- FG Plans Special Tax for SMEs
The Federal Government is in the process of designing a special tax for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in the country as a way of ameliorating the challenges of multiple taxation being faced by operators in the sector.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, who disclosed this in Lagos on Sunday during the maiden edition of the Simply Nigerian Fair, said the government intended to leverage on technology to put in place a system of taxation that would target the SME sector.
“The best solution to the taxation challenges of SMEs would be to leverage on technology. Once you are able to use technology and SME-based tax, it will be shared appropriately and will reduce the hassles of multiple taxation where different people come to require taxes of them. We are working on it but we do not expect it to take effect before mid-2017, because we have to invest in the technology,” she said.
The minister, who expressed satisfaction with the creativity of the exhibitors, noted that most of the products on display were exportable.
Abubakar said, “I am impressed by the creativity displayed by these young entrepreneurs. Most of their products can be exported. I have encouraged them to work closely with the government. I have also introduced them to the She Trade, which is under the International Trade Centre for women-owned indigenous businesses.
“We also have the Nigerian Export Promotion Council’s training programme for exporters as well as the African Growth Opportunities Act, which ends in 2025. These are all opportunities opened for our young entrepreneurs to export these fantastic products to the outside world.”
One of the organisers of the fair, Mrs. Temi Shenjobi, said the aim was to bring operators in the SME sector together for the purpose of networking and getting them to patronise one another.
“It is also to expose them to the market since as small business operators, they may not have the resources to showcase their products to the larger public.”
Ecobank Group Appoints Jubril Mobolaji Lawal as Regional Executive and Managing Director Designate for Ecobank Nigeria
Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African banking group, announces that Jubril Mobolaji Lawal has been appointed as Regional Executive and Managing Director designate of Ecobank Nigeria, subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The appointment is made ahead of Patrick Akinwuntan’s upcoming retirement, due to him reaching retirement age in January 2022.
Mobolaji Lawal joins Ecobank having been a versatile senior banking executive and digital transformation specialist for over 28 years with Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. He has deep involvement and experience in digital and retail banking, corporate and commercial banking, credit risk management and corporate finance. His previous experience includes being Executive Director at GTBank Plc Nigeria, and Non-Executive Director roles at both GTBank Ghana Limited and Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems Plc. Mobolaji led the team that envisioned and implemented GTBank Plc’s retail and digital banking strategy to achieve industry-wide leadership over a ten-year period and he introduced new products and solutions that have helped to deepen payments and access to digital financial services in Nigeria.
Mobolaji was selected and appointed as Managing Director designate following a keenly contested selection process, which included both internal and external candidates.
Mobolaji Lawal holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria; B.L. from the Nigerian Law School and a Master of Business Administration from Oxford University, United Kingdom. He has also attended several executive management and banking specific developmental programmes at leading educational institutions including Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD).
Commenting on the appointment, Ade Ayeyemi, CEO, Ecobank Group said: “We welcome Mobolaji Lawal to the Ecobank Group and we stand to benefit from the extensive experience that he has acquired in various fields across banking, which will play a major role in continuing to rebuild our franchise in Nigeria. Nigeria is a key market for us, in which we have seen significant improvement over the past three years as we reposition and leverage upon our pan-African strengths in digital products and services, payments and as the go-to-bank for businesses seeking to grasp the growth opportunities being created by the AfCFTA, across all our markets on the continent. I wish Mobolaji the best and assure him of both my support and that of the entire Ecobank Group.”
Mrs. Bola Adesola, the Chairman of the Board of Ecobank Nigeria said: “We look forward to working with Mobolaji and assure him of the full support of the Board, Management and all the staff of Ecobank Nigeria. The business in Nigeria is on the path of transformation and we are confident that Mobolaji will have significant impact in advancing our positive trajectory.”
Mobolaji Lawal will assume the position of Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, upon receiving the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria and after Patrick Akinwuntan retires.
South Africa Encourages Nigerian Businesses to Expand to the Country
In an effort to improve trade relations between Nigeria and South Africa, the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria Thamsanqa Dennis Mseleku has implored more Nigerian businesses (especially financial institutions) to expand their businesses to South Africa.
The South African representative revealed that the South African consulate was currently working on issuing Nigerian business owners (or operators) visas valid for ten years, in order to further bolster business relationship between both countries.
This was mentioned by Mseleku yesterday on ‘The Morning Show’, a programme which is monitored closely by Arise news, on which he also noted that the bilateral agreements being signed by both countries would be fully executed in the coming years.
According to Mseleku, Nigerian businesses are operating in South Africa, with the issue being raised back in 2019 when President Buhari was present in South Africa specifically talking about Access Bank and Air Peace. Mseleku stated that Access Bank has since opened up a branch in South Africa, and Air Peace is now making flights to and from South Africa.
Mseleku then said,”So, the issue is that we must encourage more businesses that want to go to South Africa from Nigeria to do so particularly in the financial sector.”
This prospective deal between both countries is promising, because the encouragement of Nigerian businesses to come into South Africa may eventually lead to more South African businesses coming into Nigeria to operate. The moves will undoubtedly boost the economies of both countries.
It may also encourage other African countries to engage in trades and have bilateral or multilateral agreements with other African countries, boosting economies across the entire continent.
Mseleku also noted that some South African countries were pulling out of Nigeria, which he cited as one of the reasons for the visit of the South African President.
He also addressed the inaccessibility of visa to business personnel, saying that the country is agreeing and would go on implementing longer term visas for them. He then mentioned the 10 years visa which the country is considering.
All Business Stakeholders Will Benefit from Stronger ESG Policies, Says GlobalData
The age-old view that addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will make a dent in profits is a myth, says GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that businesses that embrace all three elements of ESG will actually outperform their peers.
Cyrus Mewawalla, Head of Thematic Research at GlobalData, comments: “The reluctance of many CEOs to fully engage with sustainability can be attributed to the age-old view that it will hurt profits. However, GlobalData’s research suggests the opposite: CEOs that are too slow to improve their company’s approach to ESG will see an exodus of customers and a drop in profits far sooner than they ever imagined.”
GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘Thematic Research: ESG – Top Trends by Sector‘, notes that, while saving the planet used to just equate to implementing sustainable practices such as ‘limiting the use of plastics’ and ‘reducing carbon footprint’, ‘sustainability’ has morphed into an umbrella term that includes all aspects of ESG issues. The company proposes an ESG framework that identifies key areas in which companies should invest. One of these is climate change.
Luke Gowland, Analyst in the Thematic team at GlobalData, comments: “With COP26 setting the agenda on climate change, companies are focusing their efforts on tackling carbon emissions by switching to renewable energy and undertaking energy efficiency projets. However, companies must excel across all three aspects of ESG, and not overlook the importance of strong social performance and having the correct governance structures in place to achieve ESG goals.”
Citizens, governments, regulators, and the media are turning the spotlight on corporations and demanding action. Social inequality, corruption, tax avoidance, and a lack of action on climate change are all issues that companies must now address head-on, in full public view.
Since Q1 2021,GlobalData has been asking respondents to detail their company’s approach to ESG goals In Thematic Sentiment Analysis, Q3 2021, conducted in Q3 2021, nearly a quarter of respondents thought that, for most companies, ESG was just a marketing exercise.
Gowland continues: “Our latest sentiment analysis report shows that more companies have changed their behavior to meet ESG goals (33%) than not (22%). While the attitudes towards ESG are improving, there is a long way to go.”
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