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FG Asks Lagos to Refund Billions of Naira Collected in Wharf Landing Fees

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  • FG Asks Lagos to Refund Billions of Naira Collected in Wharf Landing Fees

The federal government has asked the Supreme Court to declare the Lagos State Wharf Landing Fees Law No 5 of 2009 unconstitutional and to order the state to refund all the monies collected through the law.

The law was passed in 2009 when Babatunde Fashola, now the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, was the state governor. It imposes levies which vary from N1,000 to N3,000 on consignments transported from Lagos ports into the local government areas of the state.

In an originating summons filed on behalf of the federal government by Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), the Attorney General of the Federation asked the court to declare that the state has no power to make law on any maritime, shipping and navigation matter including ‘Wharf Landing’ which are exclusively reserved for the federal government in item 36 of the Exclusive Legislative List, Part 1 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.

The federal government also asked for an order directing Lagos State to account, refund and pay to it all the sums it has charged, received and collected pursuant to the implementation of the Wharf Landing Fees Law. It put the refunds at billions of naira.

The federal government also wants the apex court to authorise it to deduct the accounted sum from the statutory allocation due to the state from the Federation Account.

In a brief filed in support of the originating summons, Agbakoba argued that the intent and purpose of the Wharf Landing Fees Law, “is very clear from the nature of the law itself; which is to levy taxes and tariffs on goods and consignment imported from overseas through the sea ports in the state.”

According to him, the law encroaches on the powers of the federal government to collect import duties and customs duties.

The case was filed during the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan and it will come up today at the Supreme Court for hearing. Giving the relationship between the present leadership of the federal government and the state government, it is not clear yet if the case will go ahead or be discontinued.

However, in a counter-affidavit deposed to by Olanrewaju Akinsola who was then the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Lagos State on Justice Sector Reform, Lagos said it had the power to authorise relevant local government councils to collect the fees in areas outside the jurisdiction of the ports authority, pursuant to Section 7 of the 1999 Constitution.

The state also said the law was aimed at stopping the incidence of multiple and illegal taxes in Lagos, adding that prior to the enactment of the law, several local government areas engaged in indiscriminate imposition of levies on vehicles carrying goods and equipment in a bid to ameliorate the damage caused to their infrastructure by heavy traffics, especially those coming from the ports.

It stated that the Joint Tax Board approved the collection of the fees by Apapa Local Government Area of the state from 2002, and exhibited the letter of approval in its defence.

The state also said: “The Federal Ministry of Finance, by its letter dated 16 January, 2002 also approved the recommendation of the Joint Tax Board empowering Apapa Local Government to change and administer wharf landing fees.” It also attached a copy of the approval letter from the finance ministry.

In a letter to the then AGF, Mr, Bello Adoke (SAN), Lagos State explained that the law did not seek to regulate any activity within federal ports.

The letter which was written by Olasupo Shasore (SAN), who was then the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, read in part: “The Wharf Landing Fee was enacted pursuant to paragraphs 9-10 of the Concurrent Legislative List, Part II of the Second Schedule to the Constitution.

“Apart from the issue of constitutionality, it is also important to draw your attention to the inappropriateness of your solicitors, Olisa Agbakoba and Associates acting as counsel to the AGF in the matter at the Supreme Court. The law firm is a counsel to Hermonfield Limited, a sub-contractor of the collecting agent appointed by the state government to collect wharf landing fees. The bona fide of the law firm is suspect as this case appears to have been filed after failure of an attempt to foist the sub-contractor on the state government.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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1.7 million People Registered to vote in Edo, Says INEC

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INEC Says 1.7 million Voters Registered to vote in Edo

No fewer than 1.72 million persons are eligible to vote in the September 19, Edo governorship polls while 483,796 eligible voters will not participate.

This is according to a document obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission titled, ‘Delimitation of Edo State’.

The document shows that the identified ineligible voters in Edo failed to collect their Permanent Voter Cards.

The document further showed that as of August 2018 there are 2,210,534 registered voters in the state,

However, only 1,726,738 collected their PVCs.

It also indicated that the election will hold in 18 Local Government Areas, 192 Wards, and 2,627 polling units.

A further breakdown of the registered voters shows that male accounts for 1,159,325 (representing 52 per cent), while 1,051,209 (48 percent) are female.

Similarly, from the total registered voters, the youth (18 – 35 years) account for 50 per cent (1,105,338); Middle Aged (36 – 50 years), 29.1 per cent (643,551); and Elderly (51 – 70 years) has 15.99 per cent (353,508).

Eligible voters classified as the Old (70 years and above) account for 4.89 per cent (108,137).

According to the number of collected PVCs, Oredo zone has 240,197; Ikpoba-Okha, 214,882; Egor, 158,817; Etsako West, 128,188 and Akoko Edo, 115,343.

Further distribution of registered voters in the three senatorial districts of the state shows that Edo South has the highest figure of 1,281,414; the North with 564,122; and Central senatorial district has 364,998.

Edo South has seven council areas, the North has six, while Central has five Local Government Areas.

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Kenya Partners Private Sector and Development Partners to Outline Roadmap towards Achieving Energy Efficiency Goals

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Barclays Plaza, Kenya

The Kenyan Government through the Ministry of Energy (MOE) today launched the Kenya National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (KNEECS or The Strategy) placing Kenya firmly on track toward sustainable consumption and production including renewable energy generation.

The Strategy was developed in collaboration with key stakeholders including the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) with support from the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

To date, Kenya has made significant progress in energy efficiency and conservation. In 2006, MOE and KAM signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (CEEC). Its activities include undertaking energy audits of industries, SMEs and public institutions on behalf of MoE, provision of capacity-building in energy efficiency and conservation, public education and awareness activities and administration of the annual Energy Management Awards (EMA). CEEC has achieved over KES 13 billion (USD 152.8 Million) in energy cost saving equivalent to 2014.8 GWh, translating into a deferment of a 230 MW power plant.

The Strategy now seeks to guide the country further towards achieving its established Energy Efficiency (EE) goals within a defined timeframe. These goals are reducing the national energy intensity by 2.8% per year, and enabling the country achieve a 30 per cent greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 relative to Business as Usual (143 MtCO2e) and meet its national targets for Sustainable Development Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) by 2030.

Through the adoption of The Strategy, the country is expected to use less energy to produce goods and services without compromising on quality and quantity. Further, The Strategy will promote the use of technology that requires minimum energy to perform the same function and adoption of changes in behavior that encourage citizens to use a reduced amount of energy in their daily undertakings.

The Strategy sets targets for five key sectors to achieve its objectives, all of which are to be accomplished within a five-year timeline up to 2025: Households, Power Utilities, Transport, Buildings and Industry & Agriculture. Under the Households Sector, energy efficiency in domestic power consumption is expected to increase by 3%. This will be realized by increasing the number of household appliances such as television sets, subjected to Minimum Energy Performable Standards (MEPS) from the current six to ten and increasing the use of improved efficient biomass cook stoves by 50% of all households currently using biomass cook stoves. In the Utilities Sector, the strategy focuses on reducing transmission and distribution system losses from 23 to 15 % .The Strategy recommends the installation of 1 MW of energy storage facilities, whereby a total KSH. 5 Billion in investments will be required for implementation of energy conservation measures. Further, in the Transport Sector, improvement of fuel economy, increasing the share of electric vehicles to reach five per cent and raising the number of passengers using commuter trains from 116,000 to 150,000 per day are proposes. Similarly, the Building Sector has six targets while the Industry & Agriculture Sector has two.

Alongside these sectoral targets, Kenya aspires to strengthen implementation of energy efficiency and conservation measures. All involved agencies will mobilize resources to improve access to finance for energy efficiency projects and accelerate actualization of the Strategy, particularly the Directorate of Renewable Energy and CEEC. Gender-focused and targeted approaches will be implemented for inclusive participation and benefit. Additionally, awareness creation, citizen engagement, training and capacity-building will be implemented. This Strategy, therefore, calls for private and public sector players to mainstream energy efficiency and conservation in education by establishing a long-term mechanism to achieve a high level of government and public awareness on their importance. This will be accomplished by bolstering relationships and engagements among ministries, inter-ministerial forums, county governments, national governments and climate change units countrywide.

Ultimately, the KNEECS will contribute significantly to the essential areas outlined in the Big Four Agenda of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all.

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Nigerians Say No to Fuel, Electricity Hike, Stage Protest

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Nigerians Protest Increase in Fuel and Electricity Prices

Following the decision of the Federal Government to increase fuel price and raise electricity tariff after increasing Value Added Tax (VAT) by 50 percent, Nigerians have taken to the street of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, to protest the persistent increase in prices despite low earnings and global pandemic that have rendered most Nigerians jobless.

This is coming a day after the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the nation’s inflation rate increased by 13.22 percent in the month of August.

The protesters called the government’s recent hikes despite the negative impacts of COVID19 and surged in the unemployment rate to over 27 percent an anti-people policy and therefore demanded a revised policy.

The protesters, who gathered at the Ojuelegba area of Lagos, said while nations are injecting funds into their economies to ease the effect of COVID-19 on their citizens, Buhari led government is compounding Nigerians suffering amid insecurities.

Experts have blamed the decision to raise prices on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. According to economic experts, the two multilateral financial institutions do not loan nations fund without forcing them to adopt their policy.

They identified some of the policies directed Buhari to implement as the unification of the foreign exchange market, Electricity tariff increase and subsidy removal even though Nigeria’s macro fundamentals are presently weak with foreign revenue falling with weak oil price and plunge in demand for the commodity.

 

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