- ‘Government Spends 80% of Revenue as Running Cost’
A former tax manager at Cooper & Lybrand, one of the world’s oldest accounting firms (now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers), Mrs. Morenike Babington-Ashaye, has said it is disturbing that about 80 per cent of government’s revenue is being utitilised as a running cost.
Babington-Ashaye, who is also a founding member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, stated this in Lagos at a press briefing to announce the hosting of a conference on ‘Taxation and the society governance — a case for Nigeria’, where tax experts plan to discuss the high cost of running government and lack of accountability by government officials.
With the running costs gulping about “70 to 80 per cent of revenue at the disposal of government,” the former Chairman of the Ogun State Internal Revenue Service lamented that there was hardly enough funds to maintain existing infrastructural facilities and build new public amenities.
Babington-Ashaye said, “Due to the limited (remaining) funds, public amenities such as potable water, good roads, functioning schools and public hospitals are like luxuries. This in turn impacts negatively on the society, as we see more and more Nigerians unable to afford the necessities of life.”
She stressed the need for the government to prioritise the provision of social amenities, adding that “the provision of social welfare aimed at the eradication of poverty is not an act of charity, but an obligation on the government.”
According to her, there are several questionable practices in the allocation of revenue to states.
“With respect to the Nigerian Constitution, although the Constitution is the highest authority, it presently does not enjoy widespread legitimacy, which in turn affects confidence in government.”
She also spoke briefly about the provisions of the Constitution in relation to taxation, noting that “structurally, the Constitution has created wastage in public administration, duplication across the tiers of government and disintegration of people that have common languages, cultures and values.”
This and other related issues, she added, would be trashed at the conference being organised by Accounting Education and Research Services on April 26.
Babington-Ashaye said a former Minister of Finance, Chief Onaolapo Soneye, would chair the event and named other expected dignitaries to include the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Tunde Fowler.
UK Government Has Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The United Kingdom on Wednesday Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
British government on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, according to the UK government.
The vaccine will be rolled out from next week and the first dose could be administered as early as December 7th, stated people familiar with the matter.
Last week, the UK government announced it had ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of the vaccines.
British government on Wednesday morning said, “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use”
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, revealed that the programme would commence early next week.
“It is very good news,” Hancock said.
Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.
On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.
Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.
“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.
“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.
“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”
Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria
Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.
The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.
However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.
Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.
In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.
“Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.
On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.
The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.
He added that people are facing desperate choices.
“In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.
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