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Soft-Drink Tax: Experts Predict Hyperinflation, Job Loss

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  • Soft-Drink Tax: Experts Predict Hyperinflation, Job Loss

Following the plans by the Federal Government to impose Value Added Tax (VAT) on carbonated drinks, soft drinks and other important products, Financial experts have warned that it will not only have an effect on the company but will lead to loss of jobs in the country.

Recall that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed while in Washington DC, USA, for the 2019 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, said plans are underway to increase the country’s revenue by introducing excise duties on certain items.

“We are also looking at introducing excise duties on some categories of products especially carbonated drinks and VAT on some categories of imports into the country. But it is not all taxes increases, there is also a proposal to build tax rates for SMEs we also increase the minimum tax level to make it easy for people to plan their taxes,” Ahmed had said.

Reacting to the move, The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and others in separate statements expressed worries on the effect, saying many shops will close, Nigerians will lose their jobs and the inflation rates will also rise.

NECA’s Director-General, Timothy Olawale, said adding another tax to the existing ones will only ruin businesses.

“In our considered opinion, reintroduction of excise tax on non-alcoholic beverages should not be the case. With the myriad of taxes and levies already being paid by businesses, the reintroduction of excise in a sector with high price elasticity means that government is desirous of killing businesses in the sector completely.

He explained that “once prices are increased, consumers will push back, resulting in sharp decline in demand. With the planned increase in VAT, the introduction of excise will further burden operators in the sector with the following consequences: low demand leading to unsold products; incomes squeeze on businesses that are already struggling with low margin and massive staff layoff, which will affect over 250,000 direct and indirect employees in the sector among others.”

On his part, the Director-General of the LCCI, Mr Muda Yusuf opined that “any imposition of tax on carbonated drinks will definitely affect the demand for such products. Such imposition of tax would be another tax apart from the excise tax already paid by the manufacturers of such products.

“Ultimately, the demand for such products might drop due to the attendant increase in price that might occur. Those who could buy would buy at a higher price.”

Also, former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Dr Sam Nzekwe noted that if the FG’s plan is implemented, there will be higher inflation rates.

“If this plan of government to tax soft drinks is implemented, then we should be ready for higher rates of inflation. Already, we have high inflation,” he stated.

He added that “the taxes from the federal and state governments are becoming too many that you don’t know where to place them. Coming up with a new tax regime on soft drinks, I don’t think that is what will solve the funding challenges confronting the budget.”

The Chairman, Food, Beverage and Tobacco subsector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Paul Gbededo said, “imposing tax on soft drinks will impact the poor and the masses. Soft drink is what the poor drink to get energy. If government is looking for additional revenue from taxation, the masses will support taxation of luxury items.

“I am aware that it is fashionable to control sugar intake because of health reasons, but we are not there yet. The poor need the sugar because that is where they derive their energy from. If the government is worried about sweetener intake among Nigerians, they can express this through education, telling people the disadvantages of consuming such substance.”

“The cost of doing business in Nigeria is already high; it (excise duty) will further increase the cost. That is why I think it has to be very marginal in order not to discourage new investors who want to come into the industry or make existing investors move to other countries,” A former Director-General, West African Institute of Financial and Economic Management, Prof Akpan Ekpo stated.

Dr Bongo Adi, An economist and Senior Lecturer, Lagos Business School, admitted that “the government is trying to ramp up tax revenue; the truth of the matter is that tax is low in Nigeria. But I don’t know why they need to discourage the consumption of soft drinks.

“If you impose excise duty on a commodity that is price-sensitive, the demand will immediately drop as consumers will find alternatives.”

“I think the way to raise tax is first by growing the economy. I have always maintained that this issue of tax is coming at a very wrong time. Our post-recession GDP is less than two per cent, and we are taking measures that will further endanger the growth of the economy,” he added.

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Business

MultiChoice Nigeria Expands Product Offerings, Unveils 3 New DStv Business Packages

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Leading Pay-TV service provider, MultiChoice Nigeria has rolled out new features and expanded the product offerings on its DStv Business packages for businesses and corporate organizations in Nigeria.

The new DStv Business packages are DStv Work, DStv Play and DStv Stay.

Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe said: “We always ask ourselves how we can make our customers experience better for businesses. We have revamped our DStv Business packages, offering business owners the right mixture of entertainment to enhance the experience of guests and staff. At the end of the day, your guests will always remember how you made them feel.”

The DStv Work, tiered into 2 categories, DStv Work Ultra with 48 channels and DStv Work Essential with 75 channels, has been tailored to suit the businDStv Work, DStv Play and DStv Stay.ess environment including banks, offices, and other corporate organizations with specific offerings such as the latest news headlines from across the world, sports, weather updates and other work-related entertainment which sets the tone and keeps everyone well informed.

Commenting on the revamped DStv packages, Head of DStv Business, Abayomi Famakinwa said: “For the Work category, we have taken into consideration all our offices and different organizations. For Stay, we have considered all organizations across accommodation offerings such as hotels, B&Bs, Guesthouses and the likes; for Play, we are taking into consideration the Pubs, Clubs, lounges, restaurants, bars and the likes.”

The DStv Play package, tiered into 3 categories, DStv Play Ultra with 86 channels, DStv Play Essential with 61 channels, and DStv Play Basic with 40 channels aims to enhance guest experiences and ensure that they are always entertained with their favourite sports programmes and other first-class entertainment.

Famakinwa stated further: “A lot of our customers used to complain to us that there is only one package across the different bouquets so they couldn’t move from one package to the other, and we have listened as we always do and we have now tiered our packages into different categories for each of the segments. Secondly, we have factored in all the add-ons into our different packages; and from the decoder perspective we have bundled our decoders, which means, for each and every decoder that you have you can talk to MultiChoice and tell us what channels you would like to have on the decoder.”

The DStv Stay package, tiered into 3 categories, DStv Stay Basic with 77 channels, DStv Stay Essential with 99 channels, and DStv Stay Ultra with 139 channels are best suitable for hotels, motels, lodges, resorts, B&B and serviced apartments as it gives each guest – whether a kid, adult or elder – a memorable in-room experience due to the vast array of channels available to them during their stay.

Meanwhile, Chief Customer Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, Martin Mabutho said: “At the centre of what we do and the key characteristics that we live by day in day out is innovation. And a company that prides itself in innovation, not only from the point of view of what we do with our hard work, or the point of view of content ideas that are groundbreaking, but clearly also from the point of view of all we have seen in the communities and economies that we operate in, and how different businesses can also become our partners.”

Speaking on what informed the Pay TV’s decision to expand its offerings, Martin noted: “As content is consumed on different platforms, mobile devices, phones, tablets, and computers, the people that own those contents have started to tighten around usage rights; the people that regulate us as pay-TV service providers also start to expect that we hit the right notes when it comes to the issue of morality, political correctness, and religion amongst others. It is for that reason that we saw it fit that we sit down and categorise our packages of big chop of contents and say, those that use DStv in offices what is the content that we have, that firstly we have the rights to, and secondly, would be deemed appropriate.”

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Company News

Total Nigeria Rebounds from 2020 COVID-19 Damages, Grows Profit by 1,601 Percent to N8.1 Billion in H1 2021

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Total Exploration - Investors King

Total Nigeria Plc, a subsidiary of Total, grew revenue by 42 percent from N106.705 billion recorded in the first half (H1) of 2020 to N151.333 billion in the first half of 2021.

In the company’s unaudited financial statements for the period, the cost of sales inched higher by 33.4 percent from N94.305 billion filed in the first half of 2020 to N124.83 billion in the period under review.

Total Nigeria’s gross profit appreciated by 105.7 percent to N25.504 billion in the first half of 2021, up from N12.400 billion in the corresponding period of 2020.

The company grew operating profit to N12.526 billion in the first half from -N716.812 million achieved in the first half of 2020 during the peak of COVID-19.

Profit before minimum tax jumped by 2,358 percent from -N523.898 million in H1 2020 to N11.779 billion in the period under review.

Total Nigeria paid N3.713 billion as income tax in the first half of 2021 to take the total profit after tax to N8.1 billion, a 1,601 percent increase from -N537.188 million posted in the corresponding period.

Shareholders’ funds expanded by 17 percent to N32.821 billion from N28.151 billion in H1 2020.

Total Nigeria’s share price grew by 49 percent during the period under review to N145.00 a share, up from N97.50 a unit in the first half of 2020.

Earnings per share jumped from -N1.58 in H1 2020 to N23 in H1 2021.

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Appointments

Wema Bank Announces Prince Olusegun Adesegun and Mr. Adeyemi Adefarakan as Non-Executive Directors

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Wema Bank- Investorsking

Wema Bank Plc has announced the appointments of Prince Olusegun Adesegun and Mr. Adeyemi Adefarakan as Non-Executive Directors of the Bank, effective July 19, 2021.

The announcement was after the Central Bank of Nigeria had approved both appointments, the lender disclosed in a statement signed by Johnson lebile, Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, Wema Bank Plc.

Prince Olusegun Adesegun Background

Prince Olusegun Adesegun is a Psychologist with a Masters’ Degree in Industrial Psychology from the University of Ibadan. He served and worked in Pyramid Products Limited as Manager in Training and rose to become the General Manager of the then Eastern Zone in 1988.

He retired and engaged in private business and has overtime garnered experience in marketing administration, management, and supply chain logistics solutions. He eventually became the CEO of Pecol Ventures Limited – a cash crop export and paper products company where he transformed the company from a small producer to a large, world-class Agric-Export firm.

He combined his private business with public service to become Commissioner for Works and Housing in Ogun State twice, and later served as the Deputy Governor of Ogun State between 2011-2015.

He currently serves as a Career Counsellor and Consultant for high quality investment decisions.

Adeyemi Adefarakan Profile

Adeyemi Adefarakan is a seasoned executive with strong global investment banking, portfolio risk, asset and financial management exposure.

He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Economics & Accountancy from the prestigious City University, London, and holds a Masters degree in International Securities, Investment & Banking from the acclaimed ICMA Centre at the University of Reading, U.K. He is also an alumnus of the Emerging CFO: Strategic Financial Leadership Programme at Stanford Graduate School of Business, USA, and currently pursuing a Global CEO Africa Programme in the triumvirate of business schools comprising of Lagos Business School, Strathmore Business School (Nairobi, Kenya) and Yale School of Management (Connecticut, USA).

Yemi currently serves as the Group Chief Financial Officer and an Executive Director on the board of CBSL (Continental Broadcasting Service Limited). He holds other boards positions where he continues to create and extract shareholder value through active board engagement.

Prior to joining CBSL, Yemi forged his career on the trading floors of some of London’s financial powerhouses, to wit; State Street Global Markets, DRW Investments, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and HSBC Global Asset Management, where he traded both vanilla and complex instruments and riskmanaged multi-billion-dollar multiasset portfolios.

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