Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, Monday, identified harsh and hostile operating environment, poor basic infrastructure, insecurity and policy flip flops as disincentives to both local and foreign investments in Nigeria.
Governor Oborevwori also remarked that the nation’s tax-to-GDP ratio was low because of the harsh operating business environment and called for the removal of institutional bottlenecks to the ease of doing business in the country.
He stated this in his keynote address at the 2023 Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) retreat with the theme: “Creating a resilient economy through diversification of the nation’s reserve base” held at the Events Centre, Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Represented by his Deputy, Sir Monday Onyeme, Governor Oborevwori frowned at the non-committal of the CBN to be responsive to the clarity and correctional demands made to it by FAAC, about the management of the Federation Account.
He also called on the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to quickly verify the data earlier submitted by the three tiers of government.
According to the Governor, Nigeria’s tax to GDP ratio is comparatively low, about 10-12%, which makes the country vulnerable to disruptions in the global economy.
“A strong, resilient, and competitive economy requires a flourishing private sector. But there are problems. Structurally, the private sector is largely weak, unorganised, and challenged.
“The operating environment is harsh and hostile to the ease of doing business. Poor basic infrastructure such as electricity, water, transportation, and security, is a strong disincentive to investments, local or foreign.
“Also, frequent policy flip flops and an inefficient bureaucracy are anything but helpful to the ease of doing business in Nigeria,” he stated.
While commending members of FAAC for their commitment and dedication to duty and for the correction of wrong computations and refunds to oil-producing states of the Federation, the Governor added that much work still needs to be done on the payments of 13% derivation, since the coming into force of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
“Since the implementation of the PIA, a lot of concerns have been raised by stakeholders of this sector in respect of the new roles of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) as it affects inflows of revenue into the Federation Account. I hope that this retreat will address these concerns and lay them to rest permanently.
“Tax is the dividend of a thriving private sector. For us to reap the benefits, we need to, as a matter of exigency, remove the institutional bottlenecks that make the cost of doing business in Nigeria unbearably high.
“It is only after we have done this that we can realistically expect to widen the tax base and diversify the economy. It is inevitable that where the cost of doing business is frustratingly high, tax evasion and tax avoidance will be pervasive.
“In conclusion, it is my considered view that the issue of economic diversification must move beyond rhetoric.
“Concrete, measurable steps need to be taken now to facilitate non-oil exports, expand the revenue base, and make economic diversification a reality.
“Here in Delta State, for instance, we have created a Trade and Export Unit to drive the process. Let me also stress that in seeking to facilitate the growth of non-oil exports as canvassed, there is a compelling need to ensure that the oil and gas sector is consistently operating at its optimum,” Oborevwori said.
Earlier in his welcome remark, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Chief Olawale Edun, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Okokon Ekanem, appreciated Governor Oborevwori and the Delta State Government for accepting to host the retreat.
He said in six months of the Bola Tinubu administration, the nation had witnessed important reforms such as Petroleum subsidy removal, fiscal and monetary policy reforms aimed at removing multiple taxation, streamlining and simplifying tax administration as well and achieving a single foreign exchange market.
He said the reforms have gained commendations not only from experts in Nigeria but by international development partners such as the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank among others.
“We believe these reforms are what Nigerians need at this point and we are on course to achieving the objectives of these reforms.
“The Federation Account is witnessing improved revenue inflows since the removal of subsidy from the average of N650 billion monthly to over N1 trillion in the last four months.
“Government has long realised that Petroleum subsidy is unsustainable giving that erodes revenues that should have been used to fund viable expenditures that are critical to the well-being of the populace.
“As we continue to implement our policies, we will remain mindful of the needs and welfare of Nigerians.
“We all know that achieving tax revenue to GDP target of 22 per cent and tax to GDP of 18 per cent by 2026 is part of the terminal objectives of this administration.
“However, in doing that, we appreciate the need not to overburden the taxpayers by introducing so many new taxes. What is necessary to be done is to broaden the tax base, simplify and streamline tax administration for ease of collection,” Edun stated.
The retreat is being attended by Commissioners of Finance, Accountants-General of States, NNPCL, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Customs, and other revenue generation organs of government.
Instagram Unveils Improved Editing Tools For Creators, Users
Instagram has announced new and improved editing tools to help creators and users better express their creativity on the app. The new tools include several improvements to reels and exciting new updates for feed photos, carousels, and stories, that make it easier to create directly within the Instagram app.
For reels, enhanced video editing tools help users express creativity and tell the story they want to, all within the app. In the feed, new filters for photos and carousels will explore different tones and moods for posts. In addition to the editing tools, Instagram has also built new tools to help creators better understand their performance.
The full suite of updates includes:
Reel editing updates: We’re rolling out new fonts to level up text on reels, and updating editing individual clips with the ability to zoom/crop/rotate; undo and redo edits; and 10 new text-to-speech voices.
Audio updates: On reels, we’re launching the ability to add clips with audio from movies, TV shows,s or your own created audio to your reels from our new media clip hub.
New feed photo filters: We’re launching brand-new photo filters for feed posts and carousels.
Performance insights for creators: understand your Reels performance with a new metric, Reels Replays.
Custom Stickers: make your Reels or Stories stand out by turning part of any photo or video.
2024 Budget: Obi Queries N20.5bn Proposal For VP’s House
Peter Obi, the Labour Party Presidential flag bearer in the country’s last general election, has once again yelled at the level of waste in the APC administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Obi, who had just blasted the government for sending over 1400 delegates to COP28 as wasteful, has now slammed the administration for proposing over N20 billion in refurbishment and construction of a new office space for the Vice President.
The LP standard bearer said he is still studying the N27.5 trillion budget presented to the National Assembly last week, but could not wait to wonder at the level of waste on nonessential things when the people are suffering and dropping into multi-dimensional poverty in droves.
Reacting in his X handle on Monday Obi said “Even as I am still studying the 2024 fiscal budget as presented to the National Assembly last week, I cannot wait as am compelled to ask what is exactly wrong with us as a country.
‘I ask this question because it is hard for me to understand some of the recent happenings in our nation, in these critical times.
‘The recent news about a budget provision of N15 billion for the construction of a new residence for the Vice President is both shocking and disheartening, considering the many important challenges facing our nation.
Obi recalled that “Just recently in the Supplementary Budget, the sum of N2.5 billion was included for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Abuja, which means that he already has a residence. Again, during the budget presentation, I heard the sum of N3 billion was allocated for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Lagos. If we total all these sums, we would have budgeted the sum of N20.5 billion for the housing of the Vice President at this critical time when we are not just the world’s poverty capital, but more people falling into poverty, with so many Nigerians not knowing where their next meal will come from”
“Our health facilities have collapsed, and unemployment is skyrocketing. I am convinced that 99.9% of Nigerians can only dream of living in the current residence of the Vice President.
The LP standard bearer also noted that ‘ Several people employed in the universities are not being paid. Just to give an example, the salary of a professor in a Nigerian university is about N400,000, which without removing tax is about N5 million a year. What we have budgeted for the housing of the Vice President who is already luxuriously housed is, therefore, the annual salary of about 3000 professors!
“This is the finance needed to develop the much-needed human capital.
“The budget of N5 billion for student loans, which is yet to be disbursed is only a tiny percentage of the cost of the Vice President’s new home.
According to the former Anambra state Governor, “We are projecting to use four times the amount for educating ALL Nigerian indigent students to house the Vice President, and we are being told there is nothing wrong with us”
“I am sure the major teaching hospitals in Nsukka, Lagos, Ibadan, and Zaria did not receive this much capital vote in the budget this year.
“We have had leaders that were exemplary in the past. Most Nigerians may not know that the popular 1004 flats in Lagos, was land allocated for the building of a Presidential Mansion for the then Head of State, General Murtala Mohammed but he “sternly turned down the offer and instructed that the land should be used to build blocks of flats for civil servants. That is the kind of sacrificial leadership worth emulating.
“Our leaders must therefore stop the recklessness and insensitivity to the plight of the masses. We need leaders who show compassion and are willing to sacrifice for common progress and development. Such compassionate and frugal leaders are critical in our journey to the New Nigeria”
DCSL Set To Launch Innovative Boardroom App, Marks 10 Years Of Excellence
DCSL Corporate Services Limited, a leading corporate service firm is set to celebrate a decade of professional excellence and launch an innovative boardroom app – “The DCSL e-Connect App” on Friday 8th December 2023.
Bisi Adeyemi, Managing Director of DCSL, reflected on the significant milestones achieved in the past decade and reiterated the Company’s commitment to delivering unparalleled professional services across its bouquet of offerings to diverse sectors of the economy.
“Our ten-year journey has been propelled by an unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional professional service to a diverse range of corporate and individual clients across various business sectors.
“The introduction of the DCSL eConnect app marks a pivotal moment, as we embark on a new era of transformative possibilities, reinforcing our dedication to innovation and precision in communication and collaboration within the boardroom.
“This celebration marks not only a milestone in our journey but also a testament to our commitment to excellence and innovation in the corporate services landscape”.
The DCSL eConnect App is designed to elevate boardroom communication, and collaboration and redefine efficiency. The innovative App will empower Boards and c-suite executives to efficiently manage meetings, streamline access to and retrieval of documents, facilitate approvals, and conduct polls and performance evaluations, all while ensuring compliance and tracking company plans.
The exclusive event will be graced by key stakeholders, clients, business leaders, and media partners.