NEC Ends Use Of Non-Revenue Officials For Collection Of Taxes

namadi_samboThe National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by the Vice President Namadi Sambo has directed the discontinuation of the practice of using non-revenue officials for collection of taxes and levies by states and federal agencies.

This is one of the recommendations by the  ministerial implementation committee set by NEC on the harmonisation of taxes, following the report by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria on multiple taxation across the federation and its effect on the economy

Briefing State House Correspondents on the development the governor of Anambra State, Dr Willie Obiano, said that the council is also to direct the Inspector General of Police to dismantle all road blocks mounted on high ways for revenue collection across the country.

Also, the NECl commended the move by the Ministry of Power to train over 3,700 staff on the National Power Sector Apprenticeship Scheme.

The Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, had told the governors that for over 23 years there has not been any training for the technical manpower needed in transmission,generation and distribution sub-sector.

The governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada, who spoke on the matter said the sum of 1.3 billion Naira is to be spent in funding the scheme.

President Jonathan To Attend US-African Leaders’ Summit In Washington

jonathan-goodluck-Nigeria-PresidentPresident Goodluck Jonathan would on Sunday leave for Washington DC to participate in a three-day US-African Leaders Summit hosted by President Barrack Obama.

President Jonathan would join President Obama and about 50 other participating African leaders for discussions that are expected to lead to greater progress in key areas such as expanding trade and investment ties,  promoting inclusive sustainable development and expanding cooperation on peace and security.

In a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, the Summit, which is the first of its kind between an American President and African Heads of State and government, is expected to greatly strengthen ties between the United States, Nigeria and other African countries.

In addition to three special sessions on “Investing in Africa’s Future”, “Peace and Regional Stability” and “Governing the Next Generation”, the summit would also feature side-events such as the US-Africa Business Forum which has the objectives of boosting efforts to strengthen trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa, creating partnerships that will accelerate job creation, and encouraging even more  American investments in Nigeria and other African countries.

President Jonathan is also scheduled to hold meetings in Washington with key US political, security and business leaders on the sidelines of the summit to discuss the further expansion of bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and the United States in other areas including the war against terrorism.

The President will be accompanied to the summit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali; the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga; the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo and the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.)

Federal Government To Revoke Coal Block Licenses

ministerNigerians who have refused to develop their coal blocks licenses would have such licenses revoked by the Federal Government.

The decision was the outcome of the meeting held by the National Council on Privatization, presided over by Vice President, Namadi Sambo, in the Presidential Villa.

Briefing state journalists after the meeting, the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, said that there were people who had licenses for coal blocks but were yet to develop them and is costing the country huge sums of money with regards to power production and importation of coal by some companies in Nigeria trying to produce their own power.

Describing the act as unacceptable, he added that the National Council on Privatization under the leadership of the Vice President has decided to make sure that those holding on to these coal blocks are shown the way out of these licenses.

Professor Nebo noted this was causing an embarrassment to the country, as they were sitting on the resources nature had given to the common man.

Minister Of Power Tells Banking Sector To Finance Electricity Generation

The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo
The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo

The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, has called on the banking sector to finance electricity generation and distribution in the country.

The Minister told the Bankers’ Forum in Abuja that more funding would be needed from the banking sector to realize the goal of stable electricity supply.

According to the Minister, Nigeria currently generates about four thousand megawatts of electricity; a situation he believes would improve with time.

While the bankers re-assured the Minister of their continued support, they also expressed concern about the recent drop in power generation and its effect on their investments.

Mr. Nebo, however, assures the Bankers Forum that efforts were being made to boost gas supply, in other to improve on power generation and distribution.

The Federal Government had earlier this month promised to invest three billion US Dollars between 2014 and 2018, for transmission capacity expansion. It has also set up a special task force on power to realize her goals.

FG Borrows $1.6Bn To Aid Power Transmission

The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo said the Federal Government has borrowed $1.6 billion (about n240 billion) foreign loans for the expansion of power transmission facilities in the country.

The Minister said this, after a meeting of the Presidential Action Committee on Power (PACP) at the presidential villa.

The closed door meeting, which lasted for over two hours, was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, and it had in attendance the Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo and several other ministers.

According to Professor Nebo, the loan is coming from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Euro Bond Issue and the Chinese Exim Bank.

He said: much of the deliberations cantered on expanding the transmission network in Nigeria to ensure that all the power generating plants that Nigeria is now building and commissioning, have adequate capacity to pull out power.

Minister Wants Extra Funding For Power Projects

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has expressed concern over the funding mechanism used to finance power projects.

The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo

The Minister is calling for a special intervention fund for the power sector, besides budgetary allocations.

Prof. Nebo, in an interview with some journalists in Abuja, said unless something serious happens to ensure power projects are not stopped midway, the sector was at the risk of total collapse.

He argued that power projects are very sensitive and abandoning them would lead to the failure of the whole process and meant a return to square one.

He said: “When Power Ministry begins a project, that project remains uncompleted until it is completed. So if you cut off the fund midway or two third way or three quarter way, they remain like that.”

The Minister said the federal government should consider sensitive projects as those of power when preparing budgets and disbursing funds to ministries.

“There should be a rethink even in our budgetary process whereby projects that are started must be funded. If they are appropriated, that they should be cash-backed; that’s what we’re asking for,” Prof. Nebo said.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, has disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the institution of an alternative funding mechanism for the successor companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

This is to give the successor firms, comprising generation and distribution companies, stability till their handover to the preferred bidders.

Mr. Igali made this known when the Senate Committee on Power visited the ministry as part of their oversight functions, stating that due to the zero allocation to the PHCN successor companies in the 2013 budget, they have been having a hard time financing their operations.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Philip Aduda, urged the ministry to ensure that all labour-related issues with the PHCN workers were settled before handover to the preferred bidders to avoid litigation or other problems that could affect the gains so far recorded by the privatisation exercise.