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The Fraudulent Activities Of NIMCO, 54 Other Dredging Companies In Lagos Exposed!

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An interim report heard on the floor of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday detailed how dredging companies in the state have consistently defrauded the government to the tune of several hundreds of millions.

The report was read on the floor by Hon. Victor Akande, chairman of a seven-man committee set up to look into the activities of alleged illegal dredgers in the state.

The report named NIMCO dredging company among the ones that have carried on defrauding the state by failing to pay taxes and make returns.

The report shows that the state has 55 registered ‘Category A’ dredging companies out of which only three have operational permit. Out of these three, only one of the companies has been making returns to the government.

Akande said the report was the result of the committee’s finding through documents and evidence provided by officials of the state government and investigation.

In the course of the investigation, the committee had invited the Ministries of Waterfront and Infrastructure Development, Lands, The Environment, Physical Planning, the Surveyor-General, other government agencies and the commissioner of police in the state.

Some of the dredgers, it was learned, engage in the reclamation of land and these include NIMCO, linked to a top serving politician in the state, and another company that operates around the Eti-Osa area of Lagos State.

The Committee discovered that after reclaiming land, the companies then sell at very exorbitant prices. A member of the committee cited the case of reclaimed land sold for at least N120 million in places like Banana Island without paying government its due.

It was further learned that another set of 74 Category A dredgers have been operating illegally in the state.

The report also showed that only 12 of the 69 recognized Category B dredgers and piling companies in the state had been making payments to the government.

It was also discovered that the state has another set of 109 illegal Category B dredgers.

The report shows that the state has 11 areas of reclamation of land with eight in Eti-Osa, one in Mainland, one in Ikorodu, and one in Kosofe.

Even though the companies have areas they are supposed to cover, many of them beat the state directive by dredging beyond the requirement, make money, and defraud the government.

During deliberation on the floor of the House, Akande disclosed that all manner of people including foreigners, especially Chinese were also engaged in dredging activities enriching themselves at the expense of the state.

Many other lawmakers spoke against the activities of these dredgers.

On his part, Olowo said the dredgers were operating indiscriminately adding that some with Category C approvals operate in Category A without regard to the laws.

Akande also urged the House to give the committee additional two weeks to complete its work as it wants to embark on inspection tour of the sites.

Speaker Mudashiru Obasa directed the Clerk of the House, Azeez Sanni, to write the governor and intimate him of the preliminary findings of the committee.

Obasa also directed the Clerk to write to the state commissioner of police to provide security for the committee members when they embark on inspection of the dredging sites.

 

  • The Witness

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Recession: FG Removes Minimum Wage Earners From Tax

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In the quest to minimise the impact of inflation on Nigerians, the Buhari-led administration has through the 2020 Finance Bill, proposing the exemption of minimum wage earners from Personal Income Tax.

This was as the President Muhammadu Buhari administration tried to justify the reduction of import duties on cars, saying the government will buy locally assembled vehicles.

Buhari made these disclosures in his speech delivered virtually by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday at the opening session of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit Group Conference themed: “Building Partnerships for Resilience”.

And when coupled with other items in the proposed Finance Bill, and various economic policies of the Federal Government, these incentives would ensure the resilience of the Nigerian economy to exogenous shocks, according to Buhari.

According to the President, “we are proposing in the new Finance Act that those who earn minimum wage should be exempted from paying income tax.

“These provisions which complement the tax breaks given to small businesses last year will not only further stimulate the economy, but are also a fulfilment of promises made to take steps to help reduce the cost of transportation and the impact of inflation on ordinary Nigerians.”

Explaining the role of the private sector in building a resilient economy, President Buhari said “this government has always emphasized that the private sector has a key role to play in our efforts to build a more resilient and competitive economy as expressed in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“Private companies in design, construction, logistics and finance are very much engaged in our infrastructural projects in power and rail as well as road and bridges and the installation of broadband infrastructure which is an essential requirement if Nigeria is to participate actively and benefit from the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

Continuing, the President added, “…it is clear that we must diversify the economy away from dependence on crude oil exports, speed up human capital development and improve on infrastructure. Above all, our economy must be made more resilient to exogenous shocks. It is important for the private sector to play a key role as we work together to identify national priorities and try to influence our future national trajectory.”

The President also gave insights to the collaboration between the CBN, the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Investment Authority (NSIA) and other stakeholders in the creation of an Infrastructure Company (Infraco) Fund to address some of the nation’s critical infrastructure needs.

“It goes without saying that partnerships remain essential to attract the resources for building a solid national infrastructural base. I am pleased to inform you in this regard that we are working actively with the Central Bank, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and State Governments under the auspices of the National Economic Council to design and put in place a N15 trillion Infraco Fund which will be independently managed.

“The Infraco Fund will help to close the national infrastructural gap and provide a firm basis for increasing national economic productivity and growth,” the President explained.

Restating the commitment of his administration to sustaining collaborations with the private sector in addressing challenges, President Buhari said “if there is one single lesson to be learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that partnerships are essential for credible responses with lasting effects.”

His words: “Our national journey to economic prosperity is a long one, so we must all certainly work together. As we saw, partnerships were essential when we were faced with the serious challenge of combatting COVID-19.

“We saw the key role that partnerships played in our national effort to combat the COVID-19 crisis. While Federal and State Governments worked together to manage the health response and ensure the establishment of isolation centres and availability of test kits, personal protective equipment, and medicines, the private sector also played an active role as individual entities, and also worked together in groups like the Coalition Against COVID-19.”

During the speech presentation, the Vice President responded to the issue of import duties raised by some speakers at the summit. The Vice President noted that “the point of the reduction in levies on motor vehicles, commercial vehicles for transportation is to reduce the cost of transportation by reducing the cost of vehicles.”

He explained that “with subsidy removal and the increase in fuel price and the pass-through to food prices, transportation costs had to be reduced. Now the automotive policy is directed at localizing the production of vehicles. So the logic was increase the duty and levies so that local production becomes more competitive. But the annual demand for vehicles is about 720, 000 vehicles per year. Actual local production is 14,000 vehicles a year.

“So, the problem is that at current rate of production, we will not meet the serious national needs and this will just mean higher prices of vehicles and greater strain on other sectors of the economy that depend on transportation. But we are not giving up on the local auto industry.

“Two important things to note; the first is that we still have relatively high duty at 35%, so there is still a disincentive for importation. Second is that we are promoting policy that the government must buy only locally manufactured cars.”

The session of the summit had presentations by speakers including Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Kayode Fayemi; Governor Aminu Bello Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke; and the Chief Executive Officer of GIG Group, Mr Chidi Ajaere; among others.

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Twitter Suspends Nigerian Communications Commission Account

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) account has been suspended on Twitter.

However no reason has been stated yet, a quick check on the official handle of the agency ‘@NgComCommission’ confirmed the development.

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Emirates Offers First Ever $500,000 Multi-Risk Travel Insurance Coverage

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Emirates customers can now plan their travels and fly with even greater assurance and peace of mind, with the airline’s latest industry-first initiative to provide expanded, multi-risk travel cover on top of its current COVID-19 cover.

Provided by Emirates at no additional cost to its customers, and provided by AIG Travel, this cover is the first of its kind in the airline and travel insurance industry. It is designed to provide all Emirates passengers a truly unique offer for stress-free and hassle-free travel.

This new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover will automatically apply to all Emirates tickets purchased from 1 December, and extends to Emirates codeshare flights operated by partner airlines, as long as the ticket number starts with 176.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive said: “Emirates was the first airline to offer complimentary global COVID-19 cover for travelers back in July, and the response from our customers has been tremendously encouraging. We’ve not rested on our laurels and instead continued to look at how we can offer our customers an even better proposition. We’re very pleased to be able to now provide this new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover, which is another industry first, to all our customers.

“We see a strong appetite for travel around the world, especially heading into the winter holidays as people seek warmer climates and family destinations like Dubai. By launching this new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover, we aim to give our customers even more confidence in making their travel plans this winter and moving into 2021.”

Emirates customers will be covered when they fly to any destination, in any class of travel. Highlights of the coverage include:

Out-of-Country Emergency Medical Expenses & Emergency Medical Evacuation up to US$500,000, valid for COVID-19 (contracted during the trip) and other medical emergencies while traveling abroad; Trip Cancellation up to US$7,500 for non-refundable costs if the traveler or a relative (as defined in the policy) is unable to travel because they are diagnosed with COVID-19 before the scheduled trip departure date, or for other named reasons – similar to other comprehensive travel cover products.

The package also offers Trip Cancellation or Curtailment up to US$7,500 if the school year is extended due to COVID-19 beyond the departure date, and the traveler or a relative (as defined in the policy) is a full-time teacher, full-time employee, or a student at a primary or secondary school. Trip Curtailment up to US$7,500 for non-refundable trip costs and additional costs to return to their country of residence if the traveler or a relative (as defined in the policy) falls critically ill, for instance, contracts COVID-19 while traveling abroad.
Travel Abandonment up to US$7,500 if the traveler fails a COVID-19-related test or medical screening at the airport and is required to abandon the trip.

Furthermore, customers will get US$150 per day per person, for up to 14 consecutive days if, while outside of their country of residence, the traveler tests positive for COVID-19, and if they are unexpectedly placed into a mandatory quarantine outside their country of residence by a governmental body.

“We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Emirates and we are excited to work with them to tailor this product to meet the needs of Emirates customers worldwide,” said Jeff Rutledge, CEO, AIG Travel. “Our hope is to help alleviate some of the concerns travelers may have when planning travel during this time.”

Similar to other multi-risk travel insurance products, Emirates’ generous cover also has provisions for personal accidents during travel, winter sports cover, loss of personal belongings, and trip disruptions due to unexpected air space closure, travel recommendations or advisories. Customers do not need to register or fill in any forms before they travel, and they are not obligated to utilize this cover provided by Emirates.

Emirates’ booking policies offer customers flexibility and confidence to plan their travel. Customers who purchase an Emirates ticket for travel on or before 31 March 2021, can enjoy generous rebooking terms and options, if they must change their travel plans. Customers have options to change their travel dates or extend their ticket validity for 2 years.

Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes to all customers.

Dubai is now definitely open for international business and leisure visitors. From sun-soaked beaches and heritage activities to world class hospitality and leisure facilities, Dubai offers a variety of world-class experiences for visitors. In 2019, the city welcomed 16.7 million visitors and hosted over hundreds of global meetings and exhibitions, as well as sports and entertainment events. Dubai was one of the world’s first cities to obtain Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – which endorses Dubai’s comprehensive and effective measures to ensure guest health and safety

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