The Senate on Monday called for a legal framework for the implementation of local content in other key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content, Sen. Teslim Folarin made the call in Abuja, during a two-day Joint Public Hearing on three bills.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the bills are: Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (SB.417).
Others are the Nigerian Local Content Enforcement Bill, 2020 (SB.419); and Nigerian Oil and Gas Industrialised Content Act, 2010(Repeal and Re-Enactment Bill, 2020 (SB.420).
Folarin said that the Nigerian Local Content Enforcement Bill, 2020 sought to consolidate on the gains of the implementation of local content component in the oil and gas industry.
“This is pursuant to the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, 2010.
“The bill also seeks to provide the needed legal framework for the implementation of local content in other key sectors of the economy, including power, ICT, construction and transportation, etc.
“The enactment of this Bill, will no doubt, provide the legal basis for the enforcement of the Presidential Executive Order No. 5 of Feb. 5, 2018, which seeks to improve local content procurement with regards to science, engineering and technology components of the economy,” Folarin said.
The chairman said that the rationale for separating the bill from the NOGICD Act was hinged on the peculiarity of the oil and gas industry which remained the bedrock of the nation’s economy.
“As a result, the sector requires specialised legislation for effective and efficient management of its operations and activities.
“Another reason for introducing this bill is to ensure that the governance structure of the NOGICD Act, is not distorted.
“This will place additional responsibilities on the implementation of the NOGICD Act, which will be counterproductive to the gains already recorded through the enactment of the Act.”
While declaring the forum open, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said that local content was additionally very important as it related to being effective in harnessing other opportunities from oil and gas production.
“In adding value to our economy from the oil and gas industry, we are responding to the call to expand our gains beyond resource revenue.”
Lawan, who was represented by Deputy Minority Whip, Sen. Philip Aduda, said that the significance of value was far-reaching in any system.
“They deal with substance. They are also of high quality, because it goes beyond a primary benefit, to the documentation of multiple avenues for content development.
“Content is value-adding, and enriching, aside from its ability to promote originality.
“Uniqueness further comes from good thinking, purposefulness and consistency in policy outlines, which also depends on good laws.
“With good laws, we can shape our activities for decency and for compliance with international best practices.
“Developing our capacities and capabilities from our human and material resources, aside from resource revenue in the oil and gas industry is one goal we have long identified.”
In his submission, Mr Charles Epelle, Manager, Nigerian Content Development of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, (NLNG) said that the vision of the company was to help build a better Nigeria.
“As a consequence of this, we recognise the significance of a robust local content law.”
Epelle said that local content laws helped to build capacity, makes the country competitive and provide employment for youths.
FCCPC: Electricity Topped Consumers’ Complaints In 2020
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it received the highest consumer related complaints from the electricity sector in 2020.
Speaking in Abuja on Sunday, Babatunde Irukera (pictured), chief executive officer of FCCPC, said the banking and telecommunication sectors ranked second and third respectively on the complaints chart.
He added that the aviation sector was ranked fourth.
“Our complaints resolution team is still a very small team of people and they are dealing with thousands of complaints,” Irukera said.
“We are looking at expanding capacity to have more hands handling the complaints but the real game changer in handling complaints better and faster is for companies to start doing it.
“The person who has the least open complaint in our resolution team has about 800 complaints across sectors and that is one person. If you multiply it by 12 to 15 persons, you will imagine the number of complaints.
“Being able to expand to a point where we are able to operate more efficiently, we will keep training, leveraging technology, the more we leverage technology, the more efficiently we can do our work.”
The commission was established by the 2018 Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) to promote fair, efficient and competitive markets in the Nigerian economy, facilitate access by all citizens to safe products, and protect the rights of all consumers in Nigeria.
FEC Approves CBN’s Request To Renovate National Theatre For N21b
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said on Wednesday that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the ministry of information and culture for the renovation of the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos.
He spoke at the end the weekly FEC meeting in Abuja.
The federal government, on July 12, 2020, handed over the national theatre to CBN and the bankers’ committee to signify the kick-start of the renovation process.
“This is a landmark approval because, it has paved the way for investment in the creative industry as part of the resolve of this government to create at least one million jobs in the next three years in the creative industry,” Mohammed said.
“The CBN and banker’s committee are willing to invest N21.894 billion to renovate, refurbish and commercialization (run it profitably) of the national theatre complex. The MoU has a life span of 21 years after which it will revert back to government.”
The minister assured that no job will be lost after the national theatre is renovated, adding that the “brand new national theatre, an event centre” will instead create more jobs.
Asides from this, FEC approved about N9.43 billion to complete the digital switch over (DSO) in broadcasting; N8.98 billion for a new national ICT park in the federal capital territory (FCT) to coordinate public and private ICT hubs in Nigeria.
The council also approved a new national policy on aging which would take care of the needs of the aged people across Nigeria; approved the ministry of water resources memo to construct Damaturu water supply project in Yobe state worth N8.43 billion.
Adesina identifies Debt Service As Greatest Risk To Nigeria
The President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has warned that debt service is Nigeria’s greatest risk, even as he urged the federal government to take steps to increase tax revenue in the face of dwindling oil income.
The Director of Communications and Liaison of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Abdullahi Ahmad, stated that he spoke virtually at the recently held First Annual National Tax Dialogue .
Dr. Adesina was quoted as saying that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s economy shrank “by 3% in 2020 on account of falling oil prices and the effects of the lockdowns on economic activities,” adding, “with shrinkage in oil revenues, debt service payments pose the greatest risk to Nigeria.”
He stressed further that for Nigeria to overcome the pandemic, “taxes must form a significant percentage of government revenue. Digitalization of tax collection and tax administration is critical to ensure greater transparency of the tax system, widening of the tax base, while mitigating compliance risks and encouraging voluntary tax compliance.”
Tax experts and stakeholders at the event called for the automation of tax collection by the FIRS through data and intelligence in order to ease tax collection, as well as, improve revenue.
Executive Secretary, African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), Mr. Logan Wort, harped on the place of technology in generating revenue for the country in a post-Covid economy.
Mr. Wort, who joined the dialogue virtually from South Africa, stated, “Domestic Resource Mobilisation (DRM) is expected to contribute at least 75% to 90% on average per country” in the post-Covid era, adding that Nigeria and other African countries should note, “improved tax revenue will have to take prime position” in the scheme of things.
He urged Nigeria to pay serious attention to e-commerce and the digital economy sector where big, trans-national digital conglomerates like Google, Netflix and Uber operate and make huge, tax-free profits as a possible way of increasing tax revenue generation.
He said Nigeria should borrow a leaf from Ghana in e-commerce taxation, projected to fetch Ghana $450 million in annual tax revenue.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was chairman of the Dialogue, was quoted as lauding the FIRS “for its performance in the 2020 fiscal year, despite operating in the most challenging period. The Service not only collected N4.9 trillion in taxes, achieving 98% of its target; only 30.6% of this was attributed to Petroleum Profits Tax, from what used to be over 50%”.
He urged participants to, “interrogate how Nigeria can further deepen the use of technology to improve tax compliance nationally and across sub-nationals.”