NACC seeks better tariffs

Image result for Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce NACCThe Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) is pushing for favourable tariffs.

Its President, Toyin Akomolafe, said there was the need to create better trade deals for the country to reduce dependency on oil as well as increasing engagement with China.

He noted that in Nigeria, there is an increase in Chinese investments in infrastructure, and the recent currency swap.

Akomolafe, who spoke during the chmber’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, observed that the tariffs instituted by the United States President on trade, would have a rippling effect across the globe, especially the tariffs imposed on China.

He added that a trade war between these economic giants would push African nations, including Nigeria, into harsh financial climates.

He said: “In Nigeria, we import almost everything from China, if the Chinese have to pay more to trade with the US, those extra expenses would be passed on to Nigerian consumers which would result in imported inflation.”

According to the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation, the global trade volumes would drop by six percent and global real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would fall by 1.4percent, if the US government insists on a 10 percent negotiating position across the board tariff on most things entering the country instead of the average level of two percent

Akomolafe noted that though influencing trade laws and policy would not be easy, the chamber was working out modalities that would overcome any challenges.

It is time, he said, to collaborate and draw up ideas that could persuade our trade companions in the US.

He said Nigeria had been fairly active in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) implementation, seeking more action.

He expressed the commitment to ensuring that non-oil commodities were exported through AGOA.

‘’We are committed to making NACC become the key institution for AGOA and partnering leaders and leading institutions that will move us into a more economical sound future,’’ he said.

He stressed the need to work together to build capacity for expertise, obtain more sources for financing, providing better networking opportunities and paths to international trade along with expanding our footprint in Nigeria and America.

He said the chamber would participate in all economic fora and partner leaders and leading organisations that could drive the economy of the country a successful future adding the chamber is committed to providing more networking and business opportunities. This, he believed, would, in effect, raise the country’s profile among American businesses in Nigeria and overseas.

NACC Membership Committee Chairman, Olufemi Adesanya, said the chamber assists members.

He said the chamber had created sectoral groups where members could engage, share ideas and knowledge, partner and collaborate. These included the property and construction sector, oil and gas services sector, financial services sector, professional services sector, and the agribusiness services sector.

According to him, while the property and construction sector is already in place, others would be inaugurated.

Capital Market: Senate plans legislation to revive market

The Nigerian National Assembly has expressed determination to revive the nation’s capital market through legislation to contribute to infrastructure development in the country.

 

The Chairman Senate Committee on Capital Market Senator Foster Ogola stated this at a joint briefing by the National Assembly joint committee on Capital Market on the forth coming Bi-Annual Stake Holders’ Summit on Capital Market.

 

Senator Ogola explained that the National Assembly will continue to provide the legislative support for the sector to provide necessary funding for capital projects to reduce budget deficit.

 

“This event of 23rd July is expected to yield productive recommendations on how to enhance the Nigerian Capital Market potentials towards enabling it to mobilize multi-billion dollar development funds from across the globe towards a past phase execution of infrastructure projects nationwide instead of relying on government’s limited annual budget.” Sen Ogola maintains.

 

Meanwhile his counterpart of the House of Representatives, Mr. Tajudden Yusuf from Kogi State explained that deliberate efforts have been made to boost the commodity exchange to boost agriculture as a means of diversification.

 

While stressing the need for effective commodity exchange platform to drive the agricultural revolution Mr. Yusuf said “Nobody will return to a venture that pays you less than what you invested in it.

 

Commodity exchange platform will help in standardization of the products at the same time farmers get adequate return.

Deliberately in this year’s conference we designed a topic to expand the scope of commodity exchange and to bring Nigerians to be conscious of it.”  

 

Capital Market as a catalyst for economic growth and development is the theme of this year’s event, expected to feature presentations aimed at boosting the nation’s economy through infrastructure development.

 

Post-recession challenges, implications and opportunities for Nigerian Capital Market, Role of commodity exchange development of agricultural sector and capital market option for funding the development of major infrastructure, were the major topics to be discussed during the event.

N-Power: FG to engage 300,000 new beneficiaries

Nigeria has concluded arrangements to engage and deploy 300,000 new beneficiaries in the second batch of its N-Power Volunteers Corp effective from 1st August, 2018.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, stated this in a release on Thursday.

“With 200,000 beneficiaries currently benefitting from the programme, this means that by August, 500,000 unemployed Nigerian graduates will be in the scheme, which is a crucial part of the administration’s National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP).”

“The N-Power Volunteer Corp scheme is designed to benefit all Nigerians irrespective of their backgrounds and is currently in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).”

“In conjunction with all State N-Power partners, the new beneficiaries will be promptly deployed to their assigned Primary Places of Assignment (PPA) on or before the said date.”

“The final selection lists broken down in States/Local Government Area (LGA) for each of the (3) N-Power component would be circulated to all focal persons in the states and FCT by Friday, July 20, 2018.”

“All successfully deployed N-Power beneficiaries in the second batch will be engaged for a period of two-year period starting from August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2020,” Akande said in the release.”

“In order to qualify for their first monthly payment stipend of N30, 000 by August 31, 2018, all deployed volunteers are expected to upload on their N-Power portal page their stamped and signed confirmation of resumption on or before Friday, August 10, 2018.”

Through the N-Power scheme, hundreds of thousands of young, unemployed Nigerian graduates have been empowered through training and skills acquisition in different areas of public services, including education (N-Teach), health (N-Health), agriculture (N-Agro), and building/construction (N-Build).

Each N-Power beneficiary learns entrepreneurial skills to enable them become business persons and become professionals on their own, while beneficiaries are given electronic devices to enhance their work and paid a N30,000 monthly stipend.

State-based N-Power partners comprise, but are not limited to the following: N-Teach – State Universal Board for Education (SUBEB); State & Local Government Area (LGA) Offices for Adult Education Centres; State & LGA Offices for Nomadic Education; N-Agro – State & LGA Offices for Agriculture Development Programme (ADP); and N-Health – State & LGA Offices for Primary Health Care Board.

House of Reps says probing loss of tax revenue, illegal mining

The Nigerian House of Representatives is to probe the alleged loss of fifty billion dollars, about eight trillion Naira in gold tax revenue and illegal mining in the country in the last five years.

This followed a unanimous adoption of a motion on the need to investigate the alleged revenue loss and illegal mining in the country.

Leading the debate on the motion, Mr. Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma from Edo State explained that despite the need to diversify the nation’s resources, the mining sector is heavily under-utilized, leading to importation of minerals that could be produced domestically.

The lawmaker quoted a report from Signal One International, SOI, a US based company, as saying that “In a 2016 report that Nigeria has lost “over $50 billion” in gold revenue tax in two years as a result of illegal mining and exportation of unprocessed gold.”

Mr. Aminu Shagari from Sokoto State in his contribution attributed security challenges in some parts of the country to the activities of illegal miners “In fact some of the recent killings are linked to illegal mining. There should be ways of curbing the excesses.”

Miss Beni Lar from Plateau State said even though such illegal practices experienced in the mining industry “ it is the same within the oil and gas sector, there is a better tracking of oil and gas. More should be done to secure the mining industry.”

Reports from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI indicated that Nigeria lost about nine billion dollars to illegal mining operations and gold exportation from 2014 to 2015.

The lawmakers agreed that illegal mining is one of the key challenges hindering the development of Nigeria’s mining industry.

US Agency says Nigeria got $1.3bn FDI from US in 2017

Related imageThe American Business Council (ABC) has disclosed that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of about 1.3 billion dollars flowed into the Nigerian economy from the US in 2017.

This was revealed during the Launch of the 2018 US Economic Impact Survey on Wednesday in Lagos.

Darrel McGraw, Vice President of ABC, said the survey carried out in collaboration with Accenture, KPMG, PwC and the US Embassy, assessed the overall economic impact of US companies in Nigeria.

He said the survey reflected the contribution of 74 US companies operating in Nigeria and their responses reinforced the role the US played in the economic wellbeing of Nigeria.

McGraw said the roles were in the areas of job creation, investments in training and development, tax contribution, and corporate social responsibility.

According to him, the surveyed companies generated a revenue of over N2.6 trillion in 2017, from N1 trillion in 2016.

He said they contributed N111 billion in tax to both the Federal and State Governments, created approximately 11,200 indirect jobs and over 9000 full time jobs in the year under review.

The  surveyed companies spent over N1.6 billion on training and development in 2017 from N340 million in 2016.

This shows US companies’ commitment in capacity building in order to correct the deficit in labour skills.

“N1.5 billion was spent by the companies on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), from N217 million spent in 2016.

“The focus areas are Education, Health, Infrastructure and Social intervention, which are key area of focus for US companies in Nigeria,” he said.

McGraw disclosed that about 52 per cent of these companies identified Nigeria as a regional hub for their operations in West Africa.

He said findings showed that 64 per cent of US companies had a local content target reflecting an inclination towards localisation in areas such as products, people and supply chain.

According to him, critical issues that impact the business operations of surveyed US companies in Nigeria includes labour, specific industry regulations, local content and crime and security.

Security of lives as well as Intellectual Property has been a crucial issue for US companies as this impacts investment and derails trust,” he said.

McGraw added that, though Nigeria had improved its performance on the Ease of doing business, businesses continued to face dire challenges in the country.

In spite of the challenges, this survey shows renewed focus of US companies operating in Nigeria committing in human capacity as well as financial investment.

“This is a clear indication that US businesses are committed to contributing to the Nigerian economy by uplifting its people, increasing investment in Nigeria and facilitating trade,” he said.

On his part, Mr Lazarus Angbazo, President of ABC, said US was a natural business partner of Nigeria and one with a long-standing commitment to the country.

He noted that some American firms had been in existence, partnered and invested in Nigeria since Independence, and there were over 100 US companies operating in Nigeria.

According to him, ABC is an integral stakeholder in the Commercial Investment Dialogue which is intended to deepen trade investment ties between the U.S. and Nigeria.

It is also designed to foster sustained engagement between governments on concrete issues of importance to the private sector.

ABC is an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce and was incorporated in 2007 to promote the development of commerce and investments between the US and Nigeria.

The council is a voice for all US companies operating in Nigeria and the first point of call for American investors to Nigeria.

NSITF N6.2bn fraud: Labour Minister receives report

The Administrative Panel of Enquiry, which probed the N6.2 billion scam at the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) on Wednesday submitted its report to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

Mr Ishaya Awotu, the chairman of the panel said that there were irregular allowances totalling N5.7 billion paid to staff and management.

“These allowances were paid without the approval of the  National Salary, Incomes and Wages Commission.’

Some of the allowances were Management Staff Allowance, Staff Education Allowance, DSTV Subscription Allowance, and Dressing Allowance.

The others were generator and motor vehicle fuelling allowance which were not provided for in the Condition of Service of the fund.

He said the panel observed that between 2013 and 2017, the internal Audit Department of the NSITF did not audit the cashbooks of the various bank accounts at the headquarters.

The chairman also explained that the lack of effective auditing of the Fund’s accounts and records violates section 1701 of the Financial Regulations.

“There were several transfers of funds in bank accounts without authorisation and approvals.

“The sum of N15, 737,757,697.91.  was transferred from one account to another.

“Evidences to show the approvals and payment vouchers authorising the transfers were not presented to the panel.

“The panel observed that N2.9 billion was expended on computerisation and other related lCT equipment.

“Despite this expenditure, not much was achieved on computerisation of the Fund, defeating the purpose of the expenditure,” he said.

He, however, added that the sum of N2, 650,731,225. 93 was deducted from various payments.

He noted that this was in respect of Withholding Tax, Pay-As-You-Earn (PAVE), Value Added Tax, Pension and National Housing Fund , which were not remitted to the relevant authorities.

Ngige said another committee would be set up to implement the report of the committee.

According to him, anyone indicted will be prosecuted.

“This is not my report, but a report of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Those findings, especially about overseas trips which were unauthorised will be dealt with.

“Because they are actions that breached public service rules. It is not true that parastatals are exempted from public service rules.

“This report will be fully implemented and areas of lapses corrected. Many government organisations have gone under because of situations like this,” he said.

The Minister had inaugurated the panel on Feb. 15,  to probe  the affairs of NSITF.

Aiteo, Total, other oil firms get Senate approval for N348bn outstanding subsidy claims

Image result for nigerian senateThe Nigerian Senate has approved the payment of =N=348 billion as outstanding subsidy claims to 74 petroleum marketers.

This followed adoption of interim report of its Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) on the Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance to Settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations to Petroleum Marketers.

Out of this amount, 55 oil marketers are to receive =N=275, 750,415,108 while 19 others will get =N=73, 452,639,866. While the committee recommended that the 55 oil marketers be paid 100 percent of their claims, it called for the payment of 65 percent claims to other marketers due to contentions in their figures.

Senate also mandated the committee to continue its engagement with the Ministry of Finance, oil marketing companies, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and other stakeholders in order to update all the outstanding liabilities and clear all outstanding debts, interest accrued and forex differential once and for all.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Kabir Marafa who presented the report during Wednesday’s plenary, noted that although marketers made claims to the tune of =N=670, 497,543,15billion, as of June 30, 2017, the PPPRA verified and approved the sum of =N=429, 054,203,228billion to the Federal Ministry of Finance.

He explained that while the verified figure was approved by the Federal Executive Council, further verification by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, (PICA) reduced the amount to =N=407, 255,263,288billion.

The panel observed that continuous delay of the approval of the promissory note request will affect the liquidity of the Oil Marketing Companies and undermine their crucial role in the development of the economy.

The committee in the report signed by 17 out of 22 members explained that the determination of the terminal date of the subsidy programme amount paid to the OMCs and the interest accrued from 30th June, 2017 to date will be taken up and resolved in the final report.

Accordingly, the report indicated that “a submission that would be able to reconcile and bring to the conclusion all issues in respect of petroleum subsidy programme implementation and payments; 

“Further verification needs to be made to ascertain the discrepancies between the OMCs and the recommendations for payment made by FMoF (PICA). In this respect, the Committee is of the opinion that interim payments should be effected to the OMCs pending full verification of PICA recommendaTions and updating on the full implication of interest accruals from 30th June 2017 to date. 

“The Government’s inability to pay the OMCs as at 30th June, 2017 has further increased its liability since the interest continued running till date, hence, the need for further work by the Committee to compile and update the level of indebtedness and its interest accruals; 

“However, in view of the fact that the service of the OMCs is very important to the economic development of the country and closely tied to National security, paying the marketers would stem the threat of fuel scarcity, increase economic activities and promote a more harmonious working relationship between the Government and OMCs”.

Notable among the oil marketers and the amount approved for them are: Aiteo =N=4,988,199,360; Conoil =N=5,588,285,132; Forte Oil =N=15,480,445,907; Bovas =N=5,953,684,258; Capital Oil =N=8,339,052,402; Mobil =N=8,282,363,478; MRS Oil and Gas =N=20,948,270,002; Oando =N=14,972,585,600; Total =N=21,569,996,843 among others.

 

NSE lifts Eterna to medium-price stock

Related imageAuthorities at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) have reclassified Eterna Plc from low-priced stock to a medium-price, providing additional liquidity that will enhance price discovery for the downstream oil and gas company.

As a medium-priced stock, stockbrokers could move the share price of Eterna with a minimum volume of 50,000 shares as against 100,000 minimum shares required for low-priced stocks.

The NSE had recently classified quoted companies into three categories-high-priced, medium-priced and low-priced stocks, based on their market price.

The high-priced stocks consist of large-cap equities that are priced at N100 per share or above for at least four of the last six trading months, or new security listings that are priced at N100 or above at the time of listing on the Exchange.

The medium-priced stocks  consist of medium-priced equities that are priced at N5 per share or above but less than N100 per share for at least four of the last six months, or new security listings that are priced at N5 per share or above but less than N100 per share at the time of listing on the Exchange.

The low-priced stocks, where majority of listed companies fall, consist of equities that are priced at one kobo per share or above, but below N5 per share for at least four of the last six months, or new security listings that are priced at one kobo per share or above but below N5 per share at the time of listing on the Exchange.

Stocks under high-priced group shall have price change with minimum of 10,000 units; stocks under medium-priced group shall have price movement with a minimum of 50,000 units while stocks under low-priced group shall have price change with minimum volume of 100,000 units.

According to the Exchange, Eterna gained above the N5 mark on January 8, 2018 and traded above N5 up till close of business on June 29, 2018, which indicated that Eterna has traded above N5 in at least four out of the last six months and therefore, would be reclassified from low-priced stock to mid-price stock with effect from Monday this week.

Federal Capital Territory proposes over N271bn for 2018 fiscal year

The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has proposed an expenditure framework of N271.532 billion for the 2018 fiscal year before the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

The FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello stated this while presenting the territory’s 2018 appropriation bill to the Senate Committee on FCT in Abuja.

Bello said the figure showed an increase of N49.171 billion on what had been appropriated in 2017 which was at N222.360 billion.

The Minister gave a breakdown of the sectoral allocations which showed priority being given to Capital Expenditure, which got N154.232 billion representing 56.8 percent of the estimate.

Overhead cost came second with N61 billion or 22.5 percent, while Personnel was estimated to cost N56 billion representing 20.68 percent of the total.

He said the increase was based on the expected higher revenue generation by the FCT in view of the take-off of the FCT Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and expected increased funds from the federation account.

Important attention
Bello also said the Administration would pay important attention to the completion of on-going infrastructure projects to make the city more liveable.

“Seventy billion Naira has been earmarked for this purpose.  In the same vein, N4.7 billion will go to on-going critical new infrastructure projects, while N21.1 billion is proposed for ongoing as well as new infrastructure projects in satellite towns,” he said.

The amount of N37.96 billion has been set aside for the Education Sector while the Health Sector received a whopping N22.8 billion.

Water and Agriculture sectors
Other major expenditure areas include Resettlement & Compensation N8.9Billion and Transportation Sector – N20.5Billion.

Out of this amount, the Abuja Light Rail Project would gulp N12.3 billion. Environment, Water and Agriculture sectors together have been allocated approximately N16.3 billion among others.

The Minister who described the Budget as a balanced budget added that it would be funded from the 1 percent of the 52.68 percent Statutory Allocation to the Nigerian government from the Federation Account, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and other sources as contained in the Fiscal Framework of government.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Dino Melaye expressed his delight at the improvement recorded in the Budget performance for the 2017 Fiscal year which showed a 62 percent level of accomplishment.

Senator Melaye also applauded the Administration for the successful commissioning of the Abuja Rail Mass Transit System, while harping on the necessity for honesty, prudence and transparency in the management of government resources.

Port Harcourt Area 1 Generates Over 21b in 6 Months

Comptroller Isiyako Kabiru
Comptroller Isiyako Kabiru

The Port Harcourt 1 Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has defied all odds militating against its effective revenue generation efforts by raking in Twenty One Billion, Seven hundred and Seventy One thousand, Sixty Nine naira and fifty kobo (N21,000,771,069.50) from the months of January to June 2018, in contrast to Seventeen Billion, Seven Hundred and Fifty-seven million, One Hundred and Twelve Thousand, Five Hundred and Thirty Eight naira, Fifty Kobo (N17,757,112,538,.50) recorded in the same period of 2017.

This figure represents an increase of Three Billion, Two Hundred and Forty Three Million, Six Hundred and fifty Eight Thousand, Five Hundred and Thirty One Naira. (N3, 243,658,531).

A statement made available to BusinessUpdate by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ivara Oscar said the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller  Isiyaku Kabiru’s  reaching out and engaging in frequent consultations with relevant stakeholders , organizing capacity building for the officers in the Command, sending delegations to parley with importers and traders in the South-East and South-South States of the country as well as proper assigning of officers with requisite knowledge on revenue generation amongst others as part of the strategies employed in tackling most of the revenue drawbacks of the command.

Speaking further, the Area Controller said that the Command fared well in revenue generation under The Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) with a total value of Two Billion, One Hundred and Seventy Seven Million, Four Hundred and Thirty Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and One Naira, Six Kobo (N2,177,438,901.06) in the period under review as against Eight Hundred and Sixty Six Million, Nine Hundred and Forty Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventy One naira, Thirty Five Kobo (N866,942,871.35) which was generated in the entire 2017 Fiscal year.

The Area Controller who is also a member of the Presidential Technical Committee on the Ease of Doing Business insisted that the compliance rate of the Command to the Policy has being very high noting that his effective Public Relations approach has also contributed to taking the Command from its earlier state of disenchanted business Community, staff low self-esteem, insecurity, economic sabotaging etc to a more vibrant, purpose driven and transformed status. He also described the cordial relationship being enjoyed between the Command and the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN),as ‘running smoothly’ especially in the Arrival and Departure Halls where the Passenger Baggage Entry Machine (PBEM) is being installed to effectively assist officers in revenue generation through Merchandise in Baggage. The Area Controller also used the medium to commend the Comptroller-General of Customs Col. Hammed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.) for the timely introduction of the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System II (NICIS II) and also stressed the need for the officers of the Command who have being trained on the program to be diligent and hardworking in order to ensure that all revenue leakages in the command and in the Service are blocked.