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We will turn Ogbomoso zone to an industrial hub — Makinde



…As Gov. meets CAN, Muslim clerics in Oriire LG

Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has declared that his administration was set to turn the five local governments in Ogbomoso zone into Agro-Industrial Processing Zones.

The Governor, who made the promise during separate meetings with the leadedship of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Muslim clerics in Ikoyi-Ile, Oriire Local Government Area of the state,  said that his administration will explore the potentials of each of the local governments.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa quoted Makinde as saying that his administration was determined to industrialise the state so as to provide employment opportunities for the youths.

While addressing CAN leaders at the First Baptist Church, Ikoyi-Ile, as part of his campaign tour of Oriire Local Government on Tuesday, Makinde maintained that the state is progressing in terms of economic emancipation.

He added that the present administration has laid the necessary foundation for economic prosperity of the state by connecting all the zones in the state.

The Governor expressed confidence that infrastructure projects done by his government will stand the test of time because of the quality of work, while pledging that residents of the state would get more if he is re-elected as Governor.

He said, “When the zonal chairman was speaking, he said they will rejoice with us on March 11th, but I want to say that you all would rejoice with us first on February 25th. We will rejoice with Wolekanle, Onireti and other candidates of our party on that day.

“I have noted a few of the things you said, especially the issue of grading of rural roads.

“We have put something in place to help us in fixing the rural roads. But what it means is that the effort is not enough and we have to put in more. So, I promise you that we will do the needful soon.

“For most of the things we are doing, we are laying foundation gradually, and one of the major foundations is to connect our zones together. If our people can farm, operate in a safe and secure environment, access infrastructure to transport their produce, it means we are getting somewhere in terms of economic emancipation. So, we will continue to push the frontier, and under Omituntun 2.0, we will do better.

“If you examine all the infrastructure projects that this administration has done, you will realise they are still strong and can last for the next 20 years. So, we don’t need to spend on the projects we have completed in the past, and we only have new projects to do in the new dispensation.

“I equally noted what you said about those disturbing our farmers from going to their farms. It is actually a concern to me also. I signed into law the anti-open grazing law because we saw the need to sanitise that area. But we appreciate the Amotekun operatives for what they are doing because I receive weekly report from them.

“They intervened in most places, on the issue of farmers/herders clashes.

“The only thing I can tell you at this point is to listen to your leadership.

“A decision is about to be taken in the next couple of weeks and I can tell you that the decision will be major for Nigeria. So, pray fervently. The best thing I can do is what I am doing right now; to convince people to vote for my re-election.”

The Governor urged the people to vote for PDP candidates on February 25, adding that the candidates vying for Senate and Reps seats are also his candidates.

“If you vote for Wolekanle and Onireti, who are the candidates of our party for the National Assembly, as well as my deputy and I, we will work together and Oyo State will be better for it,” he added.

Earlier in his remarks, the General Secretary CAN, Ogbomoso zone, Rev. Sunday Olojede, commended Governor Makinde on various laudable projects his administration has embarked upon in the zones.

Similarly, Governor Makinde also met with the leadership of Ikoyi-Ile Muslim Community at the Ikoyi-Ile Central Mosque, where he charged the Muslim Ummah to work hand in hand and cooperate with his government and to also re-elect him so that he can continue to move the state from poverty to prosperity.

While thanking them for their prayers,  Governor Makinde noted that their demands will be addressed in due course.

He said, “In 2019, I lost Oriire LG but I won’t count that. I will continue to do the needful for this local government. So, I want to beg of you this time around and want to use this LG as a good example, going forward.

“I expect 90 per cent of your votes for the PDP in the coming election.

“The Chief Imam said that there is always a rapid development around where there is higher institution but I will say that more developments get to an industrialised location.

“Yes, you have an expansive land in Oriire LG and it is a candidate for a major processing industry. And under Omituntun 2.0, I am promising you that a processing industry is coming to this local government.

“If there is a space for higher institution, we will establish one here, but I will not promise what we cannot deliver. The number one priority for us as a government is security, which we know will enable our farmers to go to their farms unhindered. We are also prioritising infrastructure because before I got here, while passing through Olokoto, Tewure and the rest, I saw bags of yam flour almost in front of every household. Even this morning, I stopped at a point where I plucked cashew and ate.

“Why can’t cashew processing firm be here? What about our children who are yet to be employed? Industrialisation will provide jobs for our people.

“Let me use this opportunity to thank you for your support and prayers. But I still want to appeal to you to vote for our party’s candidates on February 25th and for me on March 11th.

“Before I got here, they already told me you want an upgrade to Omituntun 2.0. Majority of our out-of-school-children are back in schools now because they no longer pay the N3,000 levy.

“Amotekun, which is our creation, was not there before 2019. We are also working on the interconnectivity of our zones.

“Our workers get paid on the 25th of every month. So, I have come to you today, again, because of all the things we have done, and not to have a repeat of what happened in 2019. This time around, let’s work together to win this LG.

“We are constructing a road from Ogbomoso to Iseyin. We have done that of Iseyin to Ibadan with a dry port. This means we can now export things to other countries from here. That is Omituntun 2.0.”

The two meetings featured special prayers for the Governor and the state at large.

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2024 Budget: SERAP condemns Wike’s proposal to allocate N15bn for VP’s residence, N2.8bn for publicity



…Urges senate to reject wasteful spending in supplementary budget

…Calls on EFCC, ICPC to investigate alleged spending of previous allocated N7bn for VP’s residence construction

By Sodiq Adelakun

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on Senate President Godswill Akpabio to reject the plan by FCT Minister Nysom Wike to spend N15 billion on a residence for Vice President Kashim Shettima.

SERAP, in a letter dated December 2, 2023, and signed by deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, urged Akpabio to exercise the Senate’s authority and constitutional oversight roles by rejecting the proposed N2.8 billion for publicity by the FCTA, as well as any other wasteful and unnecessary spending in the 2023 supplementary budget and the 2024 budget proposed by President Bola Tinubu.

SERAP has criticised the plan to allocate N15 billion for a new residence for the vice president, stating that it violates the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international obligations regarding corruption and human rights.

The group has called on the Senate to ensure that Governor Wike’s proposed expenditure aligns with constitutional provisions and his oath of office.

SERAP has also emphasised that the National Assembly, including the Senate, has a constitutional duty to address Nigeria’s debt crisis by rejecting extravagant and unnecessary spending that caters to the personal comfort and lifestyles of public officials.

The letter read in part, “The National Assembly cannot continue to fail to fulfil its oversight function. The Senate must assert and demonstrate its independence by checking and rejecting all wasteful and unnecessary spending by the executive.

“It would be a grave violation of the public trust and constitutional oath of office for the Senate to approve the plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president at a time when the Federal Government is set to spend 30 percent (that is, N8.25 trillion) of the country’s 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion on debt service costs.

“The Federal Government also plans to borrow N7.8 trillion to fund the 2024 budget. Nigeria’s public debt stood at 87.4 trillion naira as of June with 38 percent owed to external creditors including multilateral and commercial lenders.

“Should the Senate and its leadership fail to stop wasteful and unnecessary spending and rein in government borrowing, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly including the Senate to discharge its constitutional oversight roles in the public interest.

“SERAP urges you to refer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) the allegations of corruption in the spending of the previously approved N7 billion for the construction of a new residence for the vice president.

“The ‘construction’ was reportedly abandoned but the whereabouts of the N7 billion remain unknown.

“The Senate has the constitutional competence and legitimacy to compel compliance with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international obligations.

“The Senate ought to assert its authority and vigorously exercise its constitutional oversight roles to check the apparently wasteful and unnecessary spending by Mr Wike especially given the growing debt crisis and the indiscriminate borrowing by the government.

“It is a travesty and a fundamental breach of the lawmakers’ fiduciary duties for the National Assembly to allow the executive to use the national budget as a tool to satisfy the comfort and lifestyle of public officials.

“Nigerians have a right to honest and faithful performance by their public officials including lawmakers, as public officials owe a fiduciary duty to the general citizenry.

“Cutting the N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ from the FTCA budget would be entirely consistent with your constitutional oath of office, and the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution, as it would promote efficient, honest, and legal spending of public money.

“According to our information, the Minister of the FCT, Nysom Wike and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) plan to spend N15 billion for the construction of ‘a befitting residence’ for the Vice-President, Mr Kashim Shettima.

“The plan is contained in the N67 billion FCT supplementary budget which President Bola Tinubu had on Tuesday transmitted to the National Assembly for approval.

“SERAP notes that Mr Wike proposed plan to spend N15 billion on a new residence for the vice president despite the recent allocation of N2.5 billion for the renovation of the current residence of the VP in the federal government’s supplementary budget already passed by the National Assembly and signed by President Tinubu.

“The House of Representatives has reportedly approved the plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president.

“The National Assembly has also approved another N3 billion for the renovation of the vice president’s residence in Lagos State. Mr Wike also plans to spend N2.8 billion on publicity for the FCTA.

“The proposed plan to spend 15 billion on a ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president is different from the N100 billion for the FCT contained in the federal government supplementary budget.

“SERAP notes that the Federal Government has also budgeted N8 billion on the two official residences of President Tinubu in Abuja and Lagos.

“On top of the planned spending of N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president, billions of naira have been allocated for the purchase of cars for the Villa and the Office of the First Lady.

“Section 14(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] provides that, ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

“Under Section 16(1)(a)(b), the National Assembly including the Senate has the obligations to ‘harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy’, and to ‘secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen.’

“Under sections 59(2) and 299 of the Nigerian Constitution, the National Assembly including the Senate has legislative powers over money bills including the proposed N15 billion, and other wasteful and unnecessary spending by the Federal Government.”

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FIRS grants waiver on penalties, interests on outstanding tax liabilities till December 31



The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has granted a full waiver on accumulated penalties and interests for outstanding tax liabilities.

Chairman of the revenue service, Zacch Adedeji, made the decision known in a notice personally signed by him and made available to newsmen through his Special Adviser on Media, Dare Adekanmbi.

The agency imposes penalties and interests for failure by companies to fulfil their tax obligation as and when due as stipulated in extant tax laws.

Adedeji said the forgiveness of piled up penalties and interests was “in recognition of the challenges that many taxpayers have faced in settling their outstanding tax liabilities.”

According to him, the concession also syncs with the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to support businesses to flourish.

He explained that full payment of outstanding original tax liabilities without interest on or before the 31st of December this year must be done by companies wishing to benefit from the peculiar concession.

“Taxpayers are advised that the waiver of interest is subject to the full settlement of outstanding principal on or before 31 December, 2023.

“Please note that the full penalty and interest shall be reinstated after the expiration of this one-off concession window where the outstanding undisputed liability remains fully or partially unpaid.

“FIRS appreciates all taxpayers who have been diligent in complying with their tax obligations as and when due, while seeking their continued support and cooperation for a more responsive and robust tax system,” Adedeji said.

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UBA bags African Bank of the Year, eight other awards at The Bankers Award in London



United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has bagged the African Bank of the Year at the Bankers Awards 2023, organised by The Banker Magazine, a publication of Financial Times of London, the world’s leading business newspaper.

This is as the Bank also clinched eight other awards across its subsidiaries solidifying its position as the leading financial institution on the African continent.

The Bank’s subsidiaries also emerged as the Bank of the Year in eight of the 20 countries where it operates in Africa. The winning subsidiaries are UBA Cameroon, UBA Chad, UBA Ghana, UBA Cote d’Ivoire, UBA Mozambique, UBA Congo,  UBA Sierra Leone, and UBA Tanzania, underscoring the bank’s dominance and impact across diverse African markets. It is noteworthy that this would be the second time in the past three years that the Bank has won the regional award as the best bank in Africa, as it had emerged winner in 2021.

UBA’s Group Managing Director, Oliver Alawuba, who received the awards on behalf of the bank, expressed his gratitude and excitement about the awards, and said the recognitions come as a reassurance that the bank is on track in its goal of consolidating its leadership position in Africa, and creating superior value for its stakeholders.

“UBA is honoured to be named the Bank of the Year in these eight countries and to receive the overall Award for Africa. This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit of the entire UBA team. We remain committed to delivering top-notch banking services that positively impact the lives of our customers across the continent.”

Continuing, Alawuba said, “We have our millions of customers across the globe and our many thousands of staff to thank for this. They are the very reason why we keep winning and receiving these accolades.”

The Banker Awards is widely recognised as a benchmark for banking excellence globally, and UBA’s multiple victories underscore the institution’s commitment to providing exceptional financial services and superior financial intermediation on the continent. As Africa’s Bank of the Year, UBA has demonstrated its ability to navigate the complexities of the African banking landscape and emerge as a leading force in driving economic growth and financial inclusion.

Speaking earlier about UBA’s consistent excellence in the financial services sector across the continent which has earned the bank great accolades overtime, Editor of The Banker, Joy Macknight, said that as always, “UBA remains a clear winner across a wide range of criteria, having performed impressively across its footprint with a strong financial performance across most of its markets.

“In a year of strong competition among the continent’s major banking groups, UBA has gained the edge on its rivals to win the Bank of the Year award for Africa for the 2nd time in three years. Congratulations. The award recognises the bank’s strength across Africa, including many of its most competitive markets,” Macknight stated.

Since 1926, the Bank of the Year awards has been celebrating the best of global banking and is regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence.

Just recently, UBA won the 2023 FMDQ Gold Awards in three Categories including the Best FX Liquidity Provider,  Dealing Institution of the Year and Best Money Market Liquidity Provider. This recognition is a testament to UBA’s impressive capital strength and capacity to provide liquidity to the Nigerian financial market even in the face of harsh economic realities. Despite the headwinds, UBA Group has consistently maintained its position as Nigeria’s leading financial institution.

In June, the banking group announced impressive half-year financial results, and further increased the performance in Quarter 3, 2023, with profit before tax (PBT) soared to N502.01 billion, Shareholders’ Funds standing strong at N1.778 trillion, and total assets, reaching N16.24 trillion.

These outstanding figures not only reflect UBA’s institutional strength, but also demonstrate its position as a corporate role model in Nigeria and across Africa.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than thirty-five (35) million customers, across 1,000 business offices and customer touch points in 20 African countries. With presence in New York, London, Paris, and Dubai, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.

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