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2020 in focus: the need for collective action

27th Jan, 2020 | By David Dogo | ||

The year 2020 is here. I would like to wish all residents of the FCT a peaceful and productive new year. The expectations are no doubt very high and it is our hope and prayer that leaders at all levels will live up to these expectations.

Since the beginning of the year, so much has happened, an indication that so much lies ahead. I am hopeful that this year will bring forth peace, security, progress and unity.However, this is only possible when we work together as one people with a common destiny. Let me begin with the new year letter of President Muhammadu Buhari to Nigerians. It is quite a lengthy letter with so many assurances and promises to address the vexed issue of insecurity, diversification of the economy and sustained fight against corruption. On the issue of insecurity, the President said "Our security forces will receive the best training and modern weaponry, and in turn will be held to the highest standards of professionalism, and respect for human rights.

We will use all the human and emerging technological resources available to tackle kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery" This is quite re-assuring especially with the recent upsurge inkidnappings and killings by Boko Haram terrorists and bandits. Modern technology is key to winning this war and it is gratifying note that government is acquiring modern technology to strengthen this fight. The war has not been easy. As noted by the President, "We have been fighting on several fronts: violent extremists, cultists and organized criminal networks.

It has not been easy. But as we are winning the war, we also look to the challenge of winning the peace, the reconstruction of lives, communities and markets"Government cannot succeed without the support of citizens no matter the effort. We appeal for patience, understanding and support to the administration to address these unfortunate maladies. In other key areas, it is clear from the letter that Nigerians should expect many deliverables in the area of power, road and railway infrastructure, agricultural rural mechanization and housing among others.

Another important event in the new year is the signing of the Finance Bill into law by President Buhari on 13th January, 2020. The Finance Act is specifically designed to give support to the implementation of the 2020 budget. The Act introduces one of the most significant changes to the Nigerian tax law by increasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5% to 7.5%.

The commencement date for the new VAT is 1st February, 2020. There are other changes introduced such as the introduction of a N25 million VAT compliance threshold; the exemption of companies with less than N25 million annual turnover from payment of CIT and expansion of the scope of companies taxable in Nigeria to include companies that operate within the Nigerian digital space among others.

These changes are necessitated by the need to achieve 5 strategic objectives of raising government revenue through various fiscal measures; reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practice; promoting fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation; supporting small business entities in line with Ease of Doing Business Reforms and introducing tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital market. For better understanding, we shall discuss in detail the Finance Act in subsequent edition.

The controversy surrounding the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network known as 'Operation Amotekun' has been resolved following a meeting between the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, the South West governors, Attorney-General of the Federation and the Inspector-General of Police. A statement issued at the end of the meeting, stated that "Having regard to the need for all hands to be on deck in addressing the security concerns across the country, it was agreed that the structure of Amotekun should also align with the community policing strategy of the Federal Government" The meeting also resolved that appropriate legal instruments will be put in place by each state to give legal backing to the initiative and address all issues concerning the regulation of the security structure.

This effort shows that through dialogue, there is no issue that cannot be resolved. The controversy generated at the beginning, in my view, was needless when options were open to resolve the matter amicably. We therefore commend the effort the federal and state governments and hope that dialogue will be seen as a potent instrument for resolving all contending issues in our polity. We have also seen the conclusion of the governorship tussles in the Supreme Court.

With the exception of Imo State, the elections of all the governors were upheld. Our focus is not about whether the judgments were right or wrong. Our concern is about the need to ensure an electoral system that will make litigation unnecessary as we see in other climes. Thankfully, President Buhari has assured on several occasions that he will do everything possible to ensure that our elections are free, fair and transparent in 2023. The National Assembly will be resuming on Tuesday 28th January 2020 after a very long recess.

We urge them to work with the executive arm to ensure the much-needed electoral reform that will align our elections with global best practice. Nigeria has come of age and we must demonstrate this by the way we practice our democracy. Once again, happy new year as we pray and work collectively towards building a nation where peace and justice reign. God Bless Nigeria.

News Update

Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, made the revelation during flag- off of the first round of 2020 National Immunization Plus Days (NIPDs) at Dutse Makaranta, Bwari Area Council, last week.

Country Director of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Mr. Woochan Chang has said the Nigeria-Korea Model School, Abuja should expand its admission quota to include children from poor and vulnerable.

Chairman, FCTA Traffic Management Team, Comrade Ikharo Attah who led the exercise explained that the removal of the illegal structures became necessary due to complaints from contractors handling the road expansion

Director, FHIS, Dr. Ahmed Danfulani, who broke news of the enrolment exclusively to Abuja Digest Weekly, disclosed further that the retirees have filled the required forms and obtained approval from the agency.


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