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$5.4bn spent on Paris Club refund to states – Minister



The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on Monday disclosed that the Buhari administration has spent $5.4 billion to settle states’ Paris Club over deductions, $6.8 on Joint Venture Cash Calls and N1.9 trillion on Contractor/Export Expansion Grant (EEG), in its efforts toclear the debts and liabilities inherited from previous administration.

Speaking at a maiden quarterly media briefing in Abuja, Ahmed said additional N488 billion had been refunded to states to undertake Federal government projects.

According to her, the feats were achieved from 2015 till date despite the revenue shortfall that had plagued the Buhari administration.

The minister further revealed that the Whistleblower Unit of the ministry had recovered over N8.5 billion and $465 million among others from the 1,051 investigations conducted after tip offs that were received.

“The Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) under which over N35 billion was recovered with a significant recorded increase to our tax base.

Asset-tracing team that discovered assets that were not reported in the books of accounts of the Federation

“Going forward, we plan to launch Project Lighthouse that seeks to use big data analytics to provide intelligence to the tax authority on eligible taxpayers and their real taxable incomes and assets. As we plan to roll out the IPPIS to all other MDAs in 2019 and optimise Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), we are set for an improved PFM system that ensures

an efficient and cost- effective public service delivery for our citizens,” she explained.

Ahmed noted that through the Pension Commission (Pencom), the ministry had paid N54 billion to settle outstanding pension arrears from 2014 – 2016, as well as paying pensions claims up to March 2017.

“Based on verification outcome by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), we have also paid over 2,000 former workers of our defunct national carrier – Nigeria Airways Limited

“We are making monthly payments of 9,215 former workers of NITEL/Mtel after over 12 years via Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD). We have also paid over N571 million as gratuity and arrears to 174 Biafra War Affected Retired Police Officers (WARPRO) in October 2017,” she added.

The minister said plans were afoot to automate various revenue collection processes, such as the deployment of healthpay in the health sector, edupay in education and e-collections by our revenue authorities.

“We have seen revenue shore up to record-high levels. More specifically, FIRS deployed the e-services platform that has automated the end-to- end tax process from registration to collection of Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC).

“The tax initiatives spearheaded by FIRS also include the automation of VAT collection at source in some key sectors.

“Under my tenure as the Finance Minister, I intend to continue championing such digitalisation-transformation initiatives that have proven to be a good way forward for our revenue generation drive.

“In support of healthcare, we have committed up to US$21 million to invest in three healthcare projects which are being executed as public-private partnerships with three federal medical institutions under the management of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA),” she explained


Bush burning responsible for fire incident at FRCN, Kaduna — Official



The Kaduna State Fire Service has said bush burning was responsible for the fire incident at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in Kaduna.

Assistant Commandant of the service, Ayuba Yohanna, made the confirmation on Sunday in a phone conversation in Kaduna.

According to him, the fire started from bush burning at the back of the procurement office. He said the officers on duty rushed to the scene after receiving the distress call at around 1:45 pm.

Yohanna said two offices at the procurement department were affected with no lives lost or injuries.

Recall that Mohammed Malagi, Minister of Information and National Orientation, visited the station on Friday where he promised to carry out reforms at both the radio station and  NTA.

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Doctors appeal to LASG on improved welfare, as 15 die within six months



The Medical Guild has appealed to the Lagos State Government to prioritise the health and lives of healthcare workers, saying 15 doctors died within six months in the state.

The Chairman of Guild, Dr Sa’eid Ahmad, made the disclosure during a news conference ahead of the guild’s forthcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific Conference, on Sunday, in Lagos.

The Medical Guild is the association of medical doctors under the employment of the Lagos state government.

Ahmad noted that the past year has been particularly challenging for the guild due to ongoing co-morbidities exacerbated by manpower bleed and the attendant severe overwork among members at service points and a number of members’ deaths.

“The intensity of the attendant sense of loss was probably brought to its peak with the tragic event of collapsed elevator in the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos, which claimed the life of our young colleague, Late Dr Vwaere Diaso.

“This was to be followed by end-on-end demises of some additional colleagues, sometimes, multiple over a few days,” he said.

Ahmad stressed that the sad events serve as an inescapable wake-up call to intensify vigilance towards self-care, and deepen the level of engagement with the government to prioritise the health and lives of healthcare workers in the state.

“These, afterall, are the people in whose hands the health and lives of the people are entrusted,” he said.

To address the situation, Ahmad said that the guild, through a series of emergency General Assemblies and consultations, developed a comprehensive position paper.

He said the paper drew the attention of the state government to urgently take actions to salvage the spiraling health of the health workers.

Ahmad said that the document identified the roots of the welfare problems culminating in massive exodus, and proffered practical and workable solutions.

 ”We had demanded short, medium and long-term solution categories to these problems, including the basic need for healthcare workers to be able to obtain much needed care themselves within the system in which they work.

 ”This document has indeed formed the cornerstone of highest level policy discussions with the Government of Lagos state on behalf of our members.

“It is our hope that these discussions produce policy pronouncements and actionable directives at any moment,” he said.

He disclosed that the guild, through its Office of Social Welfare, spent N21.5 million in responding promptly to some of its sick members and support for families of bereaved members in times of loss.

The Chairman said the guild had embarked on housing mortgage and automobile facilities in a bid to provide members decent accommodation and mobility to ease their commuting to work.

Ahmad commended the government for resolving all issues of stagnation and demotion of In-service trained specialists and financial implementation of same since August 2023.

Speaking on the forthcoming AGM and Scientific Conference, Ahmad said that week-long activities, which began on Sunday, would feature medical outreach, cancer awareness campaign, lecture series, among others.

Ahmad noted that tapping into these intellectual reservoirs by health policy makers and other stakeholders would yield benefits.

 He said it would greatly enhance appropriate policy formulation and implementation strategies for the overall benefit of saving lives and improving wellbeing of the people.

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I will embark on constant raiding of black spots in Osun — CP Isyaku Mohammed



By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo

The New Commissioner Of Police, CP Isyaku Mohammed has said the State Command will embark on constant raiding of the black spots and criminals hideouts across the state.

The new CP disclosed this at the Police headquarters, Osogbo, State capital on Friday, said he has directed all formations to draw up action plans to actualise missions that will instantly arrest prevalent crimes in their areas to the barest minimum.

Mohammed stated that during his stay in the state as chief law enforcer he will provide credible leadership that is professional and accountable to the people through intelligence-led, community-oriented.

He noted that he is open to constructive criticisms and welcomes all manners of suggestions that will aid his administration in providing better police services to the good people of Osun State.

He urged the residents of the State to join forces with the State Command to make the State a peace-haven for all.

He said, “This occasion offers me an opportunity to meet with you, the Fourth Estate of the Realm, and invite you to share in my mission of making Osun state a safe haven and home of peace for all who live and carry-on legitimate businesses therein. Together we shall all chart a good course in policing the State; and I therefore, solicit for your generous cooperation in sustaining the already existing strong synergy and good working relationship between you and the officers of the Command.

“I want to clearly state that as the chief law enforcer of the state, my mission is to bring to reality the vision of the Inspector-General of Police of zero tolerance to corruption, a secured environment for citizens to thrive, policing with International best practices, upholding the Rule of Law, and Respect for fundamental Human Rights of all citizens.

“All these I shall strive hard to achieve, especially with the support of team-spirited Officers and men I met in the Command, together with the cooperation of other security agencies in the state and stakeholders such as the traditional rulers, religious leaders, public spirited associations, students and youth leaders etc; as security is a collective responsibility. I have no doubt that, together we shall fight all criminal elements in the State to a standstill and Osun State will not be a safe haven for criminals to breed.

“In arrival, I received briefings on the security state of the Command, especially with respect to pockets of prevalent crimes such as: Cultism, Rape/ Defilement, Land Grabbing, Communal clashes etc.

“This will be immediately followed by a tour of the formations for on the ground/spot assessment of every locality within the state to ascertain their peculiarities, as I lead this mission of keeping the state safe, from the front,” the CP added.

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