By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a total of N20.1 billion for the procurement of various operating equipment for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, disclosed this on Wednesday to State House Correspondents at the end of the weekly FEC meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja and presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The council also approved N539.3 million for the construction of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) building at the Ilupeju Medium and Small Taxpayers’ office, according to the Minister.
The Minister further said that a total of 427 operating vehicles worth N14.55 billion and nine assorted gunboats worth N5.6 billion were all approved for Customs contracts.
“The ministry also presented, on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, a memo that was seeking for Council’s approval for the design, construction and supply of two NC36M patrol boats, in favour of Messrs of Boat Plus Limited, in the sum of N5,062,530,400, inclusive of 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) with a delivery period of 12 months and council approved our request.
“We also presented a memo, again on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, for the approval of council for the design, construction and supply of seven fast assault patrol boats and seven regular patrol boats, in favour of Messrs Siwa West Africa Limited, in the sum of N501,472,471.08, inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT with a delivery period of eight weeks.
“The purpose of the purchase of these two types of patrol boats is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of operations of the Nigerian Customs Service in its bid to control smuggling and also ensure enhanced efficiency in all customs duty operations in the Marine Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service.
“We also presented, again on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service, a request for Council’s approval and council approved the procurement of 427 operational vehicles for the Nigerian Customs Service operations in favour of various contractors in the combined sum of N14.55 billion, inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT with a delivery period of four weeks,” she said.
On his part, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, speaking on behalf of Minister of State for Education, Mr Emeka Nwajiuba, also revealed that council approved a project for the extension of the University of Ibadan’s library worth N532 million.
“The Minister of Education also presented a memo for the award of contract for the construction and furnishing of the extension of the library of the University of Ibadan. The memo, which was approved, is at the cost of N532,609,000 and with a completion period of 48 weeks.
“It was a memo that was very well received because of the need to actually extend the library facility in the University. For many years, the library of the University of Ibadan had needed real extension, given a surge of the student population,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu Promises Justice for Sound Engineer David Imoh
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has promised to ensure that the late Sound Engineer killed by a mob in the Lekki area of the state last week gets justice.
The Governor gave this assurance through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, in a statement issued on Monday night.
Last week, after boarding a commercial motorcycle, an argument ensued between Mr David Imoh and the okada rider over N100 and attracted other riders, who then lynched him.
There have been calls for justice for the deceased and in the statement today, the state governor said this would be done.
He condemned the mob attack and said the police are interrogating four suspects at the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Panti in connection with the incident, while two survivors of the act are in hospital.
According to Mr Sanwo-Olu, the government will address the root cause of this and similar incidents, which have caused public anxiety, appealing to residents to remain calm as police continue to investigate the matter.
“Lagos has no room for savagery and anybody found to have been involved in this barbarism will surely face the law.
“We condemn and will not condone any kind of jungle justice, no matter who the perpetrators are,” the statement stressed.
N80bn Fraud: EFCC Arrests Accountant General of the Federation Ahmed Idris
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, is cooling off in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He is having talks with the agency, explaining what he knows about an alleged diversion of N80 billion belonging to the federal government.
He was picked up by operatives of the EFCC on Monday, May 16, 2022, after allegedly failing to honour invitations by the commission to respond to issues connected to the issue.
In a statement issued on Monday night, the anti-money laundering organisation claimed that Mr Idris, through verified intelligence, “raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.”
“The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja,” another part of the statement disclosed.
The AGF has been in the news lately over an audit report, which indicted some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government of fraud.
Curbing Illicit Financial Flows Needs Global Framework—Owasanoye
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr Bolaji Owasanoye, has rallied a global action against Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), including a call for a global framework on IFFs similar to corruption.
Mr Owasanoye made this call at a side event of the ongoing hybrid 54th Conference of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) taking place in Dakar, Senegal.
According to a statement issued by the ICPC’s spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, the conference would focus on regional efforts to track, recover and return stolen assets from Africa through the IFFs.
She said that the meeting was attended by representatives of member countries of the Economic Community for Africa, heads of anti-corruption agencies and international bodies.
Addressing the meeting virtually, the ICPC boss emphasised the need for a global framework on IFFs as part of a determined commitment to tackle the menace.
“The challenge we found ourselves today is that the rules have always been skewed in favour of those who export capital and against those who import capital. Corruption is a global issue and we have a global framework for corruption.
“The IFFs is also a global issue but does not have a global framework.
“A way out of the problem is to institute a global framework on IFFs which, among others, will address the huge financial losses suffered by African countries,” the ICPC chairman stated.
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war had complicated the financial resources of African countries, hence the need to tackle the IFFs and stop the further haemorrhage of the financial resources on the continent.
Further to the global framework on IFFs, Owasanoye also proffered legal and policy measures that should be implemented by African countries to address the IFFs risk.
These legal and policy measures, according to the ICPC boss include a review of agreements entered into with Multinational Corporations (MNCs), a review of inimical double taxation agreements.
Others are the enactment of laws, rules or regulations on unexplained wealth orders or lifestyle audits, introduction of civil forfeiture of assets and beneficial ownership standards; and design of a framework for trans-digital transactions.
The ICPC chairman also advocated tougher measures against corrupt state officials who collude with the MNCs against their countries.
“African countries must understand that the MNCs split contracts.
“The juicy parts of the contracts with MNCs are domiciled in their home countries while the non-juicy parts of the contracts are domiciled in Africa.
“We need to deal with the MNCs’ collaboration by government officials who look the other way in international agreements,” he said.
In her remarks, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mrs Rebecca Grynspan, said the global economy was under enormous stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia–Ukraine war, and climate change.
She noted that IFFs posed a huge challenge to African countries in realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We are aware of the increasing rates which make it more difficult and harder for African countries to access finance.
“The African economies are also feeling the impact of the Russia – Ukraine war and thereby widening the financing gap.
“Africa requires US$2.45 trillion to meet its SDG financing gap. We can close half of the SDG financing gap for Africa if we are able to curb IFFs.
“We, therefore, cannot continue to allow the billions of dollars of IFFs slipping out of Africa every year,” she said.
She added that “The IFFs and Asset Recovery are more critical to Africa today. Both are required by African Countries to achieve the SDGs.”
She emphasised the need for data and collaboration among African institutions like Customs and Central Banks as a necessary condition for tracking the IFFs.
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