A civil society organisation, Vanguard for Transparency and Accountability, has described the recently launched Whistle-Blower Initiative of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, as an exemplary boost to the anti-corruption crusade, as it lauded the Ayodele Subair-led LIRS management for sustaining its pace-setting records in tax management reforms in Nigeria.
The President of the anti-corruption crusade group, Paulycap Nnabuogor, said in a press statement, that the initiative which subjects the operations of LIRS to public scrutiny, will promote openness, accountability and ultimately enhance citizens’ participation in governance, boosting their trust in the activities of a sensitive agency of government.
Nnabuogor said the anti-corruption group is convinced that the initiative is targeted at strengthening and re-invigorating frontiers in the fight against fraud and corruption and puts both the management and the staff of the agency on their toes to deliver their statutory roles in compliance with the global best practices.
He said, “We are not particularly surprised that the Lagos State government chose the LIRS as a pilot scheme for its Speak Up programme because of the reforms the Subair-led management of the revenue agency had carried out internally to boost its operations and enhance the capacity of its workforce. Undoubtedly, this initiative shows that the activities of civil society organisations like ours are beginning to bear fruit and Nigeria is the ultimate winner.
“Before the birth of the Whistle-Blower Initiative, we were aware of the efforts of the LIRS management to promote accountability within the system and the importance Subair particularly attached to the welfare of his staff. Our findings show that the LIRS maintained the payment of performance allowances to the staff, and doesn’t joke with the prompt release of other pay including wardrobe allowances, particularly to the staff at both the legal and relationships units all geared towards enhancement of performance.
“More so, we found out that the decision to introduce a computer-based test for promotion, which is handled by independent assessors, has encouraged high-fliers within the system to grow rapidly and underlined why the agency has maintained its status as the best-performing tax collecting board in the country. Subair’s Award of Recognition by the Joint Tax Board of Nigeria is a testimony of his achievements as the agency has always met its revenue target even during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Subair restated the commitment of the LIRS management to the welfare of its staff, strengthened by the belief that a motivated workforce will lead to greater productivity.
He said.” We take our workforce’s welfare and career development as a key metric in our journey to consistently deliver our statutory role as a revenue agency. In 2019, we approved a 70% salary increase for staff from Assistant Revenue Manager and below, and a 50% increase for Revenue Manager and above. This is the most significant salary review in the Agency to date. A total of 3,608 members of staff were promoted between 2017 to 2021 and all our staff do not pay for standard medical services.
“We also ensure that performance bonuses are paid to all staff, based on clearly defined and documented processes while Union dues are remitted timely and correctly with all other statutory deductions such as pensions.”
He added that the consequential adjustment of salaries has been agreed upon in principle and payment modalities are currently being worked out by management, stressing that all are geared toward ensuring that the agency serves the people of Lagos State effectively.
NLNG Boosts Cooking Gas Production to 1.5 Million Metric Tonnes Annually
Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) has announced a significant milestone in its operations, boosting its annual production of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas, to over 1.5 million metric tonnes.
This surge in production underscores NLNG’s commitment to meeting the rising demand for clean cooking energy in Nigeria.
The entirety of NLNG’s 1.5 million tonnes production is now being sold domestically within Nigeria.
Moreover, the company has initiated a landmark shift by starting to supply LPG in naira, moving away from the traditional practice of trading in United States dollars.
This move aligns with calls from stakeholders in the oil and power sectors advocating for naira transactions, especially amidst the challenges posed by currency fluctuations.
During a panel session at the 7th Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja, NLNG’s General Manager of Finance, Fatima Adanan, highlighted the company’s dedication to enhancing LPG penetration across the country.
Adanan emphasized NLNG’s vision to make Nigeria a better place by promoting the use of cleaner energy sources like gas.
While NLNG’s production surge is commendable, Adanan acknowledged that Nigeria’s LPG requirements surpass the current output, necessitating imports to bridge the gap.
However, NLNG remains committed to expanding its production capacity to meet the nation’s energy needs and drive increased adoption of LPG as a cleaner cooking fuel.
CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate by 400 Basis Points to 22.75%
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the benchmark interest rate by 400 basis points to a record 22.75%.
The decision made by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) comes amidst rising inflationary pressures and growing uncertainty in Africa’s largest economy.
Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 29.90% in January 2024, the highest in over two decades while the nation’s unemployment rate quickened to 5% in the third quarter of 2023. Suggesting that the rising costs have continued to drag on both new job creation and the existing ones.
This coupled with a series of policy adjustments implemented by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has plunged economic productivity and eroded consumer spending as citizens grapple with high fuel prices, electricity tariffs, a record-high foreign exchange rate, and insecurities.
Therefore, it is surprising that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) led by the CBN will further increase borrowing costs by 400 basis points at a time when job creation is paramount.
While the economy reportedly grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 on the back of robust performance of the services sector, this growth is yet to crystalise as businesses and citizens have taken to the street protest against the harsh economic situation.
Economic experts have started questioning the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) given its lack of correlation between the data and economic reality.
President Tinubu Unveils Geometric Power Plant in Aba After 20-Year Wait
After two decades of anticipation, President Bola Tinubu, through his representative Vice President Kashim Shettima, inaugurated the long-awaited Geometric Power Plant in Aba, a significant milestone in the city’s quest for reliable electricity supply.
The event, which also saw the commissioning of three rehabilitated roads by Abia State Governor Alex Otti, symbolizes the culmination of years of perseverance and determination to transform Aba’s power landscape.
Addressing the audience, Vice President Shettima hailed the project as a testament to the power of visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to progress.
He said the Geometric Power Plant exemplifies the transformative impact of strategic infrastructure investments on local communities.
Governor Otti echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the importance of the power project in positioning Aba as a hub for national and international business ventures.
He commended the efforts of Geometric Power Limited while urging them to uphold transparency and avoid exploiting consumers.
The inauguration of the Geometric Power Plant comes amidst growing concerns over Nigeria’s power infrastructure and the need for sustainable solutions to address electricity shortages.
The project, with a capacity of 188MW, holds promise for significant improvements in power supply across Abia State, benefitting nine out of seventeen local government areas.
The Managing Director of Geometric Power Limited, Ben Caven, underscored the scale of investment involved, totaling $800 million.
He highlighted the comprehensive nature of the project, which includes the installation of new power substations and a 27km natural gas pipeline, signaling a comprehensive approach to enhancing Aba’s energy infrastructure.
In conclusion, the inauguration of the Geometric Power Plant represents a transformative moment for Aba, offering renewed hope for economic growth and prosperity powered by reliable electricity supply.
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