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Industrialists Seek Tax Review on Pharm Products



  • Industrialists Seek Tax Review on Pharm Products

Industrial pharmacists in the country have urged the Federal Government to review the current tax regime on pharmaceutical products. They said that the regime, which they blamed for the high cost of healthcare products, was overdue for a review to ease the suffering of most Nigerian.

Meanwhile, renowned economist, Opeyemi Agbaje, has said Nigeria can attain between two to four per cent of growth in 2017 with the policy documents that has always been the missing link.

The industrial pharmacists, under the aegis of National Association of Industrial Pharmacists (NAIP), at the 2017 Economic Outlook, held in Lagos, appealed for a zero tax regime on pharmaceutical products. They further suggested that imported pharmaceutical products should be categorized into four with different taxation.

Chairman of NAIP, Gbenga Falabi, for instance, said pharma products that entails high technological manufacturing skills, and products on patency should enjoy zero tax, while products local manufacturers can manage to build capacity to produce in few years ahead should have moderate tax of about 20 per cent .

Falabi noted that though the idea of the import adjustment tax is to prevent people from outsourcing their manufacturing materials abroad and rather look inwards, but Nigeria cannot manufacture certain pharmaceutical products in the next 20 to 50 years owing to lack of high technological requirement.

The NAIP chairman said 2016 was a lost year for the industry due to forex issues, “but 2017 we are very hopeful, we would ride the rough waters and am sure our captains are able to deliver us to the shore.”

Falabi regretted that the industry’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been very insignificant at 0.22 per cent, “but we are determined, down the line in the next 15 years , the pharmaceutical sector would be at the forefront to affect government’s policies.”

Though we have eluded the fact we need to unite to come up with a common roadmap to fulfill our mission, Falabi noted, the right direction would be looked at soon.

Chief Executive Officer, RTC Advisory Services, Opeyemi Agbaje, said that Nigeria can attain between two to four per cent of growth in 2017 with compelling policy documents, which he says is the challenge.

Agbaje said if that minimum of two per cent is achieved by the end of 2017, the economy can aspire higher in 2018 to better the indices and recover from recession.

According to him, in spite of the high inflation which stands at 18.6 per cent, there are other positive economic indicators like the rise in oil prices, the growth of reserves and the increase in euro bond to a billion dollars point to the possibility of achieving the two per cent minimum growth by the end of the year.

Agbaje, who was optimistic on the improvement in the nation’s economic growth, noted that all the above indicators especially the rise in euro bond is evidence that the confidence is returning from the international market and more.

The RTC advisory boss, however, remarked that on the other hand, if the indices are not properly managed, the economy could get worse and encounter a meltdown.

He identified the disparity in the dollar exchange rate as the biggest problem with most business in country, “some people are getting it for N305 while for others is above N500. People cannot predict, hence, they cannot plan as well.”

Continuing, he said: “We need to urgently rethink the approach to FX policy management, as it is one of the critical parameters which would measure the policies that would be brought under the economic recovery plan, else dollar could even get high as N600 or more by the end of the year,” he added.

Agbaje advanced that though there is the desire to get out of recession, which he termed a minus, a stronger economic growth with a minimum of four per cent and even up to 10 per cent should be the target, so it can balance up population increase too. Agbaje further called for a change of the business models in the manufacturing sector with emphasis on the pharmaceutical industry.

He said the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector like most manufacturing industries has become unsustainable owing to the failure of the dominant business model practiced by most.

He, therefore, urged them to begin to look inward to source inputs despite the challenges, “businesses would become more sustainable if 60 to 70 per cent of inputs are sources locally,” he added.

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


Eat’N’Go Expands To East Africa, Projects 180 Stores By Year End



In a bid to further extend its tentacles beyond the West African market, Eat’N’Go limited, one of the leading Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) operators in Nigeria and master franchisee for world-class food brands – Domino’s Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery, and Pinkberry Gourmet Frozen Yoghurt, announced its expansion into the East African market.

This development comes after the successful acquisition of the franchisee which operated Cold Stone Creamery and Domino’s Pizza in Kenya. This acquisition will see Eat’N’Go limited become the largest Domino’s pizza and Cold Stone Creamery Master Franchisee in Africa with operations in Nigeria and Kenya.

Since its entrance to Nigeria in 2012, the QSR company has grown exponentially and has continuously nurtured the drive to extend its footprint across the African market. This acquisition provides them their first foreign market expansion, making them a Pan African company with a total number of 147 outlets across Africa and a projection to reach 180 stores by end of 2021.

Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Eat’N’Go Limited, Patrick McMichael said that expanding into East Africa represents a very exciting time in the growth of the organization and also a strategic investment for the firm and its stakeholders. “Over the years, we have fostered the mission to not just bring the best QSR brands to Africa, but to directly impact on Africa’s economy and we are glad we are finally on the way to making this happen. Studying the growth of the Kenyan market in the last couple of years, we are convinced that now is the time to extend our footprint into the country.”

“We are very thrilled about this expansion as this move avails us more opportunity to provide Jobs to more Africans, especially in times like this. We remain thankful to all our customers, partners, and stakeholders who have supported us this far and we are more than ready to strengthen our dedication in satisfying the needs of our customers” Patrick added.

Eat’N’Go has over the years maintained its position as the leading food franchisee in Nigeria. As it expands its presence to other parts of Africa, the organization also places a strong focus on the quality of its products and services of all its three brands. The expansion to this new region is in line with the company’s plan to reach 180 stores across Africa by the end of 2021.

The milestone achievement and development will better position the company in its contribution to Nigeria and Africa’s economy. Currently home to over 3000 staff members across Africa, the company is committed to continuously provide job and business opportunities across the continent.

Eat’N’Go launched in 2012 in Nigeria with the vision to become the premier food operator in Africa. Today, the company has over 147 stores in Nigeria and Kenya and it continues to deliver on this promise by successfully rolling out the globally recognised brands Cold Stone Creamery and Domino’s Pizza across Africa. The company continues to expand its presence in key markets by fusing company goals with new strategic development goals and is projected to reach 180 stores across Africa by end of 2021.

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Shoprite Exit: LCCI Explains Challenges Hurting Business Operations in Nigeria




Following the recent announcement of Shoprite, a leading South Africa retail giant, that it is leaving the Nigerian market due to harsh business environment and tough business policies, Dr Muda Yusuf, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has explained some of the challenges responsible for such decision despite Nigeria’s huge population size.

Yusuf said while such decision is negative for the Nigerian economy, several factors like harsh business environment could have forced the company to make such decision. He said it also could be due to intense competitive pressure.

He said, “Shoprite is an international brand with presence in 14 African countries and about 3,000 stores. The comparative analysis of returns on investment in these countries may have informed the decision to exit the Nigeria market.

“The opportunities for retail business in Nigeria is immense. But the competition in the sector is also very intense.

“There are departmental stores in practically every neighbourhood in our urban centres around the country. There is also a strong informal sector presence in the retail sector. It is a very competitive space.”

According to the Director-General, there are also important investment climate issues that constitute downside risks to big stores like Shoprite.

He said, “These include the trade policy environment, which imposes strict restrictions on imports; the regulatory environment, which is characterised by a multitude of regulators making endless demands.

“There is also the foreign exchange policy, which has made imports and remittances difficult for foreign investors. There are challenges of infrastructure which put pressures on costs and erodes profit margins.”

The LCCI boss added, “But we need to stress that Shoprite is only divesting and selling its shares; Shoprite as a brand will remain. I am sure there are many investors who will be quite delighted to take over the shares.

“It should be noted that there are other South African firms in Nigeria doing good business. We have MTN, Multichoice, Stanbic IBTC, and Standard Chartered Bank, among others. Some of them are making more money in Nigeria than in South Africa.”

He added that some sectors are more vulnerable to the challenges of the business environment than others.

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Afrinvest Appoints Mrs. Onaghinon As COO



Afrinvest West Africa Limited, has appointed the former head of public private partnership agency of the Edo State, Mrs Onoise Onaghinon as its chief operating officer.

Onaghinon joined Afrinvest in 2003 as an analyst in the firm’s investment banking division, rising through the ranks to become an associate, then vice president and eventually executive director & head of investment banking.

She is a seasoned veteran in the Nigerian capital markets and investment landscape with over 18 years of experience in capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, and restructurings across many industries.

In 2017, Onaghinon took a sabbatical from the Firm to head the Public Private Partnership Agency of the Edo State Government. Having acquitted herself creditably in the public sector, she has rejoined the Firm to resume as the new COO.

Speaking on the appointment, group managing director of Afrinvest, Ike Chioke, said: “over the years, Onaghinon has demonstrated great leadership, professional excellence and outstanding client commitment in driving the firm’s business units, particularly our investment banking division. We are delighted to have her back and we look forward to leveraging her cross-disciplinary experience across the Afrinvest group”.

In her new role, Onaghinon will oversee human resources, legal & compliance, internal control and general services while leading the firm’s initiatives to improve efficiency across its subsidiaries.

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