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Money Launderers Using Nigeria’s Gemstones – Minister

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  • Money Launderers Using Nigeria’s Gemstones – Minister

Nigeria’s gemstones are so attractive that they have become tools in the hands of smugglers and money launderers, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Bawa Bwari, has said.

Bwari said this at the opening of a two-day African Gems and Jewellery Exhibition and Seminar in Abuja on Thursday.

The minister said that the government has responded to this challenge by initiating a new policing agenda as part of a broad reform being undertaken to safeguard the nation’s solid mineral resources.

Bwari said, “As part of our mandate, the ministry is required to improve the sector’s capacity to create jobs and broaden the range of economic opportunities available to Nigerians.

“This is why we continue to support the initiatives of the organisers in using this event as a platform for creating a viable local market, and access to foreign markets for locally produced gems and jewellery.

“Ironically, the sheer beauty of our gemstones makes them easy prey for smugglers and money launderers. We have begun reforms in the sector with the hope of ensuring proper policing of the gemstone sector across the value chain from prospecting, to exploration, to mining, processing and marketing.”

He added, “The central point of our gem policy is to ensure due process in our gemstone mining and marketing activities in line with international best practices.

“We also hope to help artisans get good prices for their gemstones while boosting our Gross Domestic Policy by ensuring due repatriation of gemstone export proceeds through the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

He said that the ministry had managed to de-risk the sector by addressing issues of poor funding, lack of geological data, weak institutional capacity, limited supporting infrastructure, weak ease of doing business, and illegal mining and community challenges.

The minister added that the government would continue to make efforts to attract investors into the sector and ensure that “all mining is done in strict accordance with our laws.”

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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Airtel Africa Posts Strong Growth Across its Units, Revenue Jumps 27.6 Percent

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Airtel Africa - Investors King

Airtel Africa grew revenue by 25.2 percent in the first half (H1, 2022) that ended September 30, 2021 to $2,272 million with double-digit growth across all regions. In the second quarter (Q2) of the same period, revenue grew by 20.3 percent.

The telecommunications giant stated in its unaudited financial statement released on Wednesday, October 28, 2021. See the company’s financial highlights below.

Airtel Africa Plc Financial Highlights

• H1’22 reported revenue grew by 25.2% to $2,272m with double digit growth across all regions. Q2 reported revenue growth of 20.3%.
• Revenue in constant currency grew by 27.6%.
• Strong double-digit constant currency revenue growth across all regions: Nigeria up 32.4%, East Africa up 25.8% and Francophone Africa up 22.1%; and across all key services, Voice up 19.7%, Data up 36.9% and Mobile Money up 42.0%.
• Underlying EBITDA grew by 35.2% to $1,098m in reported currency and underlying EBITDA margin improved to 48.3%, an increase of 360 basis points led by both revenue growth and improved operational efficiencies.
• Operating profit up 55.1% to $732m in reported currency.
• Profit after tax more than doubled to $335m, largely due to higher profit before tax which more than offset the associated increase in tax charges.
• Basic EPS was 7.6 cents, an increase of 155.9%, as a result of higher profit. EPS before exceptional items increased to 7.5 cents from 3.0 cents in previous period.
• Operating free cash flow was $853m, up 43.1%, and over the last 18 months we have up streamed more than $570m across our operating entities.
• Leverage ratio reduced to 1.5x from 2.2x.
• Customer base grew by 5.4% to 122.7 million, with increased penetration across mobile data (customer base up 10.9%) and mobile money services (customer base up 19.0%). Customer base growth was affected by the new NIN/SIM registration regulations in Nigeria; excluding Nigeria the customer base grew by 13.7%.
• The board has declared an interim dividend of 2 cents per share (1.5 cents in H1’21) in line with an upgraded dividend policy.

The new policy aims to grow the dividend annually by a mid to high-single digit percentage from a new base of 5 cents per share for FY 2022, with a continued focus to further strengthen the balance sheet.

Commenting on the performance of the telecom, Segun Ogunsanya, chief executive officer, said “Our first half financial performance has been strong. The first half of last year, and especially Q1, was impacted by the start of Covid, but even after adjusting for these effects, our revenue growth rates for the half year for the Group and all our service segments are ahead of our FY’21 revenue growth trends, and in reported terms these are all in strong double digits.

“The risks from Covid still remain, with sub-Saharan Africa continuing to experience a third wave of the pandemic. Governments continue to implement balanced measures of lockdowns and restrictions accordingly. But vaccination levels remain low, and we continue to monitor the situation for potential impacts on economies and consumers.

“Operationally we have continued our network modernisation and expansion, aligned with an extension of our distribution capabilities, which have together contributed towards continued strong growth in ARPUs across voice, data and mobile money. We have seen an improvement in our customer growth trends for the Group as we approach stability of net monthly movements in Nigeria.

“Alongside our results we have today launched our sustainability strategy. Airtel Africa has always been a business with a sustainable premise at the heart of our purpose to transform lives across Africa through our promotion of both digital and financial inclusion. Our sustainability strategy builds upon this, extending and more comprehensively articulating our sustainability goals and credentials. I am excited by the new initiatives we have launched and I look forward to reporting back on our developments in this area with our first sustainability report next year.

“As incoming Group CEO, I have inherited the responsibility to build upon a business with solid foundations and as I look ahead, I continue to see huge potential across voice, data and mobile money from low penetration levels across Africa. The continent continues to be a growth story for us despite the pandemic. We will continue to invest in mobile and digital technologies to drive digital and financial inclusion sustainably in Africa. I am pleased with the progress we have made in the last couple of years on delivering value to everyone touched by our network.”

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Chemical and Allied Products Plc Reports 51 Percent Increase in Revenue

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Chemical & Allied Products (CAP) Plc - Investors King

Chemical and Allied Products Plc (CAP Plc) announced its Financial Results for the third quarter ended September 2021.

Revenue increased by 51 percent increase from N5 Billion in the quarter ended September 2020 to N9 Billion in September 2021. This rise in revenue was driven by an increase in the sale of paint products which rose from N6 Billion in 2020 to N9 Billion in 2021. Although distribution costs also rose during the period under review and this ate into the revenue earned.

Cost of sales however saw a massive increase from about N3 Billion in September 2020 to N6 Billion in September 2021. This was driven by a change in inventories of finished goods and work in progress which rose from N2 Billion in 2020 to N5 Billion in 2021. Royalty fees also increased from N201 Million in 2020 to N307 Million in 2021.

This saw profit for the period fall from N927 Million in 2020 to N613 Million despite the increase in revenue, a 34% drop.

Earnings per share fell from 133 kobo in September 2020 to 78 kobo in September 2021. The company declared no dividends during the period.

CAP Paint Key Financial Highlights

• Revenue of N9.1 billion, higher than prior year by 51%.
• Gross profit of N2.7billion million, with gross margin of 30%.
• Operating expenses of N2.2billion with operating expenses as a percentage of sales of 25%, a 179bps improvement from 27% prior year.
• Other income of N253million, 279% above prior year due to profit from sale of a non-core asset.
• EBIT of N710 million, with EBIT margin of 8%.
• Profit Before Tax of N851 million, with PBT margin of 9%.
• Profit After Tax of N614 million, with PAT margin of 7%.
• Increased working capital deliberately to ensure sufficient raw material availability to continue production, hence inventory increased by N2.8 billion from Dec 2020.
• Trade and other receivables increased by N366 million in line with higher revenue.
• Strong cash position of N3.3 billion, with the key movement from Dec 2020 being the N1.5 billion paid to shareholders as dividends.

Commenting on the performance, Managing Director, David Wright, stated: “The merger between Chemical and Allied Products Plc (CAP) and Portland Paints and Products Nigeria Plc (Portland Paints) was successfully completed on the 1st of July 2021 with CAP being the surviving entity.

The financial results for the third quarter of 2021 reflects the combined entity. Despite the challenging environment, we continue to generate higher sales across our product portfolio.

Revenue improvement has been driven by (i) strong volume growth, (ii) price increases and (iii) new products in our portfolio, following the merger.

Raw material cost escalation remains a key concern and we will continue to carefully assess pricing. In addition to pricing, we will focus on production and operating efficiencies in order to protect margin”.

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Tax Battle: Multichoice Africa Loses Tax Appeal to FIRS

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Multichoice Nigeria - Investors King

The fierce tax battle between Multichoice Africa Holdings B.V., the parent company of Multichoice Nigeria and the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) has finally been struck out by the Tax Appeal Tribunal.

The Tax Appeal Tribunal struck out the appeal instituted by Multichoice Africa Holdings B.V against the Federal  Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) over the $342 Million disputed tax. Multichoice engaged FIRS over the assessment of the company’s unpaid Value Added Tax (VAT).

The Tribunal while delivering its judgment on the appeal filed by Multichoice upheld the preliminary objection of the FIRS against the appeal of Multichoice and said the South African company did not comply with Order 3 Rule 6 of the Tax Appeal Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 2021, which requires that an appellant is to deposit half of the assessed amount it is disputing before it can be heard on appeal. In addition to depositing the sum, the appellant is required to file along with its appeal an affidavit verifying the payment, Multichoice Africa also failed to comply with this.

FIRS served Multichoice Africa Holdings B.V a notice of assessment of unpaid VAT on the 16th of June 2021, FIRS claimed that although the company provided services to its Nigerian arm, Multichoice Nigeria, it had not paid VAT since inception.

Mutichoice is not the first South African company to have a battle with the FIRS, MTN has had its squirmishes with Nigerian authorities in the past. The federal government had said the multinational telecoms firm owed taxes from 2007 to 2017. The case was referred to FIRS with a view to settling the case amicably.

Earlier in August, the telecommunications services provider announced plans to reconstruct the Enugu-Onitsha expressway under the road infrastructure tax credit (RITC) scheme.

The Road Infrastructure tax credit scheme is a public-private partnership (PPP) intervention that grants income tax credit to companies and individuals that provide funding for the refurbishment and rehabilitation of roads.

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