Reps ap­prove N278bn bud­get for FCT, N238bn for Cus­toms

...probe tele­com firms’ al­leged tax eva­sion

The Punch - - AUTO FA­MOUS - Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

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.”

and

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

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