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Group Tasks LIRS on Whistle-Blower Initiative; Hails Subair-Led Management on Staff Welfare

Vanguard for Transparency and Accountability has lauded recently launched the Whistle-Blower Initiative of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service.

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LIRS EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN (1)

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.

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

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Economy

Nigerians Pay N210 Billion For Electricity in Three Months

Nigerian electricity consumers pay N210 billion to power distributors in three months

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Nigerian electricity consumers pay N210 billion to power distributors in three months.

Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) disclosed that Nigerians used N210 billion to buy electricity from distribution companies (Disco) between October and December of 2021. 

According to the 2021 fourth quarter (Q4) report of the commission which was released yesterday, electricity distribution companies otherwise known as “Discos” released a bill of N303.11 billion to consumers in Q4 2021 while a sum of N210.17 billion was retrieved. This means that N92.94 billion were left uncollected within the period under review.

NERC further stated that total billing by Disco increased by N30.12 billion if Q4 2021 is compared with Q3 2021. This represents an increase of 11.03 percent. Similarly, revenue collected in Q4 2021 increased by N16.64 billion when compared with Q3 2021. 

Although there was a slight increase of N16.64 billion in the revenue collected in Q4 2021, the increase in revenue did not however match up with the increase in electricity billing which was N30.12 billion, leaving a difference of N13.48 billion. 

Meanwhile, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) conceded that there is a huge metering gap for end-user customers. The commission acknowledged that metering deficiency is a perennial challenge that has critically hampered revenue generation in the industry.

The commission, therefore, disclosed a decrease in the number of meters installed in Q4 2021. 

“A total of 81,084 meters were installed in 2021/Q4 as compared to the 288,154 meters installed in 2021/Q3. The reduction in the number of meter installations in 2021/Q4 was largely driven by the winding down of the NMMP phase zero (0). The Commission’s records indicate that, of the 10,514,582 registered energy customers as at December 2021, only 4,773,217 (45.40%) have been metered compared to 42.93% metering as at September 2021” the report stated.

On electricity generation capacity, NERC noted that the average generation capacity for Q4 2022 was 5,465.72MW, with 4,294.02MWh/h generated per hour while the total power generated in Q4 2021 from 25 generating plants across the country was 9,480.21GWh.

 

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Economy

Severe Flood Ravage Farmlands in Nigeria, Experts Raise Concerns of Looming Food Shortage

The persistent rain being recorded in Nigeria lately has resulted in severe flooding that has ravaged farmlands as experts warn about food shortage in the coming months.

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The persistent rain being recorded in Nigeria lately has resulted in severe flooding that has ravaged farmlands as experts warn about food shortage in the coming months.

Due to torrential rainfall in recent weeks, with no sign of slowing down, almost all 36 states of the federation have experienced one form of flooding or the other.

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) had recently warned that flooding will persist till the last quarter of 2022, which will take a great toll on farming.

In the North-Eastern part of the country, more than 150,000 hectares of land have been destroyed. Farmers in the region have expressed concerns over the large-scale destruction of produce, stating that the damage caused by the rainfall could be estimated at N30 billion.

They have therefore called for urgent interventions to mitigate the effects of the flooding, so as to reduce hunger and enhance food security.

Kenechukwu Onuorah, an expert at Global Rights, an international human rights capacity-building non-governmental organization, stated that one major consequence of persistent flooding is the huge impact it will have on agricultural output.

According to him, persistent flooding will make basic foodstuff scarce and expensive if nothing is done urgently to mitigate it.

His words, “The persistent rain may be good because it creates swampy lands that are good for the plants but flooding is a disaster.

“It comes with erosion, especially in the South, and washes away the plants. It destroyed the crops and even livestock will have nothing to feed on.

“There is so much we could do that we are not doing. We must ensure appropriate urban planning and drainage systems.

“Government at all levels must work to set Nigeria on the path towards greener renewable energy in order to reverse the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, the government is not working in that direction yet”.

Also speaking on the issue, The  Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency that provides services required for the assessment of Nigeria’s surface and groundwater resources, disclosed that flooding would persist, noting that the River Niger and Benue system had started building up.

The agency said, “As we are aware, Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin, which is occupied by nine countries, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. Our country is at the lowest portion of the Basin.

“This means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding”.

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Economy

Nigerian Lawmakers Express Concerns As Crude Oil Theft Increases Nation’s Debt

Lawmakers in Nigeria have expressed concerns over the incessant crude oil theft witnessed in the country as Nigeria’s debt reaches an all-time high of N42.84trn.

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Lawmakers in Nigeria have expressed concerns over the incessant crude oil theft witnessed in the country as Nigeria’s debt reaches an all-time high of N42.84trn.

The Speaker, of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, while delivering his welcome remarks after the house resumed from a recess, stated that the continuous oil theft witnessed in the country has so far sabotaged Nigeria’s economy as there is a massive decline in the volume of crude oil exports.

He further stated that this act carried out by unscrupulous people is nothing but treason against the country, for which they must be severely dealt with.

He described those who carry out such dastardly acts as not being different from terrorists and insurgents.

In his words: “Due to theft and various acts of economic sabotage, we are experiencing a massive decline in the volume of crude oil exports.

“Our crude oil export of 972,394 BPD for August is the lowest we have recorded in the last two decades. 

“At a time when we are already experiencing severe financial constraints, there are mechanisms in place to prevent these sorts of bad actors, and the government spends significant amounts of money each year to protect oil and gas resources in the country. 

“Evidently, these existing arrangements do not suffice. As such, there is an urgent need to review them and make the necessary improvements. 

“It is also of particular importance that the perpetrators of these crimes against the state are identified, prosecuted, and subjected to the stiffest penalties the law allows. 

“Those who seek to impoverish our country in this manner have declared war against the Nigerian people. The government’s response must be sufficient to convince them of the error of their ways and deter others who might be tempted to join in their treason.   

“I met with the Finance Minister and the DG Budget and made it clear to them that enough of crude oil theft. Nigerians don’t want to hear that again. What do you intend to do about it? That’s the important question.” 

According to the managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC) Mele Kyari, he had disclosed that thieves from all levels in the country steal 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

It should be recalled that in 2021, Investors King reported that Nigeria lost $3.5 billion to crude oil theft.

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