency and financial discipline in treasury management, is an affirmation of the administration’s determination to reposition the State Civil Service.

“It is therefore, our belief, that these recommendations, if implemented by your administration, will launch the state on the path aimed at bringing to the door steps the long expected dividends of democratic governance,’’ he said.

Responding, the state Governor, said he was proud of the performance of committee, as well as the work done by the members.“We set up the Adhoc Committee on Fiscal Responsibility to advise us on ways to manage our scarce resources- prioritise and put to use judiciously,” he said.

He pointed out that his administration is much in a hurry to get the committees working because time was against the government, assuring that he was not just setting up the committees, but has the political will to implement to the letter the recommendation of those committees.

“We set up a committee to look into the state’s bloated workforce and uncovered that over N1.3 billion was being paid monthly to ghost workers. We are already implementing certain recommendations that were adhoc in nature.

“We want to stop the menace of armed robbery and kidnapping in the state. We reduced the level of insecurity in the state from what we met it to half. Before this committee comes up with its report, we had implemented 50 per cent of the report,’’ the governor said.

Assuring that the recommendations of a sound committee like this would not be swept under the carpet, he warned that no corrupt official would be harboured and those who want to manipulate the system of TSA and test our might, will face law.

 

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday for Democracy Day Celebration

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The Federal Government has declared Wednesday, June 12, a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Aishetu Ndayako, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior.

The statement urged Nigerians to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers and to ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secure, peaceful, and indivisible entity.

“As we mark another Democracy Day in the history of our dear country, let us all reflect on the efforts of our founding fathers and ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secured, peaceful, and indivisible entity,” the statement read.

A Historic Shift

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day dates back to June 7, 2018, when former President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the day would henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day.

Prior to this declaration, Democracy Day was observed on May 29, the date marking the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

President Buhari’s decision was rooted in the historical significance of June 12, 1993, the day of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election.

Despite the election’s annulment by the then-military government, Buhari emphasized that the democratic credentials of the process should be honored.

Honoring a Legacy

To further commemorate the significance of June 12, Buhari posthumously awarded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 election, with the nation’s highest honor, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

The statement from the Ministry of Interior also highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to implementing positive reforms aimed at reviving Nigeria’s economy and enhancing national security.

A Call for Unity

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, called on all citizens and friends of Nigeria to appreciate the progress that has been made in the country’s democratic journey and to look forward to a brighter future.

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, we must appreciate the progress that has been made and remain hopeful for a better future for Nigeria’s democracy,” the minister said.

This year’s Democracy Day comes at a crucial time as Nigeria continues to navigate economic challenges and security concerns. The public holiday on June 12 provides an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the importance of democracy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.

As the nation prepares to observe the public holiday, there is a sense of anticipation and hope that the values of democracy will continue to guide Nigeria towards a prosperous and harmonious future.

The government’s declaration serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of June 12 and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

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Guilty on All 34 Counts: Trump Convicted in Hush Money Case

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In a historic and unprecedented legal decision, former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his “hush money” trial, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Wednesday, concluding a six-week trial in Manhattan.

The charges against Trump centered around falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all counts, concluding that he authorized a scheme to falsify checks and related documents to keep the alleged affair from becoming public knowledge.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing that the conspiracy to cover up the payment began during Trump’s 2016 campaign and continued into his first year in the White House.

They argued that Trump, along with his associates, created false records to mislead voters and conceal the payment.

Trump, who has consistently denied having any sexual encounter with Daniels, responded angrily to the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he called the trial “a disgrace” and accused the judge of bias.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump stated.

He vowed to continue fighting the verdict, saying, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. We’ll fight to the end.”

The conviction comes at a critical time for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election. Despite the conviction, there is no constitutional barrier preventing him from running for office again.

Legal experts note that the Constitution’s requirements for presidential candidates—being at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and a U.S. resident for 14 years—do not include any disqualification for being a convicted felon.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The defense has until June 13 to submit any motions, with the prosecution required to respond by June 27.

Trump’s legal team indicated they would prefer a sentencing date in mid to late July.

Trump’s conviction adds to the already intense political climate as the nation prepares for the 2024 elections. The trial has drawn significant media attention and public scrutiny, reflecting deep divisions within American society.

The trial highlighted broader issues regarding campaign finance and the use of hush money in politics. It also raises questions about the integrity of presidential candidates and the lengths to which they might go to protect their public image.

As the legal and political ramifications of this verdict unfold, Trump’s conviction on all 34 counts marks a significant chapter in U.S. history.

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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