- FG Plans New Approach to Resolve Niger-Delta Crisis
The Federal Government, in a bid to boost oil revenue, is considering a new approach to resolving and sustaining peace in the troubled Niger Delta region.
The approach, which will be tailored to address the specific needs of each state in the region, will complement ongoing efforts at the national level by ensuring that state governors, elders, youths and stakeholders play a more active role in keeping the peace.
The approach is one of the issues in focus during the tour of Abia State by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and other top officials.
The state-focused plan, also known as the ring fenced state approach, was one of the issues dealt with by Kachikwu in his latest monthly podcast to stakeholders, titled: ‘Oil sector militancy challenges – Road to closure: 20 point plan’.
Among other features, the plan involves the Petroleum ministry working with governors of the oil producing states to realise fit-for-measure solutions to identified unique challenges facing oil producing communities in the states.
Kachikwu said, “One of the things we will need to do frankly is that each state must develop a fit for measure solution. I will be working with state governors to identify the peculiarities of every state and what we need to do to bring a solution to that state.
“The main objective is to substantially increase the benefits and rewards flowing to oil producing states, which bear the brunt of the devastating environmental damage that diversely affects both the economic survival and social activities in the affected communities.”
The minister said the new approach would help to ensure that opportunities in contracting, securing the pipelines, as well as other businesses within a particular state coming from the oil sector, go to such community substantially.
“The result of this is that indigenes of the state can protect themselves from incursions from individuals who are largely criminal elements coming in from other states to cause confusion,” he added.
Apart from the state-focused approach to achieving and sustaining peace and development in the Niger Delta and other oil producing parts of the country, Kachikwu also proposed other complimentary initiatives.
To institutionalise engagements and nip developing crisis in the bud, the minister said he would, at least once every two months, coordinate meetings involving state governments and their representatives, the military, the oil companies operating in those areas, and stakeholders.
During the meetings, he said intensive solution-focused brainstorming sessions on current challenges affecting specific oil producing communities would take place.
The objective of the engagements, he added, was to identify the specific concerns of the people in the states, isolate the issues that could cause problems and reach a wide consensus on the solutions and steps that would be taken towards resolving them on a permanent basis.
Kachikwu also made it clear that incentives and sanctions were central to the new Federal Government strategy for the Niger Delta.
He said, “If you have peace, you have investment. If you don’t have peace, you cannot have investment. The Federal Government can help propel investments to come into those areas, because they have provided the peace.
“If they don’t provide the peace, they lose the jobs, the contracting that will enable the states to grow. So we are going to be launching a peace and investment initiative on a state by state basis so that we can incentivize those states that are able to maintain the peace.”
World Bank Calls on Nigeria to Impose Special Taxes on Alcohol and Tobacco
The World Bank Group has made a call to the Federal Government of Nigeria, urging the government to impose special taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and beverages that are highly sweetened in order to improve primary healthcare conditions in the country.
Shubham Chaudhuri, who is the Country Director for Nigeria in the World Bank Group, said that an improvement in healthcare in Nigeria will come by taxing the things that are “killing us.” He said that the economic rationale for the action is quite strong if lives are to be saved and a healthier Nigeria achieved.
Chaudhuri made the call on Friday, at a special National Council on Health meeting which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja. Chaudhuri stated that placing special taxes on tobacco, sweetened beverages and alcohol would reduce the health risks which come with their consumption and expand the fiscal space for universal health coverage after COVID 19.
The country director also said that investing in stronger health systems for all would make significant contributions to the fight against inequality and the rising poverty situation in the country. He went on to add that increasing health tax would provide an extra advantage of reducing healthcare cost in the future, by hindering the growth of the diseases which are caused by tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages.
The representative of the WHO in Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo said that he could confirm the large health needs of Nigerians, as well as the efforts being made to meet those needs. He said this was based on the fact that he had been to over half of Nigeria’s states in less than two years of being in the country.
Mulombo then noted that although the coronavirus exposed weaknesses in the global economy (not excluding health), it could be considered as a unique opportunity for a thorough examination of existing resources and mechanisms to prepare for a more resilient future.
Nigeria’s VAT Revenue Falls to N500 Billion in Q3 2021, Manufacturing Sector in the Lead
In the third quarter of 2021, Nigeria generated a total sum of N500.49 billion as value-added tax which represents a 2.3% decline when compared to the N512.25 billion recorded in the second quarter of the year.
This is as seen in the VAT report which was recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The report revealed that the manufacturing sector was in the lead as it remitted a total of N91.2 billion, representing about 30% of the total local non-import value added taxes in that period.
In spite of the quarter-on-quarter decline of VAT collections in the reviewed period, it grew by a further 17.8% when compared to N424.7 billion generated in the same period of the previous year. The report also shows that an amount of N1.5 trillion has been generated from value added taxes from January 2021 to September 2021.
That is 40.2% higher than the N1.08 trillion recorded in the same period of 2020, and 72.3% higher than what was recorded in the same period of 2019.
To break it down, the Value Added Tax collected in the first, second and third quarter of 2021 was recorded at N496.39 billion, N512.25 billion and N500.49 billion respectively. It is higher than the corresponding figures of 2020, which sat at N324.58 billion, N327.20 billion and N424.71 billion for the first, second and third quarters respectively.
In the third quarter of 2021, the Manufacturing activity accounted for the largest share of total revenue collected across sectors, with a huge 30.87% (N91.2 billion) coming from that sector. The Information & Communication sector came in second with 20.05% (N53.9 billion) contributed, while the Mining & Quarrying sector came in third with 9.62% (N28.4 billion).
Nigeria has continued to ramp up its efforts to increase revenue from non-oil sectors by increasing its tax collection rates, which has recorded largely significant growth since the federal government increased the VAT rate from 5% to 7.5% in the 2019 Finance Act, which was signed and made effective in 2020.
Nigeria’s Economy to Close 2021 at 2.5% Growth Rate
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has predicted that the Nigerian economy will close its growth rate for the year at 2.5%.
This was said by the President of the LCCI, Toki Mabogunje at the 133rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the chamber in Lagos on Thursday, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria.
The LCCI leader advised that Nigeria’s monetary and fiscal aspects of the economy should encourage policies that enhance growth and build confidence which would invigorate private capital flows to the economy to achieve the growth. She also encouraged a medium-term recovery plan which is anchored on local productivity, attracting private investment, developing physical and soft infrastructure, and ease of business.
Mabogunje disclosed that Nigeria’s inflation would be maintained at its double digit level within the short to medium term, due to food supply shocks, foreign exchange illiquidity, higher energy cost, social unrest in the Northern region, possible removal of fuel subsidy, and insecurity. She stated that these structural factors will keep on mounting pressure on domestic consumer prices.
She also added that in spite of the non-oil economy’s growth by 5.4%, insecurity problems in some areas of the country may lead to shrinking in production and a disruption of the supply chain. She states that the important drivers of the non-oil sector growth were finance and insurance holding 23.2%, transport and storage 20.6%, trade carrying 11.9% and telecommunications 10.9%.
Others include manufacturing, construction, real estate and agriculture with 4.3%, 4.1%, 2.3% and 1.2% respectively throughout the year.
Speaking on the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to retain policy parameters, she mentioned that although the apex bank has been keen to extend credit to the real economy as a way of supporting it, it is a fact that the provision of credit recently has proven ineffective in improving output growth and stabilizing consumer prices.
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