- Whistle-blowing: FG Suspends Two Officials, Probes Others for Fraud
The Federal Government on Sunday said it had begun investigation into over 200 whistle-blowing tips on tax officials and taxpayers for under-declaration of taxes as well as demand and receipt of gratification by tax officials.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this on Sunday in Abuja while presiding over the meeting of the Whistle-blower Unit in the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit.
She also confirmed that the ministry had requested and secured the suspension of two senior tax officials in Delta and Benue states based on verified tips from whistle-blowers.
Adeosun said the government through the ministry had also commenced the process of sanitising the tax administration and revenue collection system of dishonest operatives.
Adeosun, according to a statement issued by her Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, said the sanitisation of the tax administration and revenue collection system was part of the government’s efforts at enhancing the willingness of the citizens to pay their taxes.
The minister stated, “The ministry is currently analysing over 200 additional whistle-blowing tips, including recordings between tax officials and potential taxpayers in which various practices designed to reduce tax payable were detailed.
“These practices include demands for personal gratification by tax officers, promises to procure backdated tax clearance certificates, and offers to conspire to reduce taxes payable.”
In order to deal with the influx of the whistle-blowing tips, the minister, the statement noted, had directed the reorganisation of the Whistle-blower Unit to fast-track reports relating to those in the revenue-generating agencies.
She said, “Encouraging our citizens to pay taxes is a matter of law but it is also a matter of trust. Those who work in our tax offices must, therefore, demonstrate the highest level of integrity. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari understands that to reduce our reliance on oil means every citizen must pay their taxes as and when due.
“However, people will not be encouraged to pay if they believe that those involved in the assessment are not transparent or are dishonest. We will continue to sanitise the system and also improve our controls.”
Adeosun gave an assurance that the ministry would continue to root out fraudsters who compromised the integrity of the tax administration and revenue collection system.
She lauded members of the public for volunteering valuable information, including voice recordings and other evidences, to the Whistle-blower Unit in the ministry.
Adeosun enjoined members of the public to desist from the procurement of tax certificates that were not consistent with their true incomes.
She warned against reliance on such documents and advised those who might have procured such tax certificates in the past to take advantage of the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme to regularise their tax profiles.
She added, “We have cases of procurement of tax clearance certificates with no corresponding records or assessments in the tax offices. In such cases, although payments have been made, but there are no underlying assessment. So automatically, we will flag such companies for investigation.
“The data analysis being undertaken within the Federal Ministry of Finance is readily exposing those who have obtained tax clearance certificates that are either forged or are not consistent with their true income levels.”
Oil Prices News: Oil Gains Following Drops in US Crude Inventories
Oil Prices Gain Following Drops in US Crude Inventories and OPEC High Compliance Level
Global oil prices extended their 2 percent gains on Thursday after data showed U.S crude oil inventories declined last week.
The price of Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is measured, gained 0.2 percent or 7 cents to $43.39 a barrel as at 12:10 pm Nigerian time. While the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude appreciated by 8 cent or 0.2 percent to $41.12 barrels.
Oil prices extended their three days gain after the American Petroleum Institute said the U.S crude inventories declined by 5.4 million barrels in the week ended October 9.
The report released after the market closed on Wednesday revealed that distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, declined by 3.9 million barrels. Those stated drawdowns almost double analysts’ projections for the week.
“Much of the fall is due to the effects of Hurricane Delta shuttering U.S. production in the Gulf of Mexico, and as such, will be a transitory effect,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA.
“Therefore, I am not getting too excited that a turn of direction is upon markets, although both contracts are approaching important technical resistance regions.”
Also, the report that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, referred to as OPEC+ attained 102 percent compliance level with their oil production cuts agreements bolstered global oil outlook. Suggesting that demands for the commodity are likely not growing and could drag down prices in few weeks, especially when one factor in the reopening of Libya’s Sharara oil field, workers returning to operation in Norway and the Gulf of Mexico.
Oil Prices Gain on Tuesday Despite Expected Surge in Global Oil Supplies
Oil Prices Rise Despite Expected Surge in Global Oil Supplies
Oil prices gained on Tuesday despite Libya opening Sharara oil field for production, labour in Norway reaching an agreement with oil firms to return back to work and oil workers in the U.S returning to the Gulf of Mexico region after the Hurrican Delta.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil price is measured, gained 1.77 percent to $42.46 per barrel as at 11:15 am Nigerian time on Tuesday.
While the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil gained 2 percent to close at $40.22 per barrel.
The improvement in prices was after oil prices plunged as much as 3 percent on Monday following a resolution reached by Libyan rebels and government to commence oil production at the nation’s largest oil field, Sharara Oil Field.
This coupled with labour agreement with oil firms in Norway was expected to boost global oil supplies and eventually weighed on prices and disrupt OPEC+ production cuts strategy.
However, prices surged after Nancy Pelosi said she would commence talks on $1.8 trillion stimulus package following President Trump’s return to the White House after he was rushed to hospital following a positive COVID-19 test.
Joe Biden Win Could Boost Oil Prices, Says Goldman Sachs
Oil Prices to Surge Once Joe Biden Wins -Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has said Joe Biden win could boost global oil prices despite weak global economic outlook and COVID-19 negative impacts on the world’s growth.
The investment bank, however, remains bullish on both oil and gas prices regardless of the election outcome in November.
The bank sees oil and gas demand rising enough in 2021 to supersede election results but explained that Biden win could bolster prices by making production more expensive and more regulated for producers in the U.S.
In a note written by the bank’s commodities team on Sunday, it said “We do not expect the upcoming U.S. elections to derail our bullish forecasts for oil and gas prices, with a Blue Wave likely to be in fact a positive catalyst.”
“Headwinds to U.S. oil and gas production would rise further under a Joe Biden administration, even if the candidate has struck a centrist tone.”
Goldman Sachs explained that if incumbent, Trump, is re-elected with pro-oil and gas policies in place that “its impact would likely remain modest at best,” Goldman’s analysts wrote, “given the more powerful shift in investor focus to incorporate ESG metrics and the associated corporate capex re-allocation away from fossil fuels.”
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