- 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.
Uber to Halt Services in Parts of Belgium
Uber will stop its ride-hailing service in most parts of Belgium tomorrow after a court ruling on Wednesday which extends an order given in 2015, banning its p2p (Peer to Peer) UberPop service to also cover professional drivers who provide its ride-hailing service.
Uber told TechCrunch that it is currently closely examining the details of the ruling, in order to arrive at a decision on whether or not to appeal the decision with the country’s Supreme Court.
This also follows a temporary decision to discontinue Uber’s service in Brussels, a decision which was referred to as “exceptional and unprecedented” by the tech giant. The company said that it was merely taking a step to complain about the lack of reform rules which forbid drivers from using smartphones.
After the ruling by the Brussels appeal court, private hire vehicle drivers have been obstructing a major tunnel in the capital of Belgium.
In a statement made concerning Friday’s impending shutdown, the chief of Uber in the country, Laurent Slitsagain criticized the government for not providing a reform which it has been soliciting for, stating that the decision was made depending on regulations which are now outdated as they were written before smartphones.
The company stated that the government has promised a reform but has failed to deliver said reforms for the last seven years.
According to Bloomberg, the shutdown will not be applicable to a small number of drivers who are licensed in the Flemish region of Belgium, and are therefore still permitted to use the application. Uber confirmed that the Appeal Court ruling only applies to drivers with Brussels licenses.
In another statement, Slits stated that the tech giant is hugely concerned about the 2,000 possessors of LVC licenses (rental car with driver licenses) who according to the country chief will lose their ability to generate earnings.
Honeywell Flour Mills Refutes Ecobank Winding Up Proceeding Claims, Assures Investors of Total Transparency
Following media reports that Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) is a subject of an ongoing winding up proceedings instituted by Ecobank Nigeria Limited in a suit no: FHC/L/CP/1571/2015, Honeywell Flour Mill Plc has now refuted the publication, insisting there is no winding-up petition against the embattled company.
The company disclosed in a statement signed by Yewande Giwa, Company Secretary and obtained by Investors King.
It said “It is pertinent to set the record straight that there is no Winding-up Petition currently pending or live against HFMP in any Court in Nigeria. There is also no pending Court Order restraining trading in the shares of HFMP or inhibiting HFMP or its owners from dealing in its assets. HFMP assures its investors, regulators and stakeholders that in all of its engagements with FMN, it received independent legal advice and asserts that the transaction is not in breach of any subsisting Order of Court. The issue as to whether HFMP is indebted to Ecobank is still before the Courts and the final decision remains the exclusive preserve of the Courts. It is also important to state that the Court of Appeal judgement being referred to in the reports did not declare HFMP to be indebted to Ecobank.”
This was in response to a publication titled “Ecobank Warns against Acquisition of Honeywell Flour Mills, Alleges Company Facing Winding Up Proceedings” that claimed Ecobank Nigeria Limited had issued a 7-day ultimatum to Flour Mills to desist from completing the acquisition of 71.69 percent stake in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc on the ground that the company was hugely indebted to Ecobank.
However, Honeywell claimed “The assertions lack merit, were written in bad faith and are a deliberate attempt to undermine a transaction that will result in substantial benefit to the Nigerian economy and entrench the collaboration of two publicly quoted companies. As a responsible corporate citizen, we have entered the transaction with FMN having taken all legal issues into consideration.
“All stakeholders are hereby assured that management of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc will continue to act in the best interests of all concerned and work diligently to preserve value for all its shareholders.
“We expect that from the proposed combination, stakeholders will benefit from the more than 85-year combined track record of FMN and HFMP and their shared goal of making affordable and nutritious food available to Nigeria’s population. The country and its food security agenda will benefit from both companies’ focus on developing Nigeria’s industrial capability, its agricultural value chain and specifically backward integration of the food industry.”
This whole drama started immediately Honeywell Flour Mills and Flour Mills of Nigeria, in a joint statement, announced FMN has agreed to acquire a 71.69 percent stake valued at N80 billion in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc. A deal that will automatically make Honeywell Flour Mills Plc Flour Mills of Nigeria’s asset.
Flour Mills of Nigeria Acquires First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s 5.06 Percent Stake in Honeywell Flour Mills
Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Nigeria’s leading flour mill company, has acquired First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s 5.06 percent stake in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.
The company disclosed in a statement signed by Umolu, Joseph A.O., Company Secretary/Director, Legal Services.
The acquisition was in addition to the 71.6 percent stake of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) FMN acquired on the same day. Therefore, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc will now hold 76.75 percent equity interest in HFMP.
According to the company, the move will help build a resilient flour mills company that will ensure job continuity, deepen productivity and support national growth.
Commenting on the transaction, Omoboyede Olusanya, Group Managing Director of FMN, said “The proposed transaction is part of our global growth strategy, which is aligned with our vision to not only be an industry leader, but also a national champion for Nigeria in the Food and Agro-allied industries.”
“Given FMN’s parallel negotiations for both stakes culminating in the agreements being signed on the same date, the basis for arriving at key commercial terms including final equity price per share, will be the same. The price payable to FirstBank will be the same with Honeywell Group Limited.”F
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