AGF, Finance Minister, Others Attend Unveiling Of VOARS

AGF, Finance Minister, Others Attend Unveiling Of VOARS
Mr Abubakar Malami and Mrs Zainab Ahmed at the unveiling of the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS) in Abuja on April 2, 2019. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, as well as the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on Tuesday attended the unveiling of the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS).

The event, which held in Abuja, was part of efforts to by the Federal Government to increase the nation’s tax base.

READ ALSONigerian Govt Launches Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme

It was also attended by the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, among others.

The VOARS is aimed at encouraging foreign investments to develop infrastructure in Nigeria.

See the photos below:

Mr Abubakar Malami

FIRS Chairman, Mr Babatunde Fowler

Mrs Zainab Ahmed

Nigerian Govt Launches Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme

 

The Nigerian Government has unveiled the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS), as part of efforts to increase the nation’s tax base.

Addressing an audience at the unveiling ceremony on Tuesday in Abuja, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, said the scheme was aimed at encouraging foreign investments to develop infrastructure in Nigeria.

He explained that the VOARS was an idea initiated by the Swiss Consortium with a view to facilitating regularisation of offshore assets owned by Nigerians.

READ ALSO: AGF, Finance Minister, Others Attend Unveiling Of VOARS

The AGF, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to key into the initiative of the government.

He gave assurance that when funds were voluntarily declared by the owners, the Federal Government would grant a permanent waiver of criminal prosecution for tax offences and offences related to offshore assets.

According to him, this includes immunity from tax audit of the declared and regularised offshore assets.

The unveiling ceremony held at the Transcorp Hilton in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Also in attendance were the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, and the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, among others.

See photos below:

UN Calls For Concerted Efforts To Reduce Poverty In Nigeria

 

 

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has called for effective collaboration between governments at all levels, development partners and non-state actors in addressing the needs of Nigeria where poverty and infrastructural challenges are the most acute.

Speaking at a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Acceleration Conference organized by the Kaduna state government, Mohammed stressed the need for government and other stakeholders to take the issue of accurate data gathering and analysis very seriously in order to for government to effectively plan and implement its policies and programmes that will impact positively on the people.

Present at the conference were Kaduna state government officials, captains of industry, youths and development partners.

READ ALSO: FG To Increase VAT – Finance Minister

Most notable amongst those present were Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed.

Addressing the participants, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, emphasized that ending extreme poverty in Nigeria is a huge challenge requiring sustainable solutions and concerted measures from a number of actors including national and state governments, local administrations, development partners, international organisations, the private sector, and civil society.

On his part, the host Governor, Nasir El-Rufai said his administration is working hard to generate sufficient data and has also identified the state’s baseline status of the SDGs by working closely with development partners to achieve the targets of the plan.

In her presentation which focuses on what the government is doing to overcome fiscal challenges in the country, the Minister of Finance, said the federal government will soon launch the Strategic Revenue Growth programme aimed at improving revenue generation and freeing resources for effective implementation of the SDGs.

According to the organisers, the conference is designed to provide a necessary context for “Building Effective Partnership for Accelerated Progress towards the SDGs.

FG, States, LGs Share N648.71bn For September

FG, States, LGs Share N648.71bn For September
Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed (file)

 

The Federal, state, and local governments have shared a total of N648.71 billion for the month of September.

Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, announced this on Friday at the end of the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting in Abuja.

According to her, the gross statutory revenue for the month is N569.3 billion naira which is N57.9 billion less than the N627.14 billion shared in August.

The minister, who presided over the FAAC meeting, stressed the need for the three tiers of government to save.

She also challenged members of the committee to maintain transparency and instil a saving culture for the rainy day in various states.

The next FAAC meeting is expected to hold during the National Council of Finance and Economic Development Conference in Kaduna, scheduled for Wednesday, November 28.

The report of the Committee on the Excess Crude Account is expected to be presented at the meeting.

ERGP: FG Encourages Child Spacing To Reduce Population Growth

 

The Federal Government says it is engaging critical stakeholders such as traditional and religious leaders to advise their members on child spacing.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said this on Tuesday at the Nigeria Economic Summit meeting which took place in Abuja.

According to her, the increase in the nation’s population was found to be one of the ‘great challenges’ in the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), hence the need to curb the “exponential population growth”.

She said, “We have been engaging traditional rulers and other leaders. Specifically, we have found out that to be able to address one of the great challenges that we identified in the ERGP, which is the growth in our population, we need to engage these institutions”.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the minister also cleared the air on reports that the government had plans to implement a policy that limits the number of children a mother can have, saying, “We never said we are placing a cap on childbirth.”

“What is child spacing? This is a healthy practice of waiting between pregnancies”.

 

Ahmed also spoke about the government’s efforts in creating more jobs for youths.

She listed the attainment of 7,000 megawatts of electricity as a major milestone in empowering youths with small businesses.

Zainab Ahmed Leaves Role At Ministry Of Budget And National Planning

 

Mrs Zainab Ahmed has left her role as Minister of State for Budget and National Planning to focus fully on overseeing the Ministry of Finance.

This was confirmed at the weekly Federal Executive Council Meeting on Wednesday.

“She is no longer Minister of State for Budget and National Planning for now until anything contrary happens. For now, she is in charge of the Ministry of Finance,” Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said after the FEC meeting.

Mrs Zainab Ahmed

 

President Muhammadu Buhari had asked Mrs Ahmed to oversee the Finance Ministry on Friday after accepting the resignation of Mrs Kemi Adeosun.

Mrs Adeosun had resigned because of her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate scandal.

Mrs Ahmad had, upon assuming office at the Finance Ministry on Monday, warned that the country was facing serious revenue challenges.

“We have very serious revenue challenges and it is up to us to make sure we shore up the revenue base of the country,” she said.

“The President has a lot of confidence that we can do this if we work together. You are working for the President and at the end of the day, you’re working for the benefit of the citizens.”

The Ministry of Finance also confirmed the development in a tweet.

“Minister Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed has relinquished her position as Minister of State for Budget and Planning. She’s now to be appropriately addressed as Minister of Finance,” it tweeted.

Nigeria Is Facing Serious Revenue Challenges, Says Zainab Ahmed

Minister of State Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed

 

The supervising Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said that Nigeria is facing serious revenue challenges and assured that the ministry will do everything possible to shore up the revenue base of the country.

The minister stated this on Monday when she assumed duties at the Ministry of Finance.

She said, “We have very serious revenue challenges and it is up to us to make sure we shore up the revenue base of the country.

“The President has a lot of confidence that we can do this if we work together. You are working for the President and at the end of the day, you’re working for the benefit of the citizens”.

She promised to work diligently to ensure that the country attains greater economic stability.

She charged the management staff of the Ministry to do all within their power to justify the confidence of the President in their ability to achieve a much needed economic turnaround in the country.

In a statement by the Director Information, Hassan Dodo, Ahmed expressed her readiness to ensure that there is “harmonious working relationship with the Permanent Secretary and management of the Ministry, whom she said are highly skilled”.

Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Mahmoud Isa-Dutse assured that the management and staff of the Ministry will give her all the needed support in her duties.

Until her New role as the Supervising Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed is the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning.

She was directed to oversee the Ministry of Finance by President Muhammadu Buhari , after the resignation of former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun on Friday, September 14, 2018.

She is a Fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), a member of the Nigerian Institute of Taxation and the Nigerian Institute of Management. (NIM)

Nigeria Commits To Unveiling Owners Of Extractive Companies By 2020

Nigeria, Extractive Companies, NEITI, EITINigeria has set January 2017 timeline for the development of an actionable roadmap to unveil the real owners of extractive companies in the country by 2020.

The plan is in line with a mandate of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

The Minister for Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, says anonymous companies have been used to fuel and mask corruption in Nigeria.

He also raised concern over the illicit wealth often lodged in foreign countries while Nigerians were denied the benefits of the natural resources.

The minister recommended a public registry of beneficial owners of these companies developed in conjunction with global bodies and other countries, as a way out of the challenge.

He expressed confidence that it would help Nigeria check abuses, grafts and money laundering which have ploughed down the economy and given the country a negative image in the comity of nations.

Dr. Fayemi spoke on Monday at a forum with representatives from nine other African countries and all EITI-implementing countries held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Deputy Head of EITI, Mr Eddie Rich, told reporters that the meeting was convened to create a roadmap for beneficial ownership disclosure by 2020; that is to unmask the real people behind companies in the extractive sector.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr Waziri Adio, also stressed the need for Nigeria to surmount some challenges, saying it gave room for the regional consultative workshop.

Allegation Of Unremitted Dividends

NEITI, in some of its past audit reports, had alleged several irregularities in the extractive industries including unremitted dividends and abuse of the petroleum subsidy regime.

The four year audit reports between 2009 and 2012 contained an alleged unremitted $11.6 billion to the Federation Account.

NEITI Chairman, Mr Mitee Ledum, decried the non-implementation of the audit reports and recommendations to reform the extractive industries.

During a visit to Nigeria some months ago, EITI Chairperson, Mrs Clare Short, urged the Nigerian Government to implement its past reports in its quest to reform the mineral extractive sector of the economy.

Mrs Short was in Nigeria to meet with the government and lend a voice to the proposed reforms in the extractive sector of the economy.

She expressed the view that the Federal Government had a ready-made tool in the reports of NEITI which could be relied upon to reform the sector.

Corruption: FG Develops National Policy On Prosecution

national policy, corruptionAs part of efforts to stem the tide of corruption through speedy trial of suspects, the federal government has developed a national policy on prosecution.

The Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, announced the new policy at a meeting of attorney generals in Abuja where they converged from the 36 states of the federation to discuss how to improve the justice sector.

Mr Malami said that the adoption and implementation of the policy by state authorities will fast-track the prosecution of corruption and criminal cases.

The Minister appealed to states to accept the federal government’s vision of tackling corruption by establishing special anti-corruption units.

He advocated the restoration of public confidence in the justice sector through the speedy prosecution of cases.

The Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Cristina Albertin, also outlined the role of prosecutors in the fight against corruption.

At a separate meeting on the London summit on Anti-Corruption, the Minister of Justice pledged government’s commitment to accountability and transparency as a means of stemming corruption.

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, confirmed government’s resolve to run an open government just as the Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Simon Shercliff, advised political leaders to lead by example.

Senate Screens More Ministerial Nominees

senateSix ministerial nominees have appeared before the Senate as part of the ongoing confirmation hearings being conducted by the Senate.

The six nominees spent an average of an hour each before the lawmakers as different questions were put to them on different issues.

The questions bordered on corruption, education, politics and the economy.

The first nominee to appear was Prof Adewole Folorunso. He spent over an hour before the lawmakers and answered questions on the education and health.

Eventually, he was told to bow and go.

The next nominee that generated such interest was Zainab Ahmed and she was taken up on her knowledge of the Nigerian oil sector and the issue of leakages in the system.

The other nominees who also took their turns at the chamber are Bawa Bwari, Geoffrey Onyeama, Mohammed Dan Ali and Usani Uguru.

The atmosphere in the chamber, however, changed dramatically when the last nominee, Usani Uguru, was on the stand.

It was clear there was trouble when the Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, rose, demanding an apology from the nominee.

The apology did not help as PDP senators kept interrupting his remarks with points of order that the Senate President ruled out of order.

The nominee eventually completed his turn and was allowed to leave.

The Senate is to continue with the confirmation hearing on Wednesday when the remaining five nominees are expected to appear.

 

Senate Continues Ministerial Nominees’ Screening

ministerial nominees screening begins on tuesdayThe screening of Nigerian ministerial nominees has  resumed on Tuesday at the Senate Chambers after the lawmakers adjourned sitting last Thursday.

Six nominees, who were scheduled to face the lawmakers’ scrutiny are: Professor Adewale Folorunso, Bawa Bwari, Geoffrey Onyeama, Zainab Ahmed, Mohammed Dan Ali and Usani Uguru

Professor Adewale Folorunsho, Honourable Bawa Bwari and Mr Geoffrey Onyeama have appeared before the Senate and taken their leave.

The fourth nominee, Zainab Ahmed also appeared before the Senate while Mansur Dan Ali and Usani Uguru were awaiting their turn.

President Muhammadu Buhari had sent 36 names to the upper chamber of the Senate to be screened as members of his cabinet.

The exercise had gone in phases with the first batch of the nominees already confirmed by the Senate.

After Tuesday’s nominees are screened, about four more may be left, which means before the end of the week, the senate might be able to confirm the nominees

Extractive Industry Reforms: NEITI Urges Government To Implement Its Report

International Extractive Body Urges Government To Implement NEITI ReportThe International Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (IEITI) has called on the Nigerian Government to implement its past reports in its quest to reform the mineral extractive sector of the economy.

The IEITI Chairperson, Mrs Clare Short, made the call on Tuesday during a visit to Nigeria, to meet with the government and lend a voice to the proposed reforms in the extractive sector of the economy.

She expressed the view that the Nigerian Government had a ready-made tool in the reports of NEITI which could be relied upon to reform the sector.

NEITI, in some of its past audit reports had alleged several irregularities in the extractive industries including unremitted dividends and abuse of the petroleum subsidy regime.

The four year audit reports between 2009 and 2012 contained an alleged unremitted $11.6 billion to the Federation Account.

NEITI Chairman, Mr Mitee Ledum, decried the non-implementation of the audit reports and recommendations to reform the extractive industries.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Zainab Ahmed, also explained why NEITI has not been able to prosecute defaulters in the past.

She expressed optimism that this visit by the international body would boost the clamour for the implementation of the reports.