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Tax Evasion: Tribunal orders Multichoice to deposit ₦900BN with FIRS before hearing appeal.

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A tax appeal tribunal (TAT) sitting in Lagos has ordered Multichoice Nigeria Limited to deposit 50% of the disputed ₦1.8 trillion tax with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, FIRS spokesperson, made this known in a statement on Wednesday.
Multichoice is the owner of the satellite televisions, DStv and Gotv – popular subscription-based platforms in Nigeria.

In July, the FIRS had appointed some commercial banks as agents to recover ₦1.8 trillion from accounts of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited (MCN) And MultiChoice Africa (MCA).

Muhammad Nami, FIRS chairman, had said the decision to appoint the banks as agents and to freeze the accounts was as a result of the group’s continued refusal to grant FIRS access to its servers for audit.

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Nami had noted that FIRS discovered that the companies persistently breached all agreements and undertakings with the service.
The FIRS said it determined through a forensic audit that Multichoice Nigeria Limited had failed to pay to the government of Nigeria taxes worth ₦1.8 trillion.

In its reaction, Multichoice had assured that it would work with FIRS to prove its tax compliance.
At resumed hearing on Tuesday, the five-member TAT led by A.B. Ahmed, its chairman, issued the order following an application brought to the tribunal by the counsel to FIRS.

“The Counsel made the application under Order XI of the TAT Procedure Rules 2010 which requires Multichoice, or any other taxpayer who disputes their tax assessments, to make the statutory deposit required under Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 (FIRS Act) as a condition that must be fulfilled before the prosecution of the appeal brought before TAT,” the statement reads.

“In certain defined circumstances to which the Multichoice appeal fits, Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 (FIRS Act) requires persons or companies seeking to contest a tax assessment to pay all or a stipulated percentage of the tax assessed before they can be allowed to argue their appeal contesting the assessment at TAT.”

The FIRS said Multichoice filed a suit at the Lagos TAT following its dispute over the agency’s issuance of notices of assessment and demand note in the sum of ₦1,822,923,909,313.94k on April 7, 2021.

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“At Tuesday’s hearing of the matter in Appeal No: TAT/LZ/CIT/062/2021 19/08/2021 (Multichoice Nigeria Limited v. Federal Inland Revenue Service), Multichoice Nigeria Limited amended its Notice of Appeal and thereafter sought through its counsel, Bidemi Olumide of AO2 Law Firm for an adjournment of the proceedings to enable it to respond to the FIRS’ formal application for Accelerated hearing of the Appeal and prayer before the TAT directing Multichoice to produce before the Tribunal the integrated Annual report and Management Account Statements of Multichoice Group Ltd for Tax Years 2012 to 2020., among other prayers,” the statement further reads.

“In response, however, the FIRS Counsel asked TAT to issue an order requiring that Multichoice makes the statutory deposit of 50% of the disputed sum.”

After hearing arguments from both sides, TAT upheld the FIRS submission and directed Multichoice Nigeria Limited to deposit with the FIRS an amount equals 50 percent of the assessment under the appeal plus a sum equal to 10% of the said deposit as a condition precedent for further hearing of the appeal.

Thereafter, TAT adjourned the appeal to 23 September 2021 for report of compliance with its Order and continuation of the hearing, subject to compliance with the Tribunal’s order.

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Governor Umo Eno Announces Ibom Air’s Exciting Venture into Regional Flights

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Get ready to spread your wings and explore the world, as Ibom Air is all set to take off on a new adventure !

New York – Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom has unveiled plans to introduce regional flights from Uyo, starting next month. This remarkable initiative was announced during the prestigious 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where the governor’s vision for his state took flight.

Driven by a strong commitment to infrastructure development, Governor Eno is paving the way for progress in Akwa Ibom’s land, air, and sea gateways. With well-connected motorable roads that allow easy access to any part of the state within just one hour, the governor is ensuring that even small farm holders in rural areas can transport their produce efficiently.

But that’s not all – Akwa Ibom is breaking records in the world of air travel. Not only is it the first sub-national government in West Africa to operate an airport seamlessly, it has proudly taken its achievements to new heights by becoming the first sub-national government to own an airline. This groundbreaking venture connects cities throughout Nigeria, and very soon, it will spread its wings further with regional flights from Uyo launching in October.

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This incredible news presents a golden opportunity for investors looking to flourish in the agricultural industry in Akwa Ibom. Governor Eno recognizes the significance of empowering local farmers and has dedicated resources to improve irrigation systems on farms. His recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing with Songhai farms in Benin Republic signifies a game-changing collaboration. Through this partnership, small farm holders will be trained in cutting-edge agricultural practices, paving the way for a future where farming becomes trendy for young people. With salaries, training, and the freedom to establish and manage their own farms, Akwa Ibom is nurturing a generation of agricultural entrepreneurs.

Not stopping there, the visionary governor is already thinking ahead by providing storage facilities for the farmers he is bringing on board. This demonstrates his commitment to ensuring their produce is kept fresh and readily available for markets.

Furthermore, Governor Eno expressed his gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for addressing the critical issue of illegal mining in Nigeria during his UNGA speech. The governor emphasized the recent crackdown on illegal mining companies in Akwa Ibom, showing his dedication to maintaining a lawful and sustainable environment for development.

Mark your calendars! Ibom Air has officially announced that from October 17th, 2023, it will commence daily flights between Lagos and Ghana. This exciting expansion will enhance connectivity and open up endless possibilities for travelers.

Under the dynamic leadership of Governor Umo Eno, Akwa Ibom is soaring to new heights, revolutionizing the way we travel and providing budding farmers with the tools they need to thrive. So buckle up and get ready to join this remarkable journey of progress and prosperity with Ibom Air! GMTNews

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United States will not reject old dollar notes from Jan 2023

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Multiple online reports have claimed that by January 31, 2023, the United States dollar notes issued before 2021 will no longer be accepted as legal tender.

“USA moves to checkmate dollar stockpile in Africa,” reads the headline of a report by TheNewsNigeria

The claim also appeared on Nairaland, a well-known social networking platform in Nigeria.

The post claims that the government of the US “has set date for restriction on an acceptable legal tender note of US Dollar which will commence on Jan. 31st 2023”.

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“The restriction implies that any US Dollar note below 2021 printed date will no longer be accepted or be a legal tender anywhere in the world… This effort is to curb billions of illegal monies in dollar bills warehoused around African continent emanating from drug-related, terrorism, kidnapping and money from corrupt politicians,” the post reads.

The claim is coming over a week after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the redesign of some naira notes including N200, N500 and N1,000 notes, which will be effective from mid-December 2022.

According to Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, one of the factors that influenced the redesign of the naira notes is the “significant hoarding of banknotes by members of the public.

He said statistics show that “over 80 percent of currency in circulation are outside the vaults of commercial banks”.

“As at the end of September 2022, available data at the CBN indicate that N2.73 trillion out of the N3.23 trillion currency in circulation, was outside the vaults of commercial banks across the country; and supposedly held by the public,” he said.

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No evidence shows the US is issuing new dollar notes

Checks on the official website of the US department of the treasury, the national finance and treasury office of the federal government, and found no such announcement.

Further checks also revealed that no reputable news media, both in the US and Nigeria, published reports on dollar redesign.

The US federal reserve board currently issues seven denomination of dollar notes, which includes $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.

According to information available on the website of the US Currency Education Programme, the current design of the $100 note, issued on October 8, 2013, is the latest denomination to be redesigned.

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The $1 note, issued in 1963, and featuring former President George Washington has never been changed.

The US government periodically redesigns federal reserve notes to make them easier to use, and more difficult to counterfeit.

All US currency remains legal tender regardless of when it was issued.

The US Currency Education Programme which provides education, training, and information about federal reserve notes emphasises that “it is U.S. government policy that all designs of U.S currency remain legal tender, regardless of when they were issued”.

The US CEP added that the policy includes “all denominations of federal reserve notes, from 1914 to the present”.

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Verdict

The claim that the US has redesigned dollar notes and will reject all old notes from January 2023 is false.

Source: TheCable

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“Geometric Power Promoters are Exemplary Nigerians”, says Abia State Gov. Ikpeazu

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Dr Okezie Ikpeazu

▪️By Darlington Chikwe

Promoters of Nigeria’s only electricity integrated company, Geometric Power group, are exemplary Nigerians because of their uncanny patriotism, according to Abia State governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

Governor Ikpeazu was speaking at his 58th birthday colloquium in his country home of Umuobiakwa in Obingwa Local Government Area.

Only outstanding patriots who are development oriented can bring home almost $600m in investment at a time many other citizens are taking out money from the country to invest overseas or to keep in foreign banks, said the governor.

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Geometric Power located both its 188megawatt plant and Aba Power distribution company in Aba, Abia State, commonly referred to as the Taiwan of Africa because of its prominent role in Nigeria’s indigenous manufacturing.

“Once the 27-kilometre gas pipeline from Owaza in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State is completed and the plant commissioned, it will be a game changer in not just Abia State, whose nine out of its 17 LGAs are already being serviced by Aba Power Limited, but also the whole country because the rest of the country will have more power freed from our dear state”.

Dr Ikpeazu said that the world-class electricity business speared by Geometric Power led by Professor Bart Nnaji, a former Minister of Power, would cause other power generation and distribution companies in Nigeria to raise their service standards.

He explained that it was in recognition of the positively disruptive role which Geometric Power group “is bound to play in the country’s development that made me support it without reservations”.

The governor observed that if not for the world-class electricity from Geometric Power, manufacturing firms like Nemeith, based in Ikeja, Lagos State, would not have decided to establish plants in Aba.

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“In fact, the multi-billion naira Enyimba Economic City being developed between Aba and Port Harcourt in Rivers State would not have started but for geometric Power”, he declared.

“Enyimba Economic City is another transformational project because it is designed to replicate in Nigeria a place like Shanghai City which has been playing a crucial part in China’s stunning transformation within a few years”, stated the governor.

“I am proud I was in Egypt last February to witness the $50m credit facility signing ceremony between AfriExim Bank and Geometric Power.

“I was surprised that the AfriExim Bank was providing facilities to firms in different countries, but none to Nigerian firms except the one coming to Geometric Power whose operations are in Abia State”.

Dr Ikpeazu, therefore, urged other Nigerian firms to raise their business standards to global levels so that they, too, could benefit from long-term facilities from international lenders as Geometric Power has done.

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The governor, who is leaving office next May after eight years, said that his major legacies would include Geometric Power group’s takeoff and Enyimba City’s development, “and not roads and flyovers.

“We are keenly interested in multi-billion naira projects that can create critical jobs and business opportunities for our people, so that they do not have to leave the Southeast and South-south in their millions in search of better living standards.”

Both Professor Nnaji and Mr Darl Uzu, chairman of Enyimba Economic City, took part in the colloquium and took time to explain the vision behind each of the projects.

The colloquium, which was on scientific leadership for the transformation of Igboland, was chaired by Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, president of the Nigerian Society of Pharmacists and a former chief executive of Neimeth Pharmaceutical plc.

In attendance were former Senate President Adolph Wabara, Senator Ohuabunwa, Abia State University Vice Chancellor Onyemaechi Ogbulu,veteran journalist, columnist and cofounder of Newswatch Magazine Ray Ekpu, among other prominent persons from Abia State.

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As the colloquium was coming to an end, Governor Nyesom Wike of the Rivers State and Ayo Fayose former Governor of Ekiti State arrived and drove straight to Dr Ikpeazu’s private residence.

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