N617b March revenue shared by Federal, states, LGAs


Ahmed Idris: says FAAC distributes N617billion March revenue to FG, states and councils

By Racheal Ishaya

The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, on Tuesday said N617.56 billion revenue generated in March was shared from the federation account to the three tiers of government.

The amount showed a decrease of about N2.29 billion from what was shared in February.

Idris said this at a news conference at the end of the monthly Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting in Abuja.

Giving a breakdown of the revenue accrued in March, Idris said that the mineral revenue reduced by N41.65 billion, moving from N350.09 billion in February to N308.4 billion in March.

He however, said that the non-mineral revenue Increased by N13.88 billion, from N124.3 billion in February to N138.2 billion in March.

He said that in March, the federation crude oil sales increased by 49.18 per cent, resulting in increased federation revenue of about 240.23 million dollars.

“Also, the average crude oil price increased from 63.62 dollars to 79.06 dollars per barrel.

“Lifting operations were adversely affected by production Shut in and Shut down at various terminals due to technical issues, leaks and maintenance.

“Revenues from Oil Royalty, import and Excise duties increased remarkably while Petroleum Profit Tax decreased marginally, ” he said.

In summary, Idris said that the Federal Government received N208.39 billion, states got N105.7 billion and local governments received N81.49 billion.

In addition, N39.59 billion, representing 13 per cent of the mineral revenue was shared to oil producing states.

Idris said that as at April 25, the money left in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was 183 million dollars.

He said that was the amount remaining in the ECA after withdrawals were made some months back to procure some necessary Military hardwares.

On the Implementation of the new minimum wage, Idris said technically it had commenced, therefore arrears would be paid once its cash backed.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Commissioners of Finance Forum, Mr Mahmoud Yunusa said the Forum had appointed the Commosioner of Finance, Kogi state as acting Head of the Forum.

He explained that the Kogi State Commisioner would handle the affairs of the Forum pending when the State Governors appoint new commissioners under the next administration.


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Did South Africa’s #FeesMustFall protests bring real change?


Three years ago university students across South Africa took to the streets to protest against a proposed fee hike.

They were demanding the government deliver on its long term promise of free education.

The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani looks at how far the country has come since those demonstrations and the importance the education policies of the political parties have in the upcoming election.

Known by the hashtag #FeesMustFall, they were the largest student protests since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Video producer: Christian Parkinson


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Budget 2019: National Assembly sets aside N160b for minimum wage


President presenting the 2019 budget last December at the National Assembly

By Taiye Agbaje/Abuja

The National Assembly on Tuesday approved N160 billion for the new minimum wage for federal workers and payment of severance benefits to civil servants, in the 2019 budget.

The decision followed the unanimous endorsement of the 2019 Budget presentation by the lawmakers at separate plenaries which held simultaneously in both houses and presided over by Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara at the National Assembly, Abuja.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Dec. 19 presented the 2019 Budget proposal of N8.83 trillion before the joint section of the National Assembly.

However, the Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the 2019 Appropriation Bill and jacked the budget to N8.92 trillion, an increase of N90 billion.

The salary increase and severance benefits were contained in the service-wide votes.

N5 billion was also provided for ”payment of outstanding death benefit to civil servants/police”.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sen. Danjuma Goje, while addressing newsmen shortly after the budget passage, affirmed that the N160 billion was to fund the minimum wage increase and severance benefits as stipulated in item 90 of the report.

Goje, however, stated that if the amount budgeted failed to meet the demand, the Federal Government could present a supplementary budget to cover the shortfall.

NAN reports that the National Minimum Wage Bill, which was passed by the lower and upper house on Jan. 29 and March 19 respectively, was signed into law by President Buhari on April 18.

Mustapha Dawaki, Chairman House Committee on Appropriations said the budget will be transmitted to President Muhammmadu Buhari for his assent on Thursday


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Chukwueze Yet To Confirm Availability For 2019 U-20 World Cup


Samuel Chukwueze is yet to make a decision on whether or not to represent Nigeria at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland this May, Completesports.com reports.

The Villarreal winger is among the eight overseas-based professionals invited by Flying Eagles head coach Paul Aigbogun who released 30-man provisional list for the team’s three-week camping exercise in Ingolstadt, Germany.

The other overseas-based players are; Kingsley Michael, Ash Kigbu, Tom Dele-Bashiru, Chinedu Ekene, Henry Offia, Abubakar Jibril and Hamdi Akujobi.

But the Villarreal youngster is not certain he will honour the call with less than three weeks to the start of the competition.

“Chukwueze has not decided whether he will play at the U-20 World Cup in Poland, ” a reliable source close the to the player informed Completesports.com on Tuesday.

“His main focus at the moment is to help Villarreal escape relegation in the Spanish LaLiga. He will surely make a decision on his availability for the U-20 World Cup soon.”

Chukwueze has scored five goals in 24 league appearances for Villarreal this season.

The Flying Eagles had a disappointing outing at the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Niger early in the year and Aigbogun has decided to beef up
the squad with more quality and experienced players.

The Flying Eagles have been drawn in the same group alongside Qatar, USA and Ukraine at the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup finals.

By Adeboye Amosu


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Singer Peter Doherty thanks NHS after piercing hand on hedgehog | Ents & Arts News


Peter Doherty has thanked hospital “angels” after piercing his hand on a hedgehog.

Yes, you read that correctly – and the spike wound got infected.

The singer, who is currently promoting his debut album with his new band, revealed the news on Twitter, posting two pictures from his hospital bed in Manchester on Monday.

Saying he had suffered an “infected hedgehog spike wound” he went on to say: “Thank you to the wonderful men and women who work within the NHS. What absolute angels and a million times they deserve our respect and thanks.”

The incident apparently happened while the 40-year-old was taking his pet Siberian huskies for a walk.

Peter Doherty performs on stage with his husky dogs in Newcastle , January 2019
Doherty got his dogs on stage at a gig in Newcastle earlier this year

Fortunately, the Libertines and former Babyshambles frontman is now out of hospital and “on the mend”, a spokesman for the star confirmed to Sky News.

UK gigs scheduled to start on Belfast in Friday will all go ahead as planned, Doherty’s spokesman said.


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Mozambique: Cyclone Kenneth aftermath leaves 200,000 at risk


Mozambique requires urgent life-saving relief to deal with the destructive aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth, an aid organisation has said.

Save the Children says the humanitarian situation is significant and life-threatening and more funds are needed.

BBC Africa’s Lebo Diseko reports from Pemba in the north-east of the country, where heavy rains are continuing to hamper aid efforts.


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ABU Zaria in N6bn alleged tax evasion fraud, faces tribunal


ABU Zaria in N6bn alleged tax evasion fraud, faces tribunal
ABU Zaria in N6bn alleged tax evasion fraud, faces tribunal

By Philip Yatai

The North West Tax Appeal Tribunal sitting in Kaduna on Tuesday began hearing of N6.1 billion tax evasion case brought against Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, by the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDIRS).

The revenue service had on January 16, 2014 instituted the case against ABU for failure to implement the full Pay-As-You-Earn tax table and remit same to the service from 2007 to 2012, amounting to N6.1 billion.

ABU had earlier requested for out-of-court settlement and the tribunal chaired by Umar Adamu granted the request and adjourned the case till April 30 for report of settlement or hearing.

The Counsel to KDIRS, Mr Francis Kozah informed the court that the revenue service held series of meetings with the management of the institution but could not reach any substantive settlement.

Kozah prayed the court to commence hearing so as to conclude the five-year long case.

The counsel, through his first witness, tendered before the court the Tax Audit Report 2007 to 2012 and was admitted in evidence as Exhibit A.

He equally tendered the Demand Notice to the tune of N6.1 billion in respect of the Audit Report served on the respondent and was admitted in evidence as Exhibit B.

He prayed on the tribunal to ask the institution to pay all outstanding PAYE arrears including interest and penalty as stated by law.

The Counsel to ABU, Mr Christopher Ikpa requested for a new date to cross examine the witness.

But Kozah objected the request on the grounds that the witness written disposition, adopted in the court has been with the respondent since February 27, 2019.

“The respondent was equally aware that the case comes up today (Tuesday) for either report of settlement or hearing.

“Also, the adjournments and the delay of this case has been on the instance of the respondent, any further adjournment will encourage the respondent to continue with the antics of the delay of the matter.

“I, therefore, urge the tribunal to reject the application and order the counsel to cross examine the witness,” he added.

Immediately after Koza’s submission, counsel to A.B.U collapsed on his table over an unidentified illness.

The development forced Kozah to accept Ikpa’s request on health ground and asked the court to grant his request for adjournment.

The chairman of the tribunal granted the request and adjourned the case till May 23 for cross examination.

Similarly, the tribunal also adjourned the case between KDIRS and Kaduna Polytechnic till unspecific date in June, over the institution’s non-remittance of PAYE to the tune of N3.4 billion to KDIRS.

The amount was the accumulation of non-remittance of PAYE to the Kaduna State Government from 2007 to 2012.

The case also came up for report of settlement or commencement of hearing, but Kozah told the court that the out of court settlement did not yield any result.

Responding, the counsel to Kaduna Polytechnic, Mr Andrew Nwako, appealed to the tribunal to give his client additional time to further explore the out-of-court settlement, which according to him has reached advanced stage.

Kozah did not object and the chairman of the tribunal granted the request.


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EU’s unemployment rate drops to 7.7% in March



EU’s unemployment rate drops to 7.7% in March

European Union’s statistics agency, Eurostat, on Tuesday said unemployment in the eurozone has fallen to 7.7 per cent in March from 7.8 per cent in February.

According to the agency, Eurostat’s seasonally-adjusted figure marks the lowest rate recorded in the 19-member currency bloc since September 2008.

In March, 12.6 million people were out of work across the eurozone, down by 174,000 from the previous month.

Meanwhile, adjusted youth unemployment fell to 16 per cent in March, down from 16.1 per cent in February.

The EU’s lowest unemployment rate was recorded in the Czech Republic at 1.9 per cent.

“Within the eurozone, the lowest figures were in Germany (3.2 per cent) and the Netherlands (3.3 per cent).

“The highest rates were in Greece, where the most recent data show unemployment at 18.5 per cent in January and Spain, at 14 per cent.

“Across the 28-member EU, unemployment was 6.4 per cent in March, down from 6.5 per cent in February.

“This is the lowest rate since Eurostat started compiling monthly data in January 2000,’’ the agency said. (dpa/NAN)


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Nura Abdullahi: AS Roma’s Nigerian forced to retire aged 21


Nura Abdullahi slides in to make a tackle while playing for AS Roma’s under-19 team

AS Roma’s Nigerian defender Nura Abdullahi has been forced to retire from football on medical advice at the age of just 21.

He has a contract with the Italian side until June 2021 and was initially placed on a ‘period of rest’