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GOVERNORS’ FORUM TEAM VISITS LAGOS TO UNDERSTUDY IGR TEMPLATE   

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In order to address the decline in distributable revenue from the Federation Account to governments at all levels, a 30-team from the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the Federal Ministry of Finance has visited the Lagos State Ministry of Finance to understudy the State’s Internally Generated Revenue template and exchange ideas on how to ameliorate the present economic meltdown in the country.

Welcoming the NGF team to the State, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, explained that the State Government had introduced a lot of innovation to drive its cashless revenue collection policy, adding that the State’s financial system has been fully automated, giving no room for cash transactions in any government financial deal.

Olowo, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Yemi Ayoola, stated that Lagos had standardised its revenue collection system, through the introduction of different modes such as Point of Purchase System (POS), Single Treasury Account (TSA), different bank-payment opportunities and application of standard sharing formula between the State and local governments, to eliminate multiple taxation in respect of revenue from Land Use Charge.

While stressing that the State needs huge revenue to meet the infrastructure requirements of its teeming population, Olowo told the visiting team that the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration has not only put in place a very strong financial management system that is technology-driven but has also engaged financial risk managers. He maintained that the administrative ingenuity and perfect accounting system made it possible for the State Government to pay its workforce every month without fail.

“Technology has helped us a lot, every transaction is done through an electronic tax system. We have blocked possible leakages with the introduction of revenue codes while all revenue is traceable due to a single treasury account. We have committed professional accountants handling all the Ministry’s activities both in revenue data collation and full implementation of the budgetary system”, the Commissioner said.

Also speaking, Mr. Abayomi Yusuf, the Ministry’s Head of Revenue and Taxation Department, disclosed that the State has an application for the enumeration and capturing of property, adding that the government has five consultants working as field officers for the enumeration of property while the Ministry handles the administrative aspects.

On the legal backing to the State revenue generation system, Mrs. Olayemi Oni, the Head of Legal Department, told the visiting team that the LUC is a child of the law and its operations are wholly and entirely guided by its dictates.

“We are constantly working to bridge the lacuna and every three years, we review the law. We also have an Appeal Tribunal to resolve all complaints made by Lagosians”, she said.

Responding, the leader of the 30-man NGF delegation, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajogbasile, noted that the visit funded by the World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Finance is aimed at exchanging ideas as well as learning how the Lagos State Government drives its economy and the strategies adopted to grow its Internal Generated Revenue (IGR), despite the global economic meltdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the destructive #EndSARS protest.

“We are here in Lagos to learn from the innovative strategies of the Lagos State Government. We have come to learn, adopt and follow Lagos State template in revenue generation because it is the best template in the country today”, he stated.

While commending the State Government for adopting technology in its revenue drive, Ajogbasile stated that Lagos IGR technique should be a standard template for achieving sustainable economic growth for the country, saying “The decision to visit Lagos was informed by the giant strides Lagos State is making in growing its Internally Generated Revenue despite the corrosive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy”.

He said it was highly inspiring to note that Lagos still grossed a total of  N418.99 billion, which accounted for  32.1 per cent of the total N1.33 trillion IGR recorded by the 36 states in Y2020, despite various challenges faced by the State last year.

Representatives of State Governors from six Geo-Political zones, namely Gombe, Nasarawa, Delta, Ebonyi, Sokoto and Ekiti States were present during the team’s visit.

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I made mistake in picking Atiku as my Running Mate in 1999 – Obasanjo laments

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
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Ex-President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has disclosed that when he served as a head of state in 1999 as a civilian, he had made a mistake picking his vice.

Obasanjo made this statement while fielding questions from secondary school students at a program at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Obasanjo admitted to making many “genuine mistakes” in his life while interacting with the students, but claimed that God helped him overcome them.

“Choosing my number two when I wanted to be president was one of the errors I made. But God saved me because it was an honest mistake, said Obasanjo.

Obasanjo while interacting with the students revealed that he had made many “genuine mistakes” in his life; saying, however, that God made him overcome them.

“One of the mistakes I made was picking my number two when I wanted to become the president. But because it was a genuine mistake, God saved me,” Obasanjo said.
According to reports, Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential contender, served as Obasanjo’s second-in-command from 1999 to 2007.

Obasanjo and Atiku clashed with one and other for years while in government over matters they couldn’t agree on.

When discussing his second error, Obasanjo claimed that it occurred when General Sani Abacha, a late military ruler, was going to arrest him and the American Embassy offered him asylum which he refused.

Obasanjo claimed that had God not intervened, he would have perished during his time in prison.

“When Abacha wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American ambassador that they will arrest me and that America has asked that I should be given an asylum. I said no. It could have been a mistake because I could have lost my life.”

The Balogun Owu stated that God had saved him from many things that could have been a mistake.

When asked whether the youths could be allowed to rule the nation, Obasanjo expressed worries, stating that youths may never come into power should the current trend in Nigeria continues.

The former president regretted that in spite of the “Not Too Young to Run” campaign, people contesting to rule the nation are between 70 and 80 years old.

“How can the youths run,” he asked, adding that the amount of money involved in going into politics would not allow youths to get to leadership positions.

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5000 LAGOSIANS GET FREE HEALTH INSURANCE ON SANWO-OLU’S BIRTHDAY

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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No fewer than 5000 Lagosians are to be enrolled in the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan – courtesy of the Lagos State Executive Council.

The gesture is to celebrate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s 57th birthday on June 25 and in the spirit of his compassion for the indigent and vulnerable.

Beneficiaries will have access to quality health care services and drugs under the ILERA EKO Standard Plan at no cost to them.

Nominees will be selected from the Lagos State Social Protection Register. An equal number of the 5000 eligible beneficiaries are to be selected from the five IBILE divisions of the State and will enjoy Universal Health Coverage.

These beneficiaries have been identified using a multi-dimensional poverty index tool, which includes the poverty means-testing to ensure accuracy, reliability and validity of the data generated.

ILERA EKO is the State Social Health Insurance Plan managed by Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), which offers the basic minimum health plan that provides quality and affordable healthcare for all Lagos residents, especially the middle and low-income earners as well as the vulnerable.

Services on the Plan include: General consultations; Specialist Consultations; Management of uncomplicated chronic diseases (Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma); Maternal and Newborn Care; Normal Delivery and Caesarean Section; Dental Care (with Composite filling) and Eye Care, including glasses.

There are also minor and major surgeries; laboratory tests and scans; HIV/TB Testing services; Emergency Health Services; Cancer Care and the provision of prescribed drugs.

A policy cycle under the ILERA EKO Health Insurance Plan runs for 12 calendar months in which an enrolee’s policy is due for renewal before the 25th day of the 12th month to enable such subscribers have access to care the next month (Start of renewed policy cycle).

The selected beneficiaries will commence access to care from July 1, 2022.

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Wife remanded as UK Court denies them bail

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife
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An Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom did not grant bail to Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President, and Beatrice, his wife, who were apprehended over attempted harvesting of organs.

It was gathered that the Nigerian couple was detained by the Metropolitan Police when they tried harvesting an unnamed child’s organs.

When the Senator was arraigned on Thursday, the court refused to grant him bail but ordered that he should be remanded till July 7

The Metropolitan Police while confirming the arrest said in a statement that the pair were charged to court on Thursday following an investigation by the police’ specialist crime team.

“Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting,” the statement read.

“Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

They have both been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.

“A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support.”

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