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Bill to Increase VAT Makes Speedy Progress in Senate, Passes Second Reading

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An Executive bill forwarded to the National Assembly seeking to make changes in the Nigerian tax and fiscal law scaled second reading at the upper chamber on Wednesday.

Senators however protested the non-inclusion of details of the bill, which seeks among others, raising the current Value Added Tax from five per cent to 7.5 per cent.

The lawmakers said the absence of the bill details would not enable them to make informed contributions.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, however insisted that the bill be discussed without the details made available to senators.

Senators Yaroe Binus (Adamawa South) and Betty Apiafi (Rivers West) separately raised points of order, drawing the attention of the President of the Senate to the issue.

Lawan ruled both of them out of order and maintained that the details of the bill would only be made available at the committee level.

Lawan said, “To handle that, we have already asked that our secretariat distributes all the Acts that we want to amend and I want to urge the committee to work very assiduously.

“This should not be compromised at all. Our colleagues who raised the issue did so because they wanted to contribute.

“I think what we have done is still within our tradition and our convention of debating the general principles.

“The issue of revenue in Nigeria today is the major issue affecting our economy.

“The economy of this country like most developing economies depends on public expenditure and until we are able to get it, collate them efficiently and effectively we will not be able to fund public expenditure well.

“This bill will help in generating and collecting this kind of revenue.”

Leading the debate on the bill, the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said the bill sought to promote fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation; reforming domestic laws to align with global best practices; and introducing tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets.

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Lawan: NASS Will Approve Any Request from Buhari

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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Thursday said any request from President Muhammadu Buhari would make Nigeria a better place, and such would be acted on “expeditiously.”

Lawan spoke when the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Itse Sagay visited him in his office on Thursday.

Sagay had called for the timely passage of the Special Criminal Court and other similar bills, saying such would  help the anti-corruption war and ensure that the fight was successfully won with speed and energy.

He also appealed to the Senate to consider the confirmation of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

Responding, Lawan said, “This is a new Senate. Going by our rules and I believe that goes for the House of Reps too, any issue that was not concluded in the last National Assembly, will have to start all over again.

“So, as far as we are concerned, those bills will have to come again and start to go through the process from the very beginning.

“We are ready. In fact, we are in a haste if those bills are ready for us to start working on them.”

Lawan said there was no request before the Senate for the confirmation of the acting chairman of the EFCC.

“I want to assure you that any request that comes from Mr President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place in terms of appointments or legislation.

“When such request comes, the Senate will act expeditiously to ensure that we play our part in the confirmation or passing of legislation appropriately.”

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Buhari Hails Jonathan @ 62, Says His Humility, Patriotism Will Continue to Resonate

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President Muhammadu Buhari has praised former President Goodluck Jonathan’s humility and patriotism, saying that the qualities will continue to resonate.

This is contained in a message to congratulate his predecessor, who has turned 62.

The message, signed by his media aide, Mr Femi Adesina, reads, “President Muhammadu Buhari felicitates former President Goodluck Jonathan on his 62nd birthday, joining the nation in praying for longer life, good health and more strength to keep serving the nation.

“President Buhari rejoices with family, friends and political associates of the former president, lauding him for good counsels to leaders within and outside Nigeria since he left office, sharing his experience of serving at different levels of governance.

“President Buhari believes the former President’s legacy of humility and patriotism will continue to resonate, inspiring generations to come on the sacrifices made for the stability of democracy and promotion of sustainable development.

“The President wishes the former President and his family more years of joyful celebrations.”

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Tottenham Hotspur: Pochettino Out, Jose Mourinho In

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Jose Mourinho was on Wednesday appointed Tottenham’s new manager to replace the sacked Mauricio Pochettino, with the club languishing 14th in the Premier League.

The Portuguese former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager signed a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season, the north London club said in a statement.

Pochettino, 47, transformed Spurs’ fortunes after arriving from Southampton in 2014 and although he failed to win a trophy he took the club to the Champions League final for the first time in their history just six months ago.

But the Argentine was sacked on Tuesday, with Tottenham struggling in the league after picking up just three wins from their opening 12 games.

This season they were knocked out of the League Cup by fourth-tier Colchester United and suffered an embarrassing 7-2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

“I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters,” said Mourinho, who has won domestic titles in a record four different countries.

“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”

Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy said: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football. He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician.

“He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”

Spurs hailed their new boss, saying in their statement: “Jose is one of the world’s most accomplished managers having won 25 senior trophies.”

He won Champions League titles with Porto and Inter Milan.

The 56-year-old Portuguese won three Premier League titles over two spells in charge of Chelsea and returned to England to manage Manchester United in 2016.

Mourinho was sacked last December following a poor run of results and has been out of work since, most recently working as a TV pundit.

His first match in charge will be the London derby away to West Ham on Saturday.

(AFP)

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