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External Reserves Shed 2.1% in One Month

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The nation’s external reserves fell to $25.78bn as of August 16, down by 2.11 per cent from its level a month ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria data showed on Thursday.

This came just as the CBN stepped up dollar sales to boost interbank liquidity and support the local currency.

The central bank has been selling dollars almost daily on the interbank market to prop up the currency. The naira touched an all-time low of 365.25 per dollar on Thursday.

The foreign exchange reserves had fallen marginally to $26.20bn on July 28, down from $26.32 on July 22.

On May 28, the foreign exchange reserves stood at $26.42bn; it was down by 9.2 per cent year-on-year.

During the month of July, the reserves hovered between $26.3 and $26.4bn.

Similarly, the foreign exchange reserves oscillated between $26.3 and $26.4bn in June.

The reserves had stood at the $26.4bn between May 24 and 27, after dropping to $26.5bn from $26.6bn the same month.

Between May 31 and June 7, the external reserves stood at $26.3bn, before rising back to the $26.4bn mark on June 8, a level it maintained up until June 24. On June 27, it fell back to $26.36bn.

The CBN had last month lifted its 16-month-old currency controls and auctioned about $4bn on the spot and futures market to clear a backlog of dollar demand, to help boost interbank market trading.

The reserves had dropped by over 10 per cent from last year when they were at $29.7bn.

The global plunge in oil prices has caused the reserves to be depleting very fast. The development has forced the CBN to introduce foreign exchange controls, which were abandoned last month.

The external reserves have lost over $2bn this year.

The nation recorded a balance of payments deficit of 1.4 per cent in its Gross Domestic Product at the end of 2015, owing largely to its first current account deficit (three per cent of the GDP) in over a decade.

The nation’s external reserves had reduced by $6.7bn within a period of 21 months, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma, said on March 23.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Netflix Increases US, Canada Subscription Fees…Nigerian Subscribers To Suffer Same Fate

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With the increase in inflation rates and the unstable foreign exchange, Netflix is likely to hike its subscription fee in Nigeria.

This is following the latest increase in its subscription fee in the United States and Canada, effective immediately for new subscribers.

Usually, when the inflation rate rises, prices of goods and services also increases, and consequently, banks raise their interest rates as well to cope and maintain their profit margin.

In the U.S., subscribers to Netflix’s basic plan, which allows for one stream on one screen at a time and does not have HD streaming, will now be charged $9.99 a month, up from $8.99.

The standard plans, which allow for users to stream on two screens at the same time now costs $15.49 per month, an increase from $13.99, while premium plans have also increased to $19.99 a month.

Investors King gathered that this is the third time Netflix will raise its prices in three years and the first since October 2020 for streamers residing in the U.S. and Canada.

Presently in Nigeria, Netflix’s subscription rate ranges from about  3,300 to about 5,800 per month.

Investors King recalls that Netflix, in 2020, officially launched its presence in Nigeria and since its launch, the streaming company has dominated Nigeria’s relatively new video-on-demand market with some hit movies and web series like King of Boys, Òlòtūré, Citation, Lionheart, Namaste Wahala, among others.

Today, Netflix has over 151 million paying subscribers in more than 190 countries.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government of Nigeria is making plans to force international social network services and digital platforms to register and open offices in Nigeria.

This means that media services, social media platforms and digital streaming platforms like Netflix and the others must register and pay tax in Nigeria and register with the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

This move, according to the government, is to ensure that all these platforms register with the NBC, apply for a broadcasting license and pay tax.

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NLNG Halts Cooking Gas Export, Directs All Sales to Local Market

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The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited has suspended cooking gas export to prioritise the local market by supplying 100 percent of its propane and butane (cooking gas) products to Nigerians.

Before now, “Nigeria LNG Limited supplied LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) both to the Nigerian and international markets. With the decision of the Board of Directors, all of the company’s LPG production will be delivered to the domestic market.”

In its statement, the NLNG said it had designed a scheme to sustainably supply LPG (butane and propane) for usage in cooking gas blending as well as in agro-allied, autogas, power and petrochemical sectors of the Nigerian economy to improve gas utilisation in Nigeria.

The initiatives were designed to increase LPG availability in Nigeria, diversify its uses and support the Federal Government’s Decade of Gas initiative, NLNG Managing Director and CEO, Dr Philip Mshelbila said.

Committing 100 per cent of Nigeria’s LPG supply is a major milestone in NLNG’s journey of domestic gas supply, he said, adding “We supplied our first butane cargo into the domestic market in 2007, which helped to develop over the years the LPG industry in Nigeria from less than 50,000 tonnes to over 1 million tonnes market size annually by the end of 2020.

“In 2021, we increased our LPG supply commitment from 350,000 metric tonnes (or 28 million 12.5kg cylinders) to actual delivery of 400,000 metric tonnes (or 32 million 12.5kg cylinders) thereby directing most of our production into the domestic market.

“But this was not enough for NLNG, hence this commitment to do all that we possibly can and supply 100 percent of our LPG production to the domestic market.”

With recent talks of going green, by reducing harmful emissions which cause global warming, Mshelbila noted that gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels, and an essential energy source the Nigerian market needs to be reckoned with during this energy transition period.

“Other countries are revolutionising their energy industry to cut down on carbon emissions drastically. Nigeria should not be left out in this drive, considering its abundant gas resources.

“Gas is essential for life and living at the moment, because it can support everything we will need to develop our economy and create better living standards for Nigerians. We need to change the narrative, and NLNG is being pragmatic about it,” he said.

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FCT-IRS Encourages Taxpayers, Businesses to File 2021 Tax Returns Before Jan 31, 2022

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Company Income Tax (CIT) - Investors King

The Federal Capital Territory Internal Revenue Service (FCT-IRS) has said all employers should file their tax returns for the previous year and submit them before January 31, 2022.

It called on taxable persons working under the Ministry Department and Agency of the government, private firms and self-employed persons resident in Abuja, to fill and sign form A which is the income declaration form.

According to a statement issued by the Service Corporate Head of Communications, Mustapha Sumaila, all tax returns should be submitted through any of the service’s tax offices across the territory.

Employers were asked to also file Employer’s Annual Declaration and Certificate– form H1 and form G, disclosing all emoluments paid to its employees resident in Abuja for 2022.

These documents as required by the law must be submitted before January 31, 2022, the stipulated deadline.

The tax agency, however, stated that the deadline for individual taxpayers is March 31, 2022.

“In compliance with section 41 of the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) 2011 (as amended), all taxable persons, resident in the FCT are required to file annual returns of all incomes from all sources for the year ended December 31, 2021 and within 90 days from the commencement of the year (i.e between 1st January 2022 and 31st of March 2022, using the prescribed form A,” the statement read.

FCT-IRS noted that all defaulters will be penalized as it frowned at the refusal to prepare the tax returns files or late submission, adding that the agency would apply the laws where necessary.

It, therefore, called on agents–employers and individual taxpayers to do the needful and submit their returns promptly.

Appealing to Abuja residents to ensure compliance, it reminded them that payment of tax is their civic responsibility and no taxable person should be left out.

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