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12022018 - Fuel crisis : PDP, APC in verbal war over President's role

18 — Vanguard, MONDAY,

18 — Vanguard, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2018 IT is very worrisome that the disagreement that developed between the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, and the leadership of Benue State has continued to escalate, making it even more difficult to halt the Benue massacres being perpetrated by armed bandits. This disagreement arose after the IGP described the New Year Day massacres and other genocidal attacks on Benue farming communities by armed herdsmen as “communal misunderstanding”. Governor Samuel Ortom and other Benue leaders had prevailed on Idris to apologise for offending the populace when the IGP arrived in the state on January 10, 2018 to lead police operations as President Muhammadu Buhari ordered. But rather than creating a healthy atmosphere for the successful implementation of security operations, the two sides continued Police, Gov. Ortom face-off a shame to ratchet up verbal exchanges. It came to a head on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 when Police spokesman, Moshood Jimoh, unprofessionally described Governor Ortom as “a drowning man” on a live television platform, thus sparking off calls for his sack. Governor Ortom in a live radio programme in Makurdi, Benue State, reportedly called on Benue citizens to use “all legal means” to defend themselves. IGP Idris, unfortunately, has allowed himself to be distracted in his duties to restore order in Benue State. The president sent him there to disarm and arrest all illegal arms bearers and bring the perpetrators of the massacres to justice. He was sent to restore law and order in the state. He and his men are supposed to conduct themselves in a professional and impartial manner to instill confidence in the populace, no matter what side of the conflict they belong to. In doing so, the Police are supposed to work harmoniously with the government and residents of Benue State. The involvement of the Police leadership in exchange of words is highly unbecoming. It can only worsen the situation and negate the Police mission there. The call by Governor Ortom on Benue people to defend themselves “by all legal means” is unfortunate and dangerous. It is a call for anarchy, as there is no safe or “legal” way the citizenry can defend themselves against heavilyarmed and obviously well-trained herdsmen. If this call is heeded, no one knows what it will portend. Ethnic warlords might spring up, and that cannot help the unity of the country. We must continue to exercise restraint and insist that the security and law-enforcement authorities perform their sacred duties of protecting all Nigerians and bringing murderers and armed bandits to justice in a manner devoid of partiality. Happily, President Buhari has, at last, spoken up decisively that the killings must stop and the culprits must be brought to book. On that we stand. By Scott Obagbemi IN 2001, the Lagos State Government consolidated all property and land-based rates and charges previously applicable under Land Rates, Tenement Rates and Neighbourhood Improvement Charge into a single rate. Thus, the Land Use Charge as prescribed by the Land Use Charge Law, No 11 of 2001 applicable to landed properties in Lagos State commenced on June 22, 2001. This was done with the dual aim of simplifying the payment of property tax and generating additional revenue for the state through efficient enforcement. However, the land use charge of 2001 was not effective in Lagos State as only a few residents were aware of it and even fewer complied with the provisions. A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, LSHA, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu, was reported to have lamented in December 2017 that only about 300,000 out of an estimated 2 million eligible properties pay their land use charge. It was no surprise, therefore, that the LSHA on January 16, 2018 organised a public hearing to intimate the citizens of Lagos on the rationale and details of a new bill to repeal the land use charge law 2001. It was an interactive session during which the House also received inputs from stakeholders from across commercial businesses, religious organisations, NGOs, real estate professionals, and the media, among others. Subsequently, the LSHA passed the Land Use Charge Bill 2017 on Monday, January 29, 2018, and signed into law by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday, February 5, 2018. This law has effectively consolidated all land-based rates and also incorporated several improvements to enable it correct the inadequacies of the previous land use charge law and reflect current economic realities. OPINION Lagos: Land Use Charge and economic development The land use charge is now based on the commercial value of a property and valuation will be assessed by professional estate valuers appointed by the state. Valuation will also now be updated every five years. This will bring more fairness to the annual charge rate as a property owner in Ikorodu, for instance, will pay a markedly lower charge than a property The bill provides a delineation of properties exempted from payment owner in Ikoyi where property values are much higher. It also effectively removes any obsolescence in previous charges that were based on outdated valuations, some dating as far back as 2001. Fairness is also further entrenched in the new law with the establishment of an assessment appeal tribunal where people may appeal the decision that their property is chargeable or any perceived overvaluation of their assets. The scope has also been expanded as the elements of property was broadened to include a building; any improvement on land; a parcel of land, whether or not reclaimed, waterlogged or otherwise; a wharf or pier; and leaseholds of up to 10 years. Thus, even that which is commonly called “a bare land” will now be charged an annual rate. This is partly designed to encourage the owners to develop such property. The bill provides a delineation of properties exempted from payment. Such properties like registered educational institutions and public or private libraries are now only exempted once they are certified by the commissioner to be non-profit making. Property owned and occupied by a religious body will be exempt if used exclusively as a place of worship or religious education. If used otherwise, they become chargeable. Other exemptions include public cemeteries and burial grounds, all palaces of recognised Obas and Chiefs, and any property specifically exempted by the executive governor of Lagos State. Properties occupied by non-profit making organisations may get only partial relief and not complete exemptions The law also makes provision for self-billing and electronic payment of the land use charge by owners. This is an indication that the government is employing technology to make compliance much easier. To further ease the burden on citizens as well as incentivize prompt payments, reliefs have been included in the bill. Lagos State retirees will get 100% relief (no charge) while factors like the age of a property owner, any physical challenges (or disability), and duration of residency may confer some partial relief. Prompt payments will confer some relief as well. In line with its pledge to carry stakeholders along, the government has kicked off an awareness campaign through multiple communication and media channels to enlighten the populace on the imperative of taxation. In the mix include the print media, television and radio; the internet and social media as well as engagement with key influencers in the state. In this way, citizens will become fully aware of the details of the new land use charge, understand their obligations and act accordingly. The government is also publicising the process of paying the new land use charge. To achieve its ultimate goal, enforcement of the law must be vigorous. The incentives and reliefs embedded in the law clearly shows that government intends to employ moral suasion. A successful enlightenment campaign will undoubtedly make enforcement much seamless. When citizens better understand the necessity of the charge and their roles in the scheme of things, it’s easier to get their buy in. Enforcement should be strict nonetheless and will require courteous displays of discipline, diligence and consistency on the part of the agencies of government that will pursue compliance to the provisions of the law. The previous effort through the land use charge law of 2001 was largely ineffective due to several factors. For one, the general attitude towards taxation has been fraught with indifference and suspicion of government. This is due in part to over-reliance on funding from the Federal Government from the proceeds of crude oil sales and also a lack of transparency and accountability on the part of governments on the details of state expenditure. There was also very low public enlightenment on the importance and usefulness of the Lagos land use charge as well as the duties and responsibilities of citizens. The responsibility of tenants versus property owners/landlords generated lots of conflicts, mainly due to ignorance. Enforcement of the policy by government also left a lot to be desired. Land owners continued to receive charges such as ground rent and tenement rate which were consolidated in the land use charge. This was coupled with the poor state of information on property ownership resulting in difficulties in administering charges to owners of properties. *Mr. Obagbemi, an economic analyst, wrote from Lagos.

Vanguard, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2018 — 19 Forex: Weekly turnover in I&E window nosedives by 56% •CBN intervenes with $536m •Cost of funds to rise above 50% •Analysts project lower inflation rate for January By Babajide Komolafe DOLLARS traded in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange market fell sharply by 56 percent last week, indicating slow down in dollar inflow from foreign investors. Financial Vanguard analysis of daily market turnover (dollars traded), showed that dollars traded last week fell to $716.57 million from $1.63 billion the previous week. This represents the second consecutive weekly decline in amount of dollars traded in the window. Two weeks ago, turnover declined by 11 percent to $1.63 billion from $1.84 billion. However, the amount of dollars traded in the window since the beginning of the year rose to $7.58 billion last week from $6.86 billion the previous week. In spite of the decline in turnover, the naira appreciated by 41 kobo in the window as the indicative exchange rate dropped to N360.27 per dollar from N360.7 per dollar the previous week. The naira also maintained its stability at N363 per dollar in parallel market. Meanwhile the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last week stepped up its intervention in the foreign exchange market by injecting $535.64 million. On Monday, the apex bank injected $210 million into the interbank bank foreign exchange market, comprising $100 million offered to authorized dealers Continues on page 21 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2018 More companies flout NSE’s post listing requirements •Conoil, Academy Press, Niger Insurance, 18 others involved •NSE imposes N132m as penalty for default •Shareholders advocate sanctions on directors By Peter Egwuatu THE number of companies flouting the post listing requirement of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, regarding timely disclosure of financial performance rose by 37.5 percent in 2017, prompting shareholders to call for sanctions on directors of the companies. Financial Vanguard investigations revealed that the number of companies that failed to disclose their interim and audited financial performance under the minimum listing requirement of the NSE rose to 22 in 2017 (’17) from 16 in 2016.(’16). However, the penalties paid by the defaulting companies fell by 5.5 percent to N132 million in 2017 as against N140 million in 2016. Sanction for Default NSE listing requirement mandates listed companies to submit their quarterly financial statement, not later than one month after the last day of the quarter. It also mandates companies to submit their audited annual financial statements not later than three months after the last working day of the financial year. . According to NSE rules, “Any late submission of accounts shall attract a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100, 000) per week from the due date until the date of submission. A listed company which contravenes any of the provisions of the Listing Rules and General Undertaking and fails to pay the penalty imposed on it for such contravention on or before the due date shall be liable to a further fine of Three Hundred Thousand Naira (N300,000) in addition to Twenty Five Thousand Naira (N25,000) per day for the period the violation continues.” Defaulting Companies The companies that defaulted and penalty fees in 2017 are as follows: Vitafoam Nigeria Plc (Audited Account 2017, N800,000), Academy Press Plc (Audited Account 2017,N35 million) Niger Insurance Plc, (Audited Account 2016 and First Quarter 2017, N16.1 million), Union Diagnostic & Clinic Services Plc (Audited 2016 and First Quarter 2017, N3.9 million) Afromedia Plc (Third Quarter Account 2017, N200,000) John Holt Plc, Skye Bank Plc. Others are Golden Guinea Breweries Plc (Audited Account 2017), Nigerian German Chemical Plc (Audited Account 2017), Roads Nigeria Plc (Audited Account 2017), Austin Laz & Company Plc (First Quarter Account 2016), Smart Product Nigeria Plc (Second Quarter 2017 Account), Conoil Plc (Audited 2016 and First Quarter, 2017 Account, N13.5 million), Daar Communications Plc (Audited 2016 and First Quarter 2017 N14.1 million), Fortis Microfinance Bank Plc (Third Quarter Account 2017, N1 million), Newrest ASL Plc (First Quarter 2017, N2.5 million), Nigerian Enamelware Plc (Audited Account 2017, N900,000), Pharmadeko Plc (First Quarter Account 2017, N1.6million), Presco Plc (Second Quarter Account 2017 N200, 000), Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc (Audited Account 2016 and First Quarter 2017, N10.2 million) and Staco Plc (Audited Account 2016 and First Quarter 2017, N7.5million). The companies that defaulted in 2016 and the fines paid include: AG Leventis Plc (Audited Account 2016, N2.9milion), African Alliance (Audited Continues on page 20 Drop debt-led economic strategy, Agbaje tells FG PAGE.22 Divergent outlook for stock market as investors lose N542bn PAGE 24 How 9mobile acquisition delay triggered N5.5bn revenue loss PAGE 26