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Trouble Brews In FIRS As Workers Rejects Fowler’s Handover To Aina, Demand Handover To Senior Director

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Twenty-four hours after the change of guard at the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), members of staff of the Service have given the authorities till Friday for the most senior director to take over as acting chairman.

Mr. Babatunde Fowler handed over to Abiodun Aina, Coordinating Director, Domestic Taxes Group after President Muhammadu Buhari named Muhammad M. Nami to replace him as chairman and sent his name to the Senate for confirmation.

According to a communique sent to the Acting Executive Chairman, the workers, under the aegis of the Joint Union Council of FIRS, threatened that they cannot guarantee industrial harmony after Friday if Aina continues to act as chairman.

The FIRS claimed that Aina, “does not have the basic qualification/requirement (HND or BSc) to be employed into the Service.”

Besides, the union said Aina’s appointment to the position of Coordinating Director “was against the provision of Section 2.19 of FIRS Human Resource Policies and Processes which states as follows: Appointment to the post of Coordinating Director shall be made by the Board on the recommendation of the Executive Chairman.”

Aina’s appointment they claim should “be open to all confirmed Directors of the Service and it shall be competitive based on experience, competence, and seniority, as he was never a director in the Service rather a Senior Special Assistant to the erstwhile Chairman of FIRS.”

They also claimed that “his name is not on the seniority list of confirmed FIRS staff and FIRS directors on the staff nominal roll rather on the list of Contract Staff of FIRS.”

At the end of the emergency meeting, union members resolved that “in accordance with the Presidential Directive, the seniority list should be followed and the appropriate person be directed to act, pending assumption of duty of the New FIRS executive chairman.

“That if by close of work on Friday, 13th December 2019, no action is taken to this effect, Union will no longer guaranty further industrial harmony in the system.”

The communique was signed by Okere Samson (JUC Chairman); Idris Hassan Abdulrahaman (JUC Vice-Chairman); Lekwot Friday Thomas (JUC Secretary); Jimoh Idowu; Kenechukwu Oliver; Shehu M.D; Esther Acheme; Jane Akinbami; Abba Dalhatu; Akpabio N.M; Ajoge J.Y; Akorga Lucy; Ohiwere Ahmed A; Abubakar Abeni; Hussaini Moses; Nwoha Godwin and Habiba Adekunle.

The union leaders sent copies of the communique to Finance Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nígeria President and his Nigeria Civil Service Union counterpart.

BIG STORY

COVID-19: Bristow Helicopters Sacks 100 Pilots, Engineers

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The management of Bristow Helicopter has sacked over 100 pilots and engineers – both National and Expatriates.

This is coming on the second day of the industrial strike action embarked upon by its workers under the aegis of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers who were demanding equitable salary remuneration.

The airline blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 in the sector.

A statement from management partly read, “The combined effects of these ‘arising’ has resulted in very significant reductions to our business particularly a reduction in the number of contracted aircraft in Nigeria. As a result, the company must now restructure all aspects of its business model (both Rotary & Fixed Wing), including an extensive review of its operations and we continue to drive efficiencies, but with zero compromises to safety and our core values.

“One of these measures includes the right-sizing of the business to ensure that the company has the optimal level of personnel to continue the safe delivery of its services to its clients, whilst allowing the appropriate capacity for future growth. Accordingly, and with much regret, the company has taken the very difficult decision to release over 100 pilots and engineers (both National and Expatriates) over the next couple of weeks.”

The development is coming in the midst of an ongoing face-off between the unions and the Bristow management over labour matters.

National Vice President, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Capt. Yakubu Dukas confirmed the development, vowing to fight the management’s act.

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BIG STORY

NIPOST, FIRS War Escalates Over Stamp Duty Collection

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The imbroglio between Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) and the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) over jurisdiction in respect of stamp duty collection worsened on Tuesday.

Director Communication and Liaison FIRS, Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, in a statement vowed the FIRS is determined to ensure all monies collected by NIPOST into its alleged illegally operated Stamp Duties Account are fully remitted into the Federation Account.

He also said but FIRS would make sure that any kobo not accounted for in that account is legally recovered.

But Chairman of the Nigeria Postal Service, Maimuna Abubakar, in a series of tweets on Sunday, lamented FIRS has stolen the mandate of NIPOST.

The NIPOST chairman said the FIRS, which is the agency responsible for assessing, collecting and accounting for tax accruing to the Federal Government, had begun printing stamps.

She alleged FIRS did not only steal NIPOST’s stamps but also its ideas.

Abubakar tweeted: “I am worried for NIPOST, having sleepless nights because of NIPOST. We need the general public to come to our aid; FIRS stole our mandate.

“FIRS are now selling stamps instead of buying from us. What is happening; are we expected to keep quiet and let FIRS kill and bury NIPOST?

“We need to get our mandate. NIPOST is the sole custodian of national stamps; another agency printing and selling stamps is against the law of the land.”

But, FIRS in a series of tweets on Tuesday, countered NIPOST and faulted claims of Maimuna Abubakar.

It said: “To be sure, NIPOST is a government parastatal established by Decree 41 of 1992 with the function to develop, promote and provide adequate and efficiently co-ordinated postal services at reasonable rates.

“This function is clearly contrary to the claim by NIPOST over the administration of stamp duties in Nigeria.

“On the other hand, the FIRS is the sole agency charged with the responsibility of assessing, collecting, and accounting for all tax types including Stamp Duties.”

There has been contention between FIRS and NIPOST over which agency is the custodian of stamp duty following the implementation of the Stamp Duty Act.

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BIG STORY

WAEC Releases 2020 WASSCE Timetable, Exams To Start August 17

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The West African Examinations Council has released the timetable for the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, The PUNCH is reporting.

The Federal Government had announced the resumption of graduating pupils beginning August 4, noting that WASSCE would begin effective August 17, 2020, through September 12, 2020.

WAEC Nigeria in a statement on Tuesday signed by its Head of Public Affairs, Demianus Ojijeogu, advised candidates to disregard other versions of the examination timetable in circulation.

The statement was titled, ‘WAEC Releases Timetable For The Conduct Of West African Senior School Certificate Examination For School Candidates, 2020’.

The statement read, “The West African Examinations Council, Nigeria wishes to inform its stakeholders-schools, parents and candidate-that the Final International Timetable for the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates, 2020 has been released.

“The Council notes that several versions of the examination timetable have been in circulation and enjoins the general public to disregard them as they did not emanate from it.

“The examination which has been slated to begin on Monday, August 17, 2020, will end on Saturday, September 12, 2020.

“The Council hereby urges the candidates to abide by the rules and regulations guiding the conduct of the examination by shunning all acts of malpractice and obeying all Covid-19 protocols that have been put in place at the examination centers.

“This is wishing the candidate’s success in the examination.”

Ojijeogu in a chat with our correspondent said details of the timetable would follow.

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