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FG committed to boost capital market Competitiveness — Adebayo

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The Federal Government on Thursday expressed readiness to provide an enabling environment that would stimulate and boost competitiveness in the Nigerian capital market.

Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, stated this in a keynote speech at the 23rd Annual Conference of the Chaterred Institute of Stockbrokers  (CIS) in Lagos.

Adebayo, represented by Dr Francis Alaneme, Director, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, said that government was willing to partner CIS in ensuring the necessary enabling environment.

He also said that government would ensure a coordinated and integrated approach to Nigeria’s financial sector was attainable.

Adebayo said that stockbrokers’ common agenda was to ensure the development of a strong and robust economy, especially from the perspective of the financial services sector.

“The best way to improve competitiveness is through a mixture of policies designed to help, improve capital market competitiveness and long-term investment,” he stated.

Adebayo explained that all these measures would improve both price and non-price competitiveness.

He urged CIS to come up with policy proposal to support and address Nigeria’s infrastructure challenges such as roads, railways and housing.

He noted that government would incentivise and provide the enabling environment to support this objective to boost the competitiveness of the capital market.

“The institute should look into ways the rural community can benefit from financial inclusion and economic growth.

“Evidences suggest that well developed financial system have strong positive impact on economic growth over a long period,” Adebayo said.

According to him, at the moment, access of the populace to financial services can tackle poverty, improve welfare and general standard of living which consequently promote economic growth.

He added that the micro-environment needed to be stabilised to create the right environment for investment, noting that the ministry would give adequate support.

Adebayo called for an inclusive engagement with the investing public as well as Nigerians that were far away from the capital market to bring them on board.

He added that the National Savings Committee set up by the President was to boost capital market competitiveness in a micro environment.

He assured that the committee would make recommendations to the government on the best ways to mobilise savings that would lead to economic growth.

“The government recognises that foreign investors come in and when anything happens, they quickly take their money and go away but our domestic investors will always be here for us,” Adebayo said.

He stated that government would provide an enabling environment for competitiveness among domestic investors to grow and remain in the market.

Mr Ibrahim Babangida, Chairman, Capital Market and Institution Committee, House of Representatives, said that the committee was ready to work with the CIS.

Babangida said that already the National Assembly and House of Representatives in particular were aware of the major challenges facing the capital market in recent times.

“As a result of that, we have already started engaging with some of the key stakeholders including the institute on the best way forward.

“We are already planning that possibly in the first or second quarter of next year to convene a National Investors Conference where all the key players will come together to identify the problems facing the market and whether the solutions can be operational and legislative.

“If it requires policy, then we will find a way of drawing the government’s attention to it.

” I would like to appeal to the institute to be unofficial advisers to the government and to continue to monitor the activities of the government as regards policies affecting the market so as to ensure we move the capital market forward,” he said.

Also speaking, Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, former Director-General, Nigerian Stock Exchange, urged government to work with stockbrokers in attracting investments into the country.

“To attract investments, the government needs to work with stockbrokers so as to enhance the development of the market as well as the economy.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria  is not in charge of investments, they are not wealth creators but they make policies only when there is money to spend.

“It is the stock market that create wealth in any economy,” she said.

Onyiuke stressed that government must work with market stakeholders so as to grow the economy faster through regular interaction with stockbrokers.

The Nigeria News Agency ( NAN) reports that the conference was themed :”Boosting capital market competiveness in a challenging macro-environment.”

Edited by Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

Economy

Financial experts laud NASS on 2020 budget passage, express concern on oil benchmark

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Financial experts on Friday commended the National Assembly for ensuring early passage of the 2020 budget, just as they expressed concern on the oil production benchmark.

The expert spoke with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos, while reacting to 2020 budget which was passed by NASS members on Dec. 5.

NAN reports that Nigerian Senate passed a record N10.59 trillion for the 2020 budget.

The 2020 budget had a deficit of N2.28trillion to be financed through foreign and domestic borrowing.

The benchmark price for crude oil was increased from $55 to $57.

The appropriation bill had also been passed at the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, Professor of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, lauded the federal lawmakers for ensuring the 2020 budget was passed in December.

“I can’t remember when that happened last. It means the members are truly honourable. Hopefully, the President will assent to it without delay.

“The delay that will come with implementation will be minimal, or else all these efforts will come to nothing,” Tella said.

He, however, expressed reservations on the huge allocations to debt servicing and recurrent expenditure.

Tella said that the oil benchmark of 57 dollars per barrel was reasonable, noting that estimated 2.1 million barrel per day was ambitious, given OPEC present stance.

“The oil price of $57 per barrel is quite reasonable but the estimated 2.1 barrel per day may be quite ambitious given OPEC present stance, unless we have made up our mind not to obey the body.

“More importantly, however, is the huge allocations for debt servicing and recurrent expenditure, while capital expenditure is just about half the recurrent.

“The budget is not growth enhancing. The allocations to education and health are, as usual, very low.

“This is probably because debt servicing has taken large proportion of what should go to these sectors,” Tella said.

He advised that the Federal Government must put a lid on debt accumulation and seek other ways of financing infrastructure.

“We have to put a lid on the debt accumulation. We must seek other ways of financing infrastructure such as concessioning and public-private partnerships.

“The country has to free money from some sectors and debt servicing to finance education and health and start preparing our youths for the future that is almost here.

“The states must reassess themselves in relation to their level of financing and try to run balanced budget, stop paying frivolous monies to past officials or godfathers and commit more funds to the same education and health,” Tella said.

Malam Garba Kurfi,the Managing Director, APT Securities and Funds Ltd., lauded the passage of the budget by the lawmakers in December for the year 2020.

Kurfi called on the National Assembly to maintain the trend in the subsequent years to come.

He said that government should ensure at least 80 per cent budget implementation once assented by the Presidency.

“We expect that most of the capital expenditure will be fully implemented in order to stimulate growth of the economy,” Kurfi said.

He said that crude oil benchmark of $57 was not realistic due to fluctuation in oil prices at the international market.

Kurfi explained that drop in oil price below the benchmark target would adversely affect budget implementation.

“Similarly, the deficit of two trillion naira is about 20 per cent of the budget which is an issue of concern because it can lead to failure in capital projects which mostly rely on borrowing,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Ambrose Omordion, Chief Operating Officer InvestData Ltd., said that increase in the budget to N10.56 trillion against initial estimate of N10.32 trillion was good for the economy.

Omordion said that the country needed an expansionary budget to activate economic activities.

He raised some concerns on tax increment in an economy that was still recovering sluggishly, and oil benchmark pegged at $57.

Omordion said that the amount allocated for debt servicing was higher than budgeted amount for capital expenditure, which was not good for economic growth and development.

He said that government should reduce borrowing, noting that the recent downgrading of Nigeria to negative from stable rating by Moody needed a call to action.

Omordion said that monetary and fiscal policies must complement each other to drive economic growth.

Edited & Vetted By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Oluwole Sogunle
(NAN)

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Economy

LIRS shuts 9 coys over N21.59m tax evasion

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The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) in its enforcement activities, has shut nine companies and hospitality firms over alleged failure to remit N21.59 million consumption taxes to the state government.

The Director, Legal Services of the LIRS, Mr Seyi Alade, made this known while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency during a state-wide tax law enforcement exercise by the Service in Lagos on Thursday.

Alade said that the tax liabilities of the companies were between 2013 to 2019, saying the firms were audited for the periods but had not made the payment.

He explained that the tax liability of three of the firms were for the period between 2013 to 2014, while four firms were between April to July 2019 and the other two were for the period between May to August 2019.

He also said the affected companies failed to pay the established liabilities despite `the long rope’ the agency gave them to regularise their tax status.

He listed some of the sealed firms to include Krizions Intercontinental Cuisine, Mikacomic Nigeria Ltd., Resolution Finance Ltd., Vlelable Lounge and Oleander Water view Bistrodeva Ltd.

Others were, Printing Connections Ltd., Seven Season Lounge Ltd., VicJames Apartment and Carat 24 Business Hotel & Suites.

Alade said that LIRS sent several notices to the affected companies to remind them of their tax liabilities and the need to make payments before the agency embarked on an enforcement exercise.

He explained that the Demand Notice and the Letter of Intention were sent to the affected companies between Nov. 15, 2018 and Sept. 16, 2019 respectively.

“Before LIRS embarks on Distrain exercise, it must have sent at least two letters of notices to the management of the affected firms reminding them of the tax liabilities.

“The Demand Notice expiration is 30 days while the Letter of Intention expires seven days after issuance.

“So, before now both the Demand Notice letter and the Letter of Intention to distrain have been sent to the management of the firms which they failed to act on,” he said.

Alade, however, said that some of the affected firms had visited the LIRS office to make payments of their liability after the distrain/enforcement exercise and had equally paid an additional N100,000 as the cost of LIRS levy of the distress.

“There are no hiding places for recalcitrant taxpayers because the LIRS’ enforcement engine is now well oiled to continually carry out enforcement activities against recalcitrant companies and individuals,’’ he said.

He advised that Lagosians should partner with the government by carrying out their civic and constitutional responsibilities of filing their tax returns and promptly pay their assessed taxes in order for the good plans of government for the state to materialise.

Alade said that the LIRS had made tax compliance very easy for the taxpayers by the recent launch of the Electronic Tax platform.

He explained that through the platform, taxpayers could file their tax returns from the comfort of their homes and offices and also make relevant tax payments.

Alade urged taxpayers to make use of the platform for their comfort and ease of compliance with their various tax obligations.

He noted that being outside the tax net may prove detrimental to recalcitrant citizens who might not be able to access their bank accounts and other activities without obtaining the Tax Identification Number (TIN).

He, however, implored taxpayers to be mindful of the annual statutory dates of Jan. 31 for Companies and March 31 for individuals to file their tax returns.

Alade warned that the Agency was poised to prosecute anyone that fail to file tax returns within the statutory dates, saying that the offence could also result to custodial sentences upon conviction.

Also speaking, Mrs Kate Clinton, a Managing Partner of Seven Season Lounge Ltd., claimed that the company objected to the tax liability given to it.

According to her, the company is still working toward providing the necessary documents to justify our objection, which we have not been able provide before LIRS came to shut down the company.

Edited & Vetted By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

 

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Economy

Ex-ANAN President lauds NASS for early passage of 2020 Appropriation Bill

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A financial expert, Dr Samuel Nzekwe, has lauded the National Assembly for the timely passage of the 2020 Appropriation Bill.

Nzekwe, also a former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), made the commendation in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Ota, Ogun, on Friday.

NAN reports that the 2020 Appropriation Bill of N10.3 trillion, presented by President Muhammadu Buhari on Oct. 8, was increased to N10.6 trillion by the National Assembly while passing it.

Details of the 2020 Appropriation Bill include: Recurrent Expenditures-N4.84 trillion, Capital Expenditures-N2.46 trillion, and Debt Servicing-N2.72 trillion.

NAN also reports that this is the first time since 1999 that the nation’s annual budget would be passed within 60 days.

Nzekwe said that the early passage of 2020 Appropriation Bill was a welcome development, saying that it would return the nation to January to December circle of annual budget.

“The Federal Government’s effort of bringing the nation’s annual budget to normal cycle of January to December is commendable, if it is effectively implemented,’’ Nzekwe said.

The former ANAN president advised the Federal Government to intensity efforts in ensuring that the January to December cycle was sustained and maintained in order to achieve objectives of the budget.

Nzekwe said the National Assembly should not have increased the benchmark of oil from 55 dollars to 57 dollars because the price was being determined by external forces or international market.

He stressed the need for the Federal Government to redouble efforts in reducing the funds being used to service debts so that more funds could be made available to build capital projects.

“How do we fund the building of critical infrastructure like electricity, road networks and water, if the nation continues to spend over 25 per cent of its annual budgets on debts servicing,’’ he said.

Nzekwe said that this development would make it difficult for manufacturers to compete favourably in term of qualities and prices with goods coming into the country.

The former ANAN president stressed the need to focus on building critical infrastructure by reducing borrowing that were mainly used for recurrent expenditures in order to bring down high rate of debts servicing.

He called on the Federal Government to put in place effective policing of the nation’s borders so that the projection of 10.8 per cent for inflation rate in 2020 budget could be achievable.

Nzekwe noted that the increase in inflation rate, which translated to rising in prices of goods and services, could be traced to the closure of the nation’s borders.

Edited & Vetted By: Cecilia Odey/Olagoke Olatoye
(NAN)

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Economy

NIESV inducts 310, harps on professionalism

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The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) on Thursday inducted 310 new members into the associate cadre of the institution to practice as certified estate surveyors and valuers.

Mr Rowland Abonta, President of NIESV, said at the 2019 induction ceremony in Lagos that the exercise was in compliance with the mandates and Acts of the Institution.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the theme of the programme was: ‘International Best Practices for Professionals’.

Abonta said it was also a mechanism to grow the estate surveying profession in the country.

According to him, the induction signifies commitment on the part of the inductees to become ambassadors of the profession at all times.

He, therefore, urged the inductees to uphold the principles, ethics and integrity of the profession in their service to the society.

Abonta said the inductees should contribute their quota to the move toward ensuring effective management and development of infrastructure and facilities in the country.

The NIESV president said that infrastructure/estate surveying and valuation practice in Nigeria needed to be improved upon.

He assured commitment of the institution to providing the necessary support to ensure smooth operation of the newly inducted members.

“The induction programme provides the opportunity to formally certify estate surveying professionals who have met the requirements to practice as estate surveyors and valuers.

“As a certified estate professional, avail yourself with opportunities of seminars and workshops to constantly be updated with new developments and methodologies in the profession,” he said.

An estate surveyor, Mr Ebubechukwu Etudo, said that estate surveying practitioners should maintain professionalism in the course of discharging their mandates.

Etudo, also the Guest Speaker at the ceremony, said that an estate professional must display punctuality, honesty, humility and commitment when dealing with clients.

According to him, estate surveyors and valuers are bound to render services in accordance with law, regulations and code of conduct of the profession.

“I enjoin you to go out there and up the scale of estate surveying and valuation practice in Nigeria and globally.

“In your interaction with your clients it is advisable that you try as much as possible to keep the relationship official. Most of your clients are not on the same social circuit with you.

“An estate surveyor and valuer should operate his clients account distinct from his partnership account. All rents received on behalf of your client should be promptly remitted to the client account after agreed outgoings have been deducted.

“A professional must ensure that his work is carried out with competence, deligence and speed. Reports must be presented and proof read by a partner of a firm or any senior and competent person so delegated.

“In order to protect oneself from civil liability arising from tort and contract, adequate professional indemnity cover must be taken out and maintained at all times,” Etudo said.

Also speaking, the 6th President of the Institution, Mr Daudu Shote, urged the inductees to establish good collaborative relationship with others, particularly the older ones in the profession.

Shote said that a professional must always accept jobs within the scope of his/her knowledge, saying that the inductees should refer such jobs to those competent to handle them.

Edited & Vetted By: Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)

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Economy

Kaduna Govt. inaugurates local government revenue committees

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The Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDIRS) on Thursday inaugurated Local Government Revenue Committees of the 23 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state.

The Executive Chairman, KDIRS, Dr Zaid Abubakar, said during the inauguration in Kaduna, that the committees were made up of seven members drawn from KDIRS and each of the 23 local government areas.

Abubakar explained that the main responsibility of the committees was to carry out revenue assessment and issue demand notices.

He reminded the committee members of the barn on cash collection and urged them to work with the banks to collect revenues through their mobile agents.

He advised the committees to work with the chairmen and other staffs of the LGAs to ensure smooth revenue collection.

He urged the committee members to put in their best, adding that they would all be assessed based on their performance and anyone that failed to perform creditably, would be shown the way out.

“We will start assessing you after the first three months. Believe me, if any of you is not meeting up to expectation, even if you are my brother, I will show you the way out.

“Please, ensure that all revenue lines in local governments are efficiently collected, including land use charges.

“We have so far collected about 80 per cent of the N41 billion revenue target for 2019. We are doing our best to collect the remaining 20 per cent.

“With you on board, we are sure of meeting the N45 billion target set for 2020,” he said.

On his part, Malam Mohammed Aliyu, Chairman, Soba Local Government, commended the leadership of the revenue agency for reinvigorating the committees to boost revenue collection at local government level.

Aliyu, who is also the Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria, Kaduna State Chapter, assured KDIRS of the council chairmen’s full support to enable the committees carry out their task efficiently.

Edited & Vetted By: Tayo Ikujuni/Tukur Muntari.
(NAN)

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Economy

SMEDAN identifies lack of access to market as major challenge to MSMEs

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The Small and Medium Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has identified lack of access to local, regional and global markets as one of major challenges militating against optimal performance of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.

The Director General, SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Radda, stated this at the match-making session between MSMEs and large enterprises under the MSMEs Market Linkage Initiative held in Kano on Thursday.

Radda, who was represented by Mr Monday Ewans, said that as part of effort to address the challenge in a holistic manner, the agency had developed a programme tagged ‘the MSMEs market linkage initiative’, aimed at facilitating market access for MSMEs by keying them into value chain of large organisations.

“This will bridge the gap and enable local content development and participation in various sectors of the economy.

“The initiative is designed such that by creating market access for active Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises operating in Nigeria, they are able to contribute to economic growth and development, through increased output and income,” he said.

According to him, the initiative would also bridge the gap between large enterprises and MSMEs, while fostering networking and partnership opportunities.

“Participating MSMEs will, therefore, need to compete for patronage from large enterprises through quality products and effective service delivery; thereby increasing efficiency of operations and cost competitiveness,” he said.

Radda said in order to facilitate the seamless implementation, the initiative targeted made-in-Nigeria goods produced by MSMEs by creating strong marketing and off-taker arrangements with large enterprises.

“The event today seeks to present a platform for the profiled MSMEs to have the opportunity to meet with targetted large enterprises for the purpose of creating off-taker arrangements between them,” he said.

The SMEDAN Director General said the agency would continue to support and work with MSMEs so as to achieve the MSMEs sub-sector in the country in the area of promoting job creation, wealth creation, poverty alleviation and sustained contribution to the economic growth and development.

In her remarks, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) Ms Yewande Sadiku, said the collaboration between the two organisations would encourage and promote producers of industrial inputs that could be used as industrial raw materials for large companies.

Sadiku, who was represented by Mr Manzo Ahmad, said the meeting would also create market access for credible MSMEs by keying them into the value chain of large organisations.

NAN reports that the meeting was attended by various stakeholders, including representatives of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) and African Women Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) among others.

Edited & Vetted By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Tukur Muntari.
(NAN)

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