Reps approve N278bn budget for FCT, N238bn for Customs
...probe telecom firms’ alleged tax evasion
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has criticised the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for delaying the construction of 10 railways stations along the Lagos-ibadan standard gauge rail line.
Amaechi described the situation as “embarrassing,” saying the engineering company had reduced the pace of work between the previous two inspections he had in November and December.
The minister said this on Friday while inspecting the railway station at Abeokuta, Ogun State, which is under construction.
The visit was part of the minister’s monthly inspection of the ongoing 156 kilometres Lagos-ibadan rail project, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.
Amaechi said, “The delay is becoming an embarrassment and I think we need to meet with the CCECC. We cannot continue like this.
“The speed has reduced drastically this time; we need to meet with the management of CCECC. We have a problem with CCECC, honestly.”
Apart from the Abeokuta railway station, the minister also said he was displeased with the work pace by CCECC at Agbado, Kajola, Papalanto.
Amaechi reminded the contractor of its promise to finish the railway stations within three months, insisting that the stations should be completed by the end of January 2020.
Should the contractor be facing the problem of shortage of workers, he urged them to engage workers who were ready to work.
According to the minister, all reasons the contractor is not progressing with the work should be tackled as soon as possible to ensure the delivery of the stations.
Amaechi said the blockwork, flooring, plastering and pipe laying at the stations ought to have been hastened for the stations to be inaugurated in April 2020.
Apart from the Lagos-ibadan rail stations construction being delayed, Amaechi also decried that three years after the doing the foundations laying of the Abuja-kaduna standard gauge rail line, the contractor was still at the site working on power.
The House of Representatives has approved the budget of the Federal Capital Territory for 2020, totalling N278,355,365,947.
Out of the figure, N55,878,241,095 is set aside for personnel cost and N62,343,723,435 for overhead cost, while the balance of N160,133,401,417 is for capital expenditure.
The approval followed the adoption of the report by the Committee on FCT and FCT Area Council and Ancillary Matters.
The report was considered by the Committee of Supply and adopted by the House.
The National Assembly, through a federal parliament, legislates over the country’s capital, the FCT, Abuja.
The House also on Friday passed the 2020 budget of the Nigeria Customs Service, following the adoption of the report by the Committee on Customs and Excise.
Of a total budget of N238,149,325,832.70, the sum of N98,606,217,521.96 is for personnel cost; N15,952,305, 336.72 for overhead cost, while N123,590,802,974.40 is for capital projects for the year ending on December 31, 2020.
The committee, in its report, said the N238bn budget was in tandem with the (2020-2022) Medium Term Expenditure Framework (and Fiscal Strategy Paper) approved by the National Assembly.
The committee recommended “that seven per cent cost of collection for the year 2020 of N112,424,425,326.22 being projected revenue available to the service be approved; that the two per cent Value Added Tax share of the NCS for the year 2020 of N7,500,000,000 available to the service be approved.
“That 60 per cent share of Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme of N42,407,351,757 for the year 2020 intervention fund from the CISS be approved; that the Share of Target Surplus for the year 2020 of N9,400,000,000 be approved for the Nigeria Customs Service to complete the head office complex.
“That the intervention fund of 2018 received in 2019 of N17,000,000,000 for the year 2020 be approved for the service; that the outstanding funds of N49,417,548,749.48 need to be approved for the service; that the intervention fund (Special) of N17,000,000,000 be approved for the service; and that the suspense account of N4,127,712,340.29 be approved for the service.”
In another development, the House at the plenary on Friday adopted a motion moved by the member representing Ukwa East/ Ukwa West Federal Constituency, Mr Uzoma Nkem-abonta, and titled ‘Motion of Urgent Public Importance on Need to Investigate
Payment and Remittances of Taxes Accruable to the National Information Technology Development Fund Established by the National Information Technology Development Agency Act 2007.’
Following the adoption of the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Information and Communication Technology to “investigate payment and remittance of tax accruable to the NITDF by GSM service providers and all telecommunication companies as well as cyber companies and internet providers since 2008 till date.”
Moving the motion, Nkemabonta said, “The House is concerned about reports of nonpayment and underpayment of taxes accruable to the NITDF by licensed mobile network operators, international data access licence owners, interconnect clearing house licence owners, cyber companies and internet providers, international gateway licence owners, unified access licence owners, and the international submarine cable and international landing station licence owners.
“The House is alarmed that the reports suggest that from the end of the 2008 financial year, when the NITD tax became operational, till date, the taxable companies such as Glo and Airtel have only paid tax for four years while 9mobile has not paid at all.”
Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has threatened to demote a permanent secretary and directors if they failed to pay the salaries of local government workers before the end of Friday, December 20, 2019.
In a terse statement signed on behalf of the governor by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) Mr Christian Ita, the governor said he was displeased that the workers had not been paid even when money had been made available since November.
The governor warned that “failure to achieve this mandate will attract dire disciplinary measures, including demotions.”
Meanwhile, the Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya, has directed the immediate payment of the December salaries to all civil servants in the state and their counterparts at the local government level.
According to a press statement by the media aide to the governor, Ismaila Misilli, the order was inspite of the nonremittance of monthly Federation Accounts allocation to the states.
The governor ordered the state Ministry of Finance to ensure that all workers were paid their wages and entitlements today (Friday), December 20, even if it meant putting in ‘extra hours of work’.
Yahaya reiterated his administration’s continued commitment to the welfare of civil servants through prompt payment of salaries and and other entitlements. have problems.
“What I am saying is that there are good and bad advisers. So if there is anything going wrong at all under the administration, it must be based on bad advisers and not that him, as an individual, will try to see that things are done badly.
“So, I think there is a mix up because some people do not understand what democracy is all about and only think it is all about lying to the people and not telling them the truth.”
He added, “I tell people that politics is not for people given to falsehood but sincere individuals who are desirous of helping the people and the society to solve their problems. Everybody tries to blame Mr President for every wrongdoing going on but he is just but one man.”
Useni also expressed concern over the security challenges facing the country.
• L-r:deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria , Ade Shonubi; Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Asue Ighodalo; Head of European Union delegation to Nigeria & ECOWAS, Amb. Ketil Karlsen; and President, European Business Organisation of Nigeria, Folashade Ambrosemedebem, at the EBO’S 1st anniversary in Lagos... on Friday. Photo: Odutayo Odusanya