Saraki reveals Senate’s next step on Customs Boss, Ali

Senate President Bukola Saraki has revealed that the Senate will look more into the Customs policy before the uniform was given more prominence.

Recall that the Nigerian senators sent Hameed Ali, Customs Boss, out of the Red Chmaber for failing to appear in Customs official uniform.

Saraki in a recent interview said the Senate will look into the Customs policy issue rather than the Uniform saga.

He also touched on some of the issues that are currently trailing his position and the Senate as a whole.

“I think that was an issue in which we all allowed an unimportant issue to overshadow the more important issue. That was unfortunate. Our job in parliament is to look at the interest of Nigerians.

“That policy introduced by Customs is very bad and is coming in very difficult times and it needed a review. That was the main issue. Unfortunately, the narrative of the uniform was given more prominence. As at today, I am not even sure whether that Customs policy is still in force or it has been suspended. All anyone remembers is the issue of uniform. I think we all have a role to play here in not allowing some of these pedestrian issues to submerge the more substantive issues…

“The issue of whether he can wear or cannot wear uniform, that can go on until whenever but whether he is in uniform or not, let him do the right policy”.

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Churches in Mozambique pay taxes on income

Churches or religious houses that have sources of income such as schools, among others, are already paying taxes to the government of Mozambique.

Augusto Tacandua, director of Mozambique’s Revenue Authority (AT), who confirmed this said it is as a result of the implementation of the tax code on value added (VAT).

Tacandua said until recently, religious denominations submitted tax exemption requests for all their activities, including those that generate some revenue.

“The decision to start taxing church-based, income-generating secondary institutions came from the fact that many of these churches are moving large sums of money from commercial activities,” he said.

He did not reveal the number of taxed institutions and the amount that that the agency has already collected, but said the instrument that regulates the collection of taxes for churches is already being implemented.

He said AT had produced an instrument that clarifies when religious congregations are exempted from paying taxes, mainly because in some situations worshipers contribute voluntarily to the operations of their respective churches.

Tacunda explained that according to the value added tax (VAT) code, churches are exempted from the transfer of assets, the provision of social assistance services and the transfer of related assets carried out by public bodies or non-profit making bodies, the purposes of which are recognized by the competent authorities.

“The matrix also indicates that non-profit-making bodies are exempt from definitive imports of goods whose shipment on national territory is objectively exempted,” he said.

The code stipulates that churches are also exempted from VAT in the acquisition and importation of goods destined for offerings to national institutions of public interest and of relevant social purposes, provided that such goods are entirely appropriate to the nature of the beneficiary institution and are used by it in activities of public interest.

Should Nigerian churches be mandated by the government to pay tax?

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Saudi Arabia, Iran have radicalised and divided the Muslim world – Sanusi

Muhammad Sanusi II, emir of Kano, who is one of the most vocal Islamic voices on the continent, says Saudi Arabia and Iran have “radicalised and divided” the Muslim world.

Sanusi said the world needs a strong state, “not a fragile state”, to address the root causes of extremism.

He added that Islamic leadership could come from less conservative countries like Malaysia and Morocco.

“Internationally, Morocco — I’m in Morocco, I’m not a diplomat, what I say is the truth — Morocco has made tremendous progress in terms of redefining and reinterpreting Islamic law in a matter that is consistent with the demands of our time,” Sanusi said in Morocco over the weekend.

“Where is the lone star for Muslims today? Everybody is talking about Saudi Arabia and Iran, and both countries, frankly, because of their geopolitical reasons, because of their conflicts and competition for ascendancy, have radicalised and divided the Muslim world.

“And they’ve held on to very conservative, very intolerant versions of the religion.”

He said governments needed to take the training of Islamic scholars into deliberate considerations in order to quell violence across the world.

“Maybe the Muslim world needs to shift its focus, in terms of where leadership has to come from; look at Malaysia, look at Morocco, look at Tunisia, look at Indonesia, why look at Saudi Arabia and Iran!” he said.

“That can only happen from the body of scholars within the different Muslim countries, who will change the discuss and say, ‘you know what, this is not your role model. Your role model is not ISIS, your role model is not an Islam that says there is only one true interpretation of religion.

“Or that does not separate what is personal from what is public… Malaysia is a fantastic example of a Muslim country that has been able to live with its religion and also live in the modern world.

“Why can’t we be more like Malaysia, more like Morocco? Why do we have to be more like Iran and more like Saudi?”

He said governments need to do more in terms of training religious scholars.

“Train scholars, so that they create the kind of society we want,” he said.

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Gov Wike survived 5 assassination attempts in 11 months – Rivers govt

Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr Austin Tam-George, has said Governor Nyesom Wike survived five assassination attempts in eleven months.

He described as callous and insensitive, recent denials by the Police that the governor’s life was at risk.

“It is no secret that the APC government declared war on the government and people of Rivers State, soon after the party lost the governorship litigation at the Supreme Court in 2016,” the commissioner said in a statement on Monday.

He added that the first attempt to kill the governor was made immediately after the Supreme Court verdict.

Dr Tam-George said the governor’s Chief Security Officer was removed without any explanation, and that the six police officers dismissed by the Police in January this year played a key role in foiling the series of attempts to kill Wike.

The commissioner further disclosed that after several attempts to assassinate Wike had failed, an offer of one hundred and fifty million Naira was made to two of the six dismissed police officers, to directly kill the governor, but that the officers declined the offer.

“We call on the Interpol and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to lead an independent inquiry into why those gallant and patriotic officers were dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force, on spurious charges of misconduct.”

Tam-George further alleged that as part of its preparations to seize Rivers State in the 2019 elections, the central APC government was already considered a range of escalatory measures against Wike and some key leaders in Rivers state.

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Nigeria getting out of recession, says minister

The Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri, has said that the country is gradually getting out of its economic recession.

He pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, adding that it was addressing the myriad of developmental challenges in the country.

Speaking in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Sunday after inspecting ongoing national housing projects in the state, the minister reiterated that Buhari was committed to providing affordable housing for Nigerians in fulfilment of one of his campaign promises to the electorate.

Shehuri said, “We are slowly going out of recession. Nigerians should be rest assured that the economy is being well managed. Government is focused on revamping the economy. Corruption is being tackled head-on.

“Nigerians need to be patient considering the circumstances Nigeria was in when this government assumed office.”

The minister said each zone in the country had specific housing design, using 100 per cent locally sourced materials to create employment opportunities for the citizens, adding that this would stimulate the economy.

He added that the Federal Government would build more houses to provide shelter for the people.

According to him, the government is addressing the housing shortage through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, adding that the bank would give waiver to potential homeowners.

“There are 18 contractors on site and each is to construct two blocks of two units each. On completion, 72 units will be available for off-takers. Artisans, unskilled labourers, suppliers and food vendors are beneficiaries of the project,” Shehuri added.

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