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Nigeria can earn N600bn from tobacco, alcohol tax hike – World Bank

The World Bank has said Nigeria can generate N600bn annually by increasing the excise duties on tobacco and alcohol as recommended in the National Development Update report.

A Senior Tax Specialist of the bank, Rajul Awasthi, said this on Thursday at a virtual discussion on domestic revenue mobilisation.

According to him, Nigeria has one of the lowest excise duty rates on tobacco and alcohol in Africa, and the duty rate on cigarettes is lower than the standard set by the Economic Community of West African States.

He advised the Federal Government to either adopt the excise standards for tobacco and alcohol recommended by the ECOWAS or Kenya to boost the country’s revenue from tax.

Reps invite Amaechi over NPA’s unaccounted N166.9bn

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts has invited the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority to explain the revenues accrued to the agency totalling N166.69bn as of December 31, 2016, which were not properly captured in its statement of account.

The committee is asking the minister and the NPA to explain the cost of services rendered to the Authority amounting to about N103.99bn, which was made up of channels and waterways maintenance at N65.130bn as well as ports and quays expenses amounting to N38.41bn.

The officials had been invited to especially respond to queries issued by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation on the financial statements of the NPA in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Read Also: World Bank, AU team up to fast-track COVID-19 vaccines delivery to 400m Africans

Lagos, Abuja airports, others to be concessioned by August

The Federal Government, yesterday, said the quartet of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports will be concessioned by August.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said in Lagos that the last phase of the concession preparations would be done between this month and July.

In a related development, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has acquired two new automated mobile control towers, to serve as backups in both Lagos and Abuja airports.

The Federal Government has been itching to concession all the 22 federal airports since 2016, beginning with the big four in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, to enable them to function efficiently and profitably. Despite the government’s assurance that the workers would still be relevant in the new arrangement, the unions have been against concession.

Africa facing third wave COVID-19 surge, WHO warns

The World Health Organisation (WHO), yesterday, warned that Africa is facing a fast-surging third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, with cases spreading more rapidly and projected to soon overtake the peak of the second wave the continent witnessed at the start of 2021.

WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, during a virtual press conference, yesterday, facilitated by APO Group, said COVID-19 cases have risen for five consecutive weeks since the onset of the third wave on May 3, 2021.

As of June 20, day 48 into the new wave, Africa had recorded around 474,000 new cases—a 21 per cent increase compared with the first 48 days of the second wave. At the current rate of infections, the ongoing surge is set to surpass the previous one by early July.

324,000 children, $27.8b lost to conflict in Northeast, says UN

As security agents continue to battle flashpoints of conflict and insecurity across the country, a 12-year-old insurgency in the Northeast has caused the deaths of some 324,000 children under five, mostly from disease and hunger, while lives lost to conflict in the troubled states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe may hit 1.1 million should the crisis continue till 2030, the United Nations (UN) has warned.

This means for every year that the conflict continues, the burden is felt increasingly by infants and children. Every day of continued conflict takes the lives of 170 children under five and by 2030, that could grow to 240 daily.

Previous data showed that Boko Haram militants, who launched an insurgency in 2009 against the Federal Government that has since spread to neighbouring countries, have killed more than 35,000 people and displaced over two million from their homes.

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