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Whistle-Blower Initiative: LIRS Partners Deloitte To Boost Transparency In Tax Administration

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 The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has said its Whistle-Blower Initiative will deepen transparency, and accountability and uphold a high standard in the administration of the tax system in the state. The Executive Chairman of the LIRS, Ayodele Subair, at the official launching of the initiative in Lagos on Friday, said the platform was introduced to encourage the reporting of illegal actions or financial crimes, through the appropriate channel, with a view to correcting the violations and optimally boost the tax administration in the state.

He said the scheme, an initiative of the state government, will be driven by Delloite Anonymous and the Confidential Whistle-Blowing facility, a platform run by a globally recognised accounting and audit firm, Delloite Nigeria.

He added that the whistle-blowing facility will promote the reporting of acts of commission or omission that borders on unethical conduct of the LIRS employees, management and other stakeholders through the designated channels to the authorities.

“The facility is designed to ensure that concerns about wrongdoings or malpractice observed in the LIRS administrative and operational activities can be raised by any stakeholder without fear of victimisation, subsequent discrimination, disadvantage or dismissal.

“This facility does not only provide the avenue to report but ensures the credibility of reports through investigation, feedback to the whistle-blower and ensures protection for such whistle-blower from possible reprisals or victimisation for all disclosures made in good faith.”

“The whistle-blowing initiative is a two-way affair; even though it is aimed at exposing the LIRS staff involved with misconduct, employees of entities who want to report employers who circumvent tax laws or even members of the public who wants to raise the alarm on persons or entities who willfully commit financial crimes leading to revenue loss for the state can make use of the whistle-blowing platform,” he said.

Subair said Deloitte’s engagement as an independent assessor was to ensure an objective and unbiased review of issues raised.

Also speaking at the event,  the Commissioner for Finance Dr Rabiu Onaolapo Olowo said the Whistle-Blower Initiative of the LIRS is a pilot scheme of the Lagos State Speak-Up programme aimed at encouraging feedback mechanism from the general public, boosting their confidence and trust in the operational activities of government.

Dr Olowo said it is logical to choose the LIRS as the pilot scheme for the initiative because it is responsible for more than half of the revenue generated by the state and due to its multifaceted interactions with the members of the public, the Lagos government could use the channel to boost its message of openness and transparency.

He said: “In our pursuit to make transparency, accountability and openness count in governance in the last three and half years, this is one step to help us to wrap up some of the things we have been doing to take government down to the people. We have to appreciate Governor Babajide Sanwoolu for approving this Speak-Up initiative. It will further help us to effectively discharge the policy thrust of this government and we believe it will promote and engender trust and citizen engagement.

“The reason we have chosen the LIRS as the pilot MDA for this scheme is quite obvious because it is the major revenue-generating agency for the state. Today, LIRS accounts for almost 75 per cent of Lagos’s revenue and it engages with the public at multi-faceted levels. Thousands of people across the world see infractions every day but they decided to remain silent because they feel there is nothing they can do to change the situation, but today, we are launching a channel that will encourage and remind people of their civic responsibilities to speak up when they observe unethical behaviour, especially in the process of conducting their businesses with the government.”

Joining the conversation, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Samuel Egube, believes citizen participation in governance invariably stimulates public trust which consequently enables the government to make the right investment decision on behalf of the people.

He stated that the channel will further open the Lagos State government to scrutiny and the openness and transparency that the initiative generates will lead to more development.

“We believe this channel will enable citizen participation in governance which will surely stimulate the trust of the people in what we do with their investment. You cannot talk about development in South Korea, Singapore or Dubai in the United Arab Emirates without working out how that is connected to the United Nations Citizen Participation Index which states the line of relationship between the citizens and government and this is what this channel has addressed. Since we have launched the 30-year development plan this is another attempt at making the people of Lagos State work together with the government to make the plan works,” he said.

Beulah Adeoye, Partner, Deloitte Nigeria, said the whistle-blowing service provides multilingual, multiple reporting channels including a 24-Hour toll-free hotline (0800TIPOFFS and 0800 847 6337).

He said users can also use Delloite’s web portal (https://tip-offs.deloitte.com.ng); Email ([email protected]) or download the app (Deloitte Tip-offs, and Anonymous App) on the mobile app store.

Business

NNPC Gas Marketing Limited Commissions New Office complex constructed by TILT Energy in Lagos

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NGML one of the core strategic subsidiaries of NNPC commissioned a new office complex at the Ikeja on Monday the 23rd of January.
This is in line with their commitment to providing an enabling environment for workforce which the MD Mr Justin Ezeala described as their greatest asset. It’s also inline with vision of the company of propagating the use of gas a cleaner source of energy across the country.

 

The impressive edifice was designed and built by
Leading integrated energy solutions company, TILT Energy Company Limited
The project, which was completed in the space of one year With no safety incidents in compliance with the extremely high standards of the oil and gas industry ,a testament to the pedigree of TILT Energy as a company.

NNPC and TILT Energy

Speaking at the commissioning Ayodeji Awodiji said that TILT Energy offers a vast array of services beyond just civil construction projects of this standard ,he highlighted the, O&M, pipeline installation and process automation capabilities of the company as an example .
He noted that TILT Energy also has a very strong fabrication base with its fabrication yard situated in Lagos, adding that he was proud to have been part of many flagship projects, including this.
Ayodeji explained that TILT has displayed its ability to work in a live site, where you have gas distribution without any safety incidents.
“We are glad for NNPC gas marketing limited for giving us this opportunity to showcase our core competence.

 

TILT Energy Management

“Like I said we are an EPCI company so civil construction is literally just a small part of what we do,” he said.”
He added that the new office was designed and constructed by TILT Energy on schedule within the stipulated 12 months timeframe.
According to him, “we actually started in December 2021, and we more or less concluded in December 2022, and commissioned in January 2023.”
Also speaking at the event was Mr Justin Ezeala, Managing Director, NNPC Gas Marketing Limited (NGML), who revealed that in spite of the challenges TILT Energy had at the beginning, he was particularly proud of their capacity to deliver on schedule.
The Executive Director Asset Management of NGML Mr Lawrence Chukwu also in his remarks commended the contractor for the outstanding quality of work , their professionalism and safety standards
He said he was happy that the project was situated close to one of their biggest partners Gaslink,
The well attended event had dignaties such as the MD of gaslink, the MD of NIPCO, Falcon Energy and Mtech in attendance (names)
Additionally, speaking on TILT energy’s ongoing projecrs coming projects, Ayodeji revealed that rehabilitation of the steam turbine at the Olorunsogo power plant owned by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company is expected to be completed by the end of the 1st quarter of this year and would bring on stream an additional 125 megawatts to the national grid when completed

According to him, the Olorunsogo Power Plant project is a very significant milestone for a local company to execute.

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ADEDUNTAN URGES BANKS TO IMPROVE LOAN MONITORING TO PREVENT NPLS’ BUILD-UP

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Dr. Adesola Adeduntan - FirstBank CEO

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, has advised financial institutions in the country to be vigilant and improve the monitoring of their customers’ loans in order to prevent the build-up of non-performing loans (NPLs) in the industry as a result of the macroeconomic challenges.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with THISDAY, Adeduntan also urged businesses and their bankers to approach the new year in a collaborative relationship in order to overcome anticipated headwinds in the economy.

Adeduntan explained, “To prevent rising NPLs, businesses and their bankers will have to collaborate more and ensure timely flow of information to prevent surprises.

“Banks on their part will have to improve monitoring of their loan portfolio to quickly identify early warning signals for attention before a full-scale loan deterioration.

“Overall, businesses and their bankers must approach 2023 with a partnership mindset to ensure that a win-win outcome is achieved despite the anticipated macroeconomic challenges.”

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, recently warned that 2023 would be tougher than 2022 for much of the global economy, as the United States, European Union and China see slowing growth.

Georgieva had said 2023 would be a “tough year”, with one-third of the world’s economies expected to be in recession.

The IMF had in October cut its global growth forecast to 2.7 per cent, down from 2.9 per cent forecast in July, amid headwinds, including the war in Ukraine and sharply rising interest rates.

Owing to the anticipated weakening of the global economy, Adeduntan said with slowing growth and elevated inflation rates, the sustainability of foreign debts, especially for developing nations, was likely to call for a re-evaluation by lenders given the increased likelihood of default.

He stated, “When this is juxtaposed with the higher interest rate environment at which these debts are likely to be refinanced, you will observe a scenario where further strain is exerted on the debt repayment capacity of these economies.

“However, this situation does not necessarily translate to an automatic economic doom for developing nations. The actual impact on each developing economy will depend on the economy’s level of fiscal discipline and revenue generating capacity.

“Developing nations, who are able, in the short term, to increase revenues either from taxes or sale/refinancing of idle/sub-optimal assets will be able to negotiate reasonable refinancing terms from lenders and prevent further economic turmoil.

“Nonetheless, all concerned nations need to take the issue of debt sustainability more seriously by limiting fiscal wastages, reducing inefficiencies, growing revenues, and aggressively working down unsustainable debt-to-GDP levels that may worsen the impacts of external shocks.”

Adeduntan also pointed out that expectedly, rising cost of debt and contracting demand would exacerbate the challenges that businesses would face this year, particularly for players operating in small-margins sectors of the economy.

Locally, the surging inflation rate was also expected to reduce disposable income of most consumers and demand for non-essential goods and services may dip, he said.

He, however, pointed out that despite the expected macroeconomic challenges in 2023, there were also emerging business and revenue opportunities that could be exploited by discerning players in the financial services industry.

Specifically, he identified the areas that would provide significant opportunity to players in the financial services industry to include payments, digital security, mergers and acquisition (M&A) opportunities, partnership across segments and consumer lending.

Adeduntan explained, “The Central Bank of Nigeria’s renewed drive on cashless policy has provided an opportunity for players in the financial services industry to enhance existing digital product offerings and create more attractive product offerings that will further reduce frictions in the payment process.

“This will help to reduce the financial exclusion gap, increase fees and commissions revenues, and improve overall viability and stability of the financial system.”

In the area of digital security, the chief executive said, “Increasing adoption of digital payments platforms will necessitate increased requirement for the security of payment channels. Thus, opportunities exist for players in the financial services industry to leverage robotics and artificial intelligence to improve security protocols on digital payment channels.”

He added, “With the anticipated pressures on earnings, opportunities exist for big and liquid players to gain additional scale and market share through outright acquisition of fringe players with the right strategic fit.

“There is also an opportunity for two or more small and/or medium size players to merge their operations/businesses to obtain scale advantage.

“The growing number of Fintechs and licensed Payment Service Banks also presents an opportunity for improved partnerships across various categories of players in the financial services industry for both mutual and industry-wide benefits.

“Tightening financial conditions of the average household will create opportunities for consumer loans in several variants such as buy-now-pay-later (BNPL), salary advance, consumer asset finance, etc. The industry is already witnessing a rising trend in the creation of digital consumer loan product offerings. This is likely to intensify in 2023.”

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Another set of winners to emerge in ongoing Polaris Save & Win Promo

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Polaris-Bank

…As Christmas Special Draw holds on December 29

 

Polaris Bank has announced that the third draw of its ongoing Save & Win promo is scheduled to hold on Thursday December 29, 2022.

 

The draw which will be conducted electronically, will hold at the Bank’s Victoria Island, Lagos headquarters, and will be broadcast live on the Bank’s social media channels where winners that emerged will be contacted and rewarded instantly.

 

The Bank has rewarded a total of 162 winners in the first and second draws that held on November 4 and December 8, respectively in a transparent selection witnessed by the relevant regulatory authorities.

 

The Bank in a statement on Wednesday, disclosed that another set of 100 Nigerians will be winners and will take-home cash prize of N100,000 each in the Christmas Special Draw.

 

According to Polaris Bank, customers can still participate in, or increase their chances of winning by depositing a minimum of N5,000 in their Savings account. Also, non-customers of the Bank can participate for a chance to win in the draw by opening a Polaris Savings account with N2,000 and growing same to N5,000 before the draw date.

 

Representatives of the relevant Lottery Commissions, Advertising Regulatory and Consumer Protection Agencies would be present at the draw to monitor and ensure transparency in the process.

 

The general public is invited to participate and follow the draw live on the Bank’s social media handles: @Polarisbankltd on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

 

Polaris Bank announced that this year’s Save & Win promo will reward over 4,000 Nigerians with cash gifts ranging from N100,000 to N1,000,000 in its monthly, quarterly and special draws.

 

Below are four (4) ways to participate in the promo:

 

 

  1. Download VULTe on iOS and the App store to open a Polaris Savings Account or dial USSD *833*0# on your phone or log into Polaris Bank savings portal at https://accounts.polarisbanklimited.com/opening/

 

  1. Grow your account by N5,000 or more for 30 days or 3 months to qualify for monthly & quarterly draws respectively; by N50,000 in 3 months to qualify for Xmas Special draw.
  1. If your account is dormant, you can reactivate your account without visiting the Bank by simply logging into the portal:https://accounts.polarisbanklimited.com/reactivate/, accept the terms and conditions, and update the required details the Bank may need.
  1. Follow the Bank’s handles @polarisbankltd across all social media platforms or visit the website at www.polarisbanklimited.com to stay updated.

 

Polaris Bank, adjudged Digital Bank of the Year 2021 and 2022, is a future-determining Bank committed to delivering industry-defining products for individuals and businesses.

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