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Be careful, I don’t want you mobbed over TraderMoni, Buhari warns Osinbajo

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President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed fears for the safety of his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

Buhari warned Osinbajo on the needs to be careful for his safety in the way he implement the TraderMoni, one of his administration Social Intervention Programmes (SIP).

The trader money programme is being implemented under the Vice President‘s office.

The President said he does not want Osinbajo to be mobbed in the process of giving out money to the traders.

Only last week the Vice President unveiled the second phase of TraderMoni and MarketMoni in Awka and Onitsha in Anambra State.

Beneficiaries receive funds ranging from N10, 000 for the TraderMoni and N50, 000 for the MarketMoni from the Bank of Industry (BoI) implementing the fund.

Buhari spoke Monday night when he hosted Osinbajo, members of the Federal Executive Council, Security Chiefs and Chief Executives of Federal Government Agencies to a breaking of fast at the Presidential Villa.

He warned Osinbajo to be careful with the way he moves from one market to the other.

“This `market money’ I warned the Vice-President I don’t like him to be mobbed, especially the way I see hefty women coming and confronting him, he should be very careful.

“These are very good initiatives. Initially, I was quite reluctant but I must admit that they are very good programmes and they endear this government to a lot of poor people because of these N5,000 or N10,000 being given to them as loans.

“They are fantastic programmes and I have to admit quite honestly that the vice president was ahead of me by insisting on them.

“But he knows me if he insists I will say `okay go and do what you like.’ He did it and I’m very pleased as he is being very successful,” he said.

Buhari also frowned at the inability of the elites to address the welfare and educational needs of the less-privileged in the country.

“When I drive around the country what upset me very much is the status of our poor people in this country. You see young people, the so-called Almajiris with tore dresses, with plastic bowl. They are looking basically for what to eat.

“The question of education (to them) is a luxury. I think Nigerian elite we are all failing because I think we should have a programme that will at least guarantee some basic education for our people no matter how poor they are.

“So, I welcome the Vice-President initiate of the School feeding programme.

‘’If you check in your localities the enrolment into schools improved because a lot of children can get at least one good meal a day. This is the position of this country.

“But, culturally some of us are quiet merciless, we don’t care about what happen to others we just keep on moving forward,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the cabinet members, Osinbajo thanked the President for inviting Muslims and Christians to the breaking of fast with him.

“Mr. President I must say that there are some reasons I had always look forward to the Ramadan session. But some of those reasons are now being seriously challenged.

“The first of those reasons is that during the Ramadan meetings are usually very short. But, unfortunately last Wednesday Mr. President seemed to have destroyed that very good notion by taking us through the longest FEC meeting in the history of the Federal Executive Council.

“So, we shouldn’t expect anymore that meeting will necessary be short during the Ramadan.

“The second is that some of my friends are far less troublesome during the Ramadan. People like Lai Mohammed, Abba Kyari, Adamu Adamu, they are usually very well behaved during the Ramadan. But I’m not even sure that that is true anymore.

“So, I think that all we can truly expect now from the session is possibility what it was meant to do which is to remind us of some of our responsibilities to ourselves as brothers and to our fellow men/women especially our roles as leaders.

“I think is auspicious that this particular Ramadan falls at the eve of the new term in office.

“So, it is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves over the core mandates which is the welfare and security of majority of our people,” he said.

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BUSINESS

FIRS to impose VAT on online transactions, says Fowler

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it will soon begin collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on online transactions.

The Chairman of the agency, Mr Babatunde Fowler, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Saturday.

Fowler said: “soon, we will ask banks to impose VAT on online transactions for purchases of goods and services.

“Not that it is something new; it actually should be in existence.

“We will certainly follow up to make sure that every VAT that is due to be collected is collected.”

He explained that the move was part of measures by FIRS to meet its N8 trillion revenue target for 2019.

Fowler said the agency had started taking action against companies and businesses that refused to embrace the Federal Government’s tax amnesty programme.

According to him, FIRS hopes to generate between N750 billion and N1 trillion from the clampdown, which includes closure of defaulters’ bank accounts.

“We are going after everybody. I am sure you have heard that we have placed lien on some accounts of defaulters that have a billion naira turnover annually.

“So certainly, we are not leaving anyone out of the tax net,” he said.

Officially known as the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, the tax amnesty programme was launched in 2017.

It gave tax defaulters a one-year period of grace to declare and settle their unpaid taxes.

There have been complaints by some taxpayers of being wrongly targeted by FIRS in the clampdown.

Asked to comment on that, Fowler admitted, blaming it on “administrative error,” arising from the huge number of accounts involved.

“Well, there is certainly one or two instances where we made administrative error, but when you are looking at over 50,000 accounts, there is a tendency that sometimes an error might be made.

“For those that we made errors on, I wrote them personally apologising and of course we lifted the lien on their accounts.”

On plans by the Joint Tax Board to raise the country’s tax population to 45 million, Fowler said the agency was relying on multiple information sources.

These, according to him, include the country’s Bank Verification Number database and sister agencies with relevant information.

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BUSINESS

How Nigeria came out of recession, by Emefiele

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Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele on Friday disclosed that after five consecutive quarters of negative growth beginning in the first quarter of 2016, a coordinated approach by the fiscal and monetary authorities supported a rebound in the nation’s economy during the second quarter of 2017.

He disclosed this while delivering a special convocation lecture of the University of Nigeria (UNN) at the Princess Alexendra Hall, Nsukka.

The CBN governor, who was also conferred with honorary doctorate degree of the institution, said the recovery has been driven largely by improved non- oil activities especially the agriculture sector, which he said expanded consistently by about 3.5 -4.3 percent reflecting government’s efforts at diversifying the economy.

“After 5 consecutive quarters of negative growth beginning in the 1st quarter of 2016, a coordinated approach by the fiscal and monetary authorities supported a rebound in the nation’s economy during the second quarter of 2017.

“This was nonetheless, reinforced by the pickup in the oil sector as oil prices rallied in 2017. The gradual reorientation of the economic structure towards the agriculture sector reflects the diversification drive of the government which was supported by the development finance initiatives of the CBN.

“The recovery has been sustained for seven consecutive quarters. The pace of quarterly GDP growth has improved from .5 percent in the second quarter of 2017 to 2.38 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018,” he stressed.

Emefiele however noted that challenges still remain such as ensuring that the pace of GDP growth remains well ahead of annual population growth at 3 percent.

He said that this can only be achieved if Nigerians continue to support efforts aimed at improving domestic production of goods in Nigeria.

He added proactive fiscal actions, especially, infrastructure investment were required to enhance economic growth.

The CBN governor further stated that universities have a considerable role to play in working with the private and public sector in supporting research and development of solutions that can be applied to enhance the growth of the economy.

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BUSINESS

MTN Lists Shares On Nigerian Stock Exchange

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Telecommunications giant MTN Nigeria has listed 20 billion ordinary shares at N90 per unit on the Premium Board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The official listing of the Johannesburg-based company took place on Thursday at the Stock Exchange House in Lagos.

Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Dr Paschal Dozie, led the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Ferdi Moolman, and other top members of staff of the company to the event.

The price values the telecoms company at N1.84 trillion.

MTN Nigeria decided to list its local company in the country on the NSE in 2016 after agreeing to pay a $1.7 billion fine to settle a sim card dispute with the Federal Government.

Nigeria accounts for a third of MTN’s annual core profit while indigenous investors own 19.4 per cent of the company.

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