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HOW NEW FIRS TRAINING STRATEGY WILL SAVE BILLIONS IN FEW YEARS

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By Kelechi Okoronkwo

Executive Chairman, FIRS, Muhammad Nami

For big and critical organisations such the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) which has a workforce of over 11,000 staff, the issue of human capacity development is a big deal. With the preponderance of technology in all facets of human endeavour, the world keeps evolving by the day; and the workforce of such organisations like the FIRS needs to evolve at a higher speed per day in order to stay ahead of evolving trends.

This is the rationale for the frequent subject-matter training which the FIRS schedules for all staff. To sharpen the skills of staff, the Management expects that all staff of the Service, including contract drivers, should be trained on their job functions at least once in two years- that is, as a worst-case scenario. In practice, staff could get training on their job functions at an average rate of three times in one year. To achieve the above schedule, it becomes inevitable that the Service has to spend a lot of money on training. Considering the high cost of training using consultants in Nigeria at the moment, the cost of achieving high quality training for all of FIRS workforce over a two-year period could run into billions of Naira; and since such trainings are a necessity, the Service would have no option other than to pay for its staff development.

Group Lead of FIRS General Services Group (GSG), Ahmed M. Muhammed, supervises Career and Skills Development Department.

Recently, in line with its policy of cost saving and obtaining value for money, the Service introduced a new training strategy—Train the Trainer Strategy. The Management called for applications from suitably qualified staff to serve as Subject Matter Experts and from the numerous applications, selected outstanding staff who have expert knowledge of the subject matter, deploying them to handle various programs based on their expertise. As a result, FIRS does not need to utilise training consultants for all capacity building programs; the Service needs only to outsource experts to handle trainings where internal capacity is not available.

The Service has deployed the above strategy for about six months now and it is working seamlessly so far. During the strategy assessment engagement recently, some of the trainees as well as the facilitators praised FIRS Management for thinking out of the box. A class of staff who were undergoing a training on Fundamentals of Taxation at the FIRS training school in Durumi, Area 1, Abuja, gave a standing ovation to one of their colleagues after handling the training.

Reacting to the development, one of the trainees said that he was happy that the FIRS Management is now using FIRS staff to train FIRS staff. He said: “This is a great initiative by the Management. You can see that everyone is happy. You are motivated because the person standing before you is also your colleague. You are freer to ask them questions, the class becomes more relaxed and interactive. You are also motivated to learn the subject matter so that one day, you can stand before other colleagues and lecture them. This is commendable and we want the Management to keep it up. Apart from making the class more relaxed, it also saves costs. Using this strategy, the Management does not need to always use training consultants. We can save the money and use it for other pressing needs of the Service. It also helps both the trainers and the trainees; the trainers would internalise the subject matter more if they keep teaching other staff; because you would not want to come here and mess up yourself, you would try to read the subject matter very well. By doing so, the trainers are equipping themselves more. For the trainees, you are challenged and motivated to do better”.

Responding to accolades, one of the trainers said “We will report back to the Management that you said that this strategy is good. We also believe that it is good. Thank you very much”, the trainer said.

Director of FIRS Career and Skills Development Department, Mrs. Angel Fadahunsi

The Director of Career and Skills Development Department of the FIRS, Mrs. Angel Fadahunsi, said that the Service is convinced that using competent staff to train other staff would be more productive.

“Yes, that is the way the Service is going. Why should we be paying consultants to come and train our staff when we have the capacity to train ourselves? There is no reason for that. This is one of my Department’s 2022 Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and we are working hard to achieve it. By next year, more training programs which were outsourced will be handled by staff. We are not outsourcing them any longer. You can see that both the trainers and the trainees are happy; and at the same time, the Management is saving money. We are using our competent staff to train other staff. This is the way the Service is going and it’s just one of many innovations that the ECFIRS has encouraged us to adopt; watch out for more” she said.

Kelechi Okoronkwo is a Technical Staff to FIRS Executive Chairman.

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THANKSGIVING, PRAISES AS AS EVANG MILLING BOWS OUT AFTER 21 AS PREACHER CHURCH OF CHRIST KARU-JIKWOYI

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It was a moment of joy , Thanksgiving and excitement as members of the Church of Christ, Karu-Jikwoyi Congregation Celebrates Evangelist Milling Chukwumaeze who bows out after twenty-one years as minister of the congregation.

The New Preacher of the congregation, Evangelist Innocent Agu led other members to present a three million naira bank check in appreciation for the good work done by the exiting Preacher.

Speaking during the event tagged , ” Celebration of Service” Evangelist Obakemi Moses of the Church of Christ, Nyanya congregation Charged Preachers of the Lord’s Church to be Passionate about their works at all times. He reminded them that God has called them out to dedicate themselves to his service. He lauded the Church of Christ Karu-Jikwoyi for celebrating Evangelist Milling Chukwumaeze.

Evangelist Obakemi tasked the Churches to always be focus on its goals as stated in the holy scriptures.

In welcome remarks, the host Evangelist, Innocent Agu thanked his predecessor for diligently servicing the congregation in the past twenty-one years. He noted that the Church will continue to respect and love the outgoing Preacher. He gave a historic explanation of how Evangelist Milling Chukwumaeze became a member of the Lord’s Church while praising his dedication all these years.

In their Goodwill messages, Evangelist Imoh Atakpa of the Church of Christ, Kubwa and his Kagini Counterpart Evangelist Uche Onyeike tasked members of the Lord’s Church to take proper care of their Evangelists if they hope to get the best of them. They lauded Evangelist Milling Chukwumaeze for his commitment to duty, especially in the Television Evangelism activities of the Churches of Christ in Abuja and its Environs.

In his response, Evangelist Milling Chukwumaeze thanked the Church of Christ Karu-Jikwoyi for giving him the opportunity to serve in God’s vineyard and supported him throughout the last two decades on the saddle. He said though age was not on his side he was not willing to quit, but the congregation decided otherwise. Evangelist Chukwumaeze enjoined the members to be heavenly minded at all times while running the Christian race with purity and steadfastness. He prayed for the congregation to do better under his successor while enjoining everyone to support him physically and spiritually.

Highpoint of the event was the cutting of the celebration cake and general presentation of gifts by members.

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Rev Yakubu dispels Yomi’s claims of NCPC suspension of pilgrimage

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….says exercise ongoing, challenges Adamawa CAN chairman on corruption allegations

The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Reverend Yakubu Pam, on Saturday debunked claims that the NCPC has suspended the 2022 pilgrimage.

Pam also challenged the Chairman of the Adamawa State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Steven Dami Manzo over the corruption allegations he levelled against him.

NCPC Board Chairman, Rev Yomi Kasali had recently announced the suspension of all activities related to this year’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem while Bishop Manzo had accused the NCPC executive secretary of financial misappropriation.

Reacting during a news programme on TVC on Saturday evening, the NCPC boss said as the chief accounting officer of the commission, nobody had suspended the 2022 pilgrimage.

He said there was no time that the NCPC management or Board held any meeting to take a decision to suspend this year’s pilgrimage, which had already commenced and was still ongoing.

Pam clarified that due to some logistics problems encountered in the course of the pilgrimage, the Board of the Commission met in November and resolved that the commission would not continue with the airlifting of the pilgrims from the states that had paid to Israel for the November-December exercise.

He added that discontinuing the airlifting of intending pilgrims does not amount to and should not be misconstrued as a suspension of the entire pilgrimage activities.

Pam further stated that suspending pilgrimage was a cumbersome process which the Commission could not unilaterally take a decision on as its supervisory body must inform the President through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the National Assembly.

He added that the Commission’s customers, which are the state governments that have paid and the private tour operators could also drag NCPC to court if it decided to take any decision to suspend the pilgrimage.

Pam said, “Because of the logistics problems we faced, we said we should not continue with airlifting, not suspending pilgrimage activities. Suspension means that everything is locked down.

“Before you make a statement on anything suspension, you must write our supervisory body and tell them that we’re suspending activities. You’ll also have to, which is through the office of the SGF, to inform Mr President that everything in the commission is suspended. You must also write the National Assembly and our customers because they have the right to take us to court as a lot of them have paid us to travel.

“But when we say airlifting is suspended, it means other activities are going on and what are other activities? Today, we have over 12 states that have already paid to travel and we’re conducting what we call screening to make sure we have those who are certified to travel, by health, and those that we feel may not abscond. This is what is going on and is part of the pilgrimage activities and just within three weeks or two weeks ago, we have more than four states that have already paid.

“And we have private sector tour organisations which registered with us and they have the licence to carry people to Israel and bring them back but through us because we also screen them and we are in charge of the visas. Until we write the authorities and Government of Israel to give them visas, they will not have visas. And right now as I’m talking, we have over a hundred of them in Israel. So, if there is suspension of pilgrimage activities, why are people in Israel? Why are people in Jordan?”

Pam also said there was no controversy about the N1.5millon paid by intending pilgrims, adding that the commission held a meeting with its private customers and the states in September where the fee was agreed upon.

“As I said, about 12 states have already paid. We start with that first before you go into procurement and then you award the contract to the contractors that will carry the people by the airlines and then the ground handlers who are there in Israel,” he said.

On the corruption allegations leveled against him by the Adamawa State CAN chairman, the NCPC boss said anyone with any proof of graft against should present his evidence to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, which is the supervisory body rather than making wild and unfounded allegations in the media.

“I’m here as the chief accounting officer of the commission to say that there is no suspension of pilgrimage anywhere. If somebody mentions corruption at NCPC, there is a way you can bring it up – bring evidence of the money and whatever it is, there is EFCC or you can take it to those who supervise us. You can come to the media level corruption allegations,” Pam said.

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WAYSS2022: U.S Secretary Envoy on Trade, Patricia Yakubu to deliver keynote address

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The U.S Secretary Envoy on Trade Amb. Patricia Yakubu has been announced as the keynote speaker at the West African Youths and Students Summit (WAYSS2022) scheduled to hold in Niamey of Niger 🇳🇪 Republic. In a release by the Secretary-General, Amb Mohammed Ahmed Marafa, the theme of the summit is ‘Empowering the West African Young Population for Sustainable Development’

The summit is the flagship annual event of the West African Youth Congress that brings together young people on the subregion and diaspora to deliberate on the crucial issues affecting the common future of young people. WAYC convenes the largest youths and students gathering on the subregion under the banner of West Africa Youths & Students Summit (WAYSS).

The Summit will commence on December 15, 2022 and among some prominent speakers are Head of UN Human Rights Commission Niger 🇳🇪 Republic, Amb. Dr. Omer Kebiwou KALAMEU, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Niger Republic, His Excellency M. Ahmed Ali Sirohey, and CEO Hon. Ikechukwu Ezeugwu Foundation of Nigeria.

Others are Ambassador of Nigeria to Niger Republic, Minister of Youth and Sports of The Gambia, Hon. Bakary Y. Badji, The Minister of Youth and Sports of Niger Republic Sekou Doro Adamou, Dr. Samuel C. Avemaria Utulu of the American University of Nigeria and Hon. Mohammed Mayas a seasoned politician and Academician among others.

Highpoints of the summit will include Panel and Interactive sessions.

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