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FIRS to GE: Show Evidence of $2m Tax Remittenace

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  • FIRS to GE: Show Evidence of $2m Tax Remittance

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has demanded evidence that General Electric International Operations Nigeria Ltd remitted the excessive tax it withheld from Arco Group Plc, a Nigerian oil servicing company, for nine years.

It was alleged that GE withheld tax of over $3 million from its payments to Arco for services rendered between 2006 and 2015.

GE deducted 10 per cent as withholding tax for a servicing contract from 2006 to 2015 — as against the five per cent stipulated by Nigerian laws.

Arco had petitioned FIRS seeking explanation over the deductions, and the Executive Chairman, Tunde Fowler, wrote five per cent while the one for rental accommodation was 10 per cent.

Not satisfied with Fowler’s response, GE engaged the services of tax consultants, PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd, who insisted that what Arco offered was “technical services” and the appropriate rate was 10 per cent.

PwC contended that Arco’s services rendered by manpower were technical in nature because of the involvement of “craftsmen” and “technical specialists”.

According to The Cable, in the letter written by PwC’s Director of Tax and Regulatory Services, Chijioke Uwaegbute, the consultants said five per cent was the applicable rate, the revenue service should confirm the treatment of the excessive deductions.

Fowler, in his response dated July 26, 2018, said the FIRS circular in question classified the supply of personnel, personnel protective equipment and uniforms, office equipment and furniture, vehicles and fueling as contained in the contract document could only be charged five per cent withholding tax (WHT).

The deductible rate for site accommodation or rent, he said, was 10 per cent.

Fowler then demanded evidence that GE remitted the WHT deducted from Arco over the nine-year period.

Arco can apply for a refund of the excess deduction, he said, “so long there is evidence of remittance to FIRS account”.

He further said GE must make available to Arco “all outstanding WHT Credit Notes in respect of remittances made in its favour”.

General Electric previously said it would not comment “due to the confidentiality provisions” governing the contract it had with Arco.

The sums in contention are €56,577.61, $2,923,642.36 and N360,482,041.19.

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.

Banking Sector

Sterling Bank Approves Audited Financial Statements for 2020

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Board of Sterling Bank Approves 2020 Audited Financial Statements

The Board of Sterling Bank Plc said it has approved the audited financial statements for the year ended 31, December 2020.

The lender said the approval was done at a meeting held on 23rd February 2021.

Details of the financial statements will be released upon approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sterling Bank stated in a statement filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Thursday.

It said “We are pleased to inform our shareholders and other stakeholders that the Board of Sterling Bank Plc at its meeting of 23rd February 2021 approved the audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December 2020 subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Kindly note that details of the Financial Statements will be communicated to you upon approval of same by the CBN.

“Consequently, the closed period for trading in the shares of the Bank by its insiders which commenced from 8th February, 2021 will continue until 24 hours after the Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December, 2020 are released on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.”

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Banking Sector

CIBN, NIBSS Introduce e-Payment Certification Programmes

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CIBN, NIBSS Introduce e-Payment Certification Programmes

The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in collaboration with Nigerian Interbank Settlement Systems Plc (NIBSS) have introduced professional certification programmes on electronic payments for financial service providers and institutions.

Both organisations disclosed that the programme was designed to enhance the electronic payment skills and knowledge of financial practitioners in order to equip them with efficient tools and information required to upscale innovation and services.

Speaking to journalists at a media briefing in Lagos, yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr. Seye Awojobi, said the initiative is an international programme, well grounded in the local realities of the Nigerian e-payment industry and captures the current dynamics, as well as aspects of digital financial services practices.

“This programme would set the standards for e-payment expertise in Nigeria; foster a category of high performing professionals in the industry and build a resilient, safe and secured payment technology driven platform.

“The curriculum for the programme adequately covers recent methods required, which are in line with global practices.

“The introduction of the scheme cannot be more timely than now considering the COVID-19 pandemic, which created serious disruptions in our professional and personal lives,” he added.

On his part, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Systems Plc, Premier Oiwoh explained that the introduction of the programme would determine the capacity and work experience criteria required to recognise beginners, intermediate and advanced.

“It would create a growth roadmap for fledging e-payment workers, including the unemployed who has the desire to make a career in the electronic sector.

“Also, it would enable us continue to tackle the issue of insecurity within the financial technology payment and banking space,” he added.

The institutions also noted that in order to maintain a certification credential, the practitioners must earn some recertification credits over a three year span and valid for three years after it has been issued.

The CIBN last week has reintroduced its mentoring scheme. The initiatives aims at up-scaling the leadership capacity and productivity of workers within the financial and banking sector.

Speaking during the virtual forum, Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Lamido Yuguda, had explained that mentoring schemes are essential for the sustenance and development of the sector as it is built upon values such as trust and professionalism.

“These values can be taught. But are reinforced when practiced by the senior co-workers and emulated by junior colleagues. Such initiatives enable workers to avoid being distracted by the material, prestigious and monetary incentives the space presents.

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Finance

Stanbic IBTC Offers Low-Interest Agric Loans

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Stanbic IBTC Bank

Stanbic IBTC Offers Low-Interest Agric Loans

Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc has reaffirmed its commitment to the growth of Nigeria’s agriculture sector by supporting farmers and other players in the agricultural value chain.

As the demands on agribusinesses change seasonally, the financial institution provides financing solutions for agricultural enterprises to suit their requirements.

A statement explained that the needs range from availability of resources, to farming equipment, as well as enhancement of seasonal cashflow, amongst others.

Stanbic IBTC Bank offers various low-interest credit facilities across the agricultural sector that will help clients to cushion the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking on this, Head, Agribusiness, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Wole Oshin, said the agribusiness financial solution was geared towards ensuring that players in the agriculture space are not hindered by lack of finance.

He said: “The bank’s suite of agribusiness solutions minimises risks, ensures maximum control and optimises profits associated with international trade by making transactions smoother, simpler and safer for all parties involved.

“Some benefits of the Stanbic IBTC Agribusiness Finance include: availability of gap-funding for unforeseen financial needs, maintenance of cash flow and flexibility of repayment terms based on the type of funding. This facility is also versatile and can be utilised for funding resources, vehicles and farming equipment.”

Oshin noted that agricultural enterprises could access overdraft to finance their short-term cash flow and working capital needs.

“With quick and flexible processes, funds are available when needed and interest is paid only on funds utilised, not on the full amount on which the limit is set,” he added.

He further reiterated that the asset finance solution could aid in the financing of all farming vehicle and implement needs, with a wide range of packages to suit business’ cash flow and tax requirements.

“Vehicles and assets such as tractors, harvesters, irrigation equipment and so on, to enhance production,” he said.

Other available facilities are Business Revolving Credit Loan, Agricultural Production Loan and Medium-Term Finance.

These are suitable for grain farmers, individual farmers, groups and entities in the agricultural sector. Our loans are designed to accommodate the purchase of various agricultural inputs (like seeds, fertilizers etc), livestock, agriculture-related products and asset acquisition.

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