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Reps Amends Finance Act, Includes Levies on Non-Alcoholic Drinks

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The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has resolved that it will amend the Finance Act to include levies on all carbonated and non-carbonated drinks.

The Committee made the resolution on Monday at the interactive session on the 2022-2024 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), holding at the National Assembly, Abuja.

This followed the plea by the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Services, Hameed Ali, that all beverages companies should be made to pay levies.

Mr. Ali, while responding to a question of levy on non-alcoholic drinks, said he had been advocating that non-alcoholic drinks be re-excised.

According to him, non-alcoholic drinks are as harmful as alcoholic beverages, noting that there is a 30 percent excise levy on alcoholic drinks.

“On several cases, I have made submissions. My chairman (Leke Abejide, the Chairman House Committee on Customs & Excise Duties) is aware that I have been on this battle that we should re-excise the companies that were de-excised in 2019.

“What we have been fighting for is that if alcohol beverages and tobacco are injurious to our health and that is why the government decided to tax them, the carbonated drinks are equally injurious to our health and they should be taxed.

“I have sung this song for many years now, Coca-Cola is producing in this country and it is not being taxed. There is nowhere you go in the world that Coca-Cola is not paying tax to its host country, but Coca-Cola in this country is not paying anything because of the government’s unwillingness to re-excise those companies. For us, we have been battling for it, and I hope that one day, we will start collecting,” Mr. Ali said.

Responding to the demand of Mr. Ali, the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, James Faleke, said the committee will consider amending the Finance Act along the line of argument of the Customs CG.

“We will be considering……..I am sure that the federal government will be coming up with the 2022 Finance Bill. There is a need for us to look at the possibility of charging excise duty on all drinks manufactured in this country, this is on all drinks, carbonated and non-carbonated.

“Carbonated is already part of the Finance Act, but companies cannot be operating and making huge profits. We are talking about excise….I am sure they are paying their income tax, but in terms of production tax…..even non-alcoholic are injurious, if you drink too much it is a wahala (problem). You will just be consuming sugar,” he said.

Also making a case for the levy on beverages, Mr. Abejide said the government needs to commence the implementation of the carbonated drinks levy.

He said the full implementation of the law would increase the revenue generation of Customs.

“Customs is doing well, and I am happy. This Finance Act that we passed in 2020, we should try and start making it work for carbonated drinks. It is already there as a law. Customs should partner with the ministry of finance so that they will get the approval in order for them to start collecting so that they can act and start collecting, If we implement that Act, it will be very easy to collect. Even if it is not up to N2.5 trillion, at least they can cross it,” Mr. Abejide said.

The Customs CG also blamed the lack of scanners at major ports for the smuggling of goods. According to him, agents connive with importers to devalue goods to reduce the percentage of duties.

“To be frank, apart from vehicle smuggling, most of the smuggling —evasion of duties — happens at the port because we do not have scanners and which means we cannot inspect every container and know the content,” Mr. Ali said.

“With due respect to stakeholders, most of our traders in conjunction with clearing agents always try to devalue the goods that are imported and therefore reducing the percentage. But if we have scanners…. I thank God very soon we will be deploying three major scanners at the major ports. That will help us tremendously to be able to reduce to the barest minimum the extent of smuggling. Because you have a company bringing 50 containers, you hardly can inspect all those and also we are mindful of the ease of doing business.

“Mr chairman, I assure you that now that the scanners are almost at our shores, once we deploy them I believe that we will realise the increment in terms of revenue.”

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Finance

FMAN Elects New Excos as Coronation Asset M.D, Aig-Imoukhuede Emerges as President

FMAN has elected the Managing Director of Coronation Asset Management Limited, Mr. Aigbovbioise Aig-Imoukhuede as the new President-elect of the association.

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Finance

Fintech CEO: Rate Hikes & Inflation Spell Different Reality than Stock Market

Since its low in June, the S&P has seen a bump of 18%, while the NASDAQ has risen roughly 20%

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Since its low in June, the S&P has seen a bump of 18%, while the NASDAQ has risen roughly 20%. This week, both Morgan Stanley and BlackRock analysts have noted that the recent bounce likely won’t continue. One Fintech exec, who has been sounding the warning bells on the economy for the better part of the past year, speaks on the current state of affairs.

“As soon as we saw the trajectory of the pandemic-related spending bills, anybody with basic economic knowledge knew that inflation was going to be a concern. What most didn’t anticipate was the land war in Eastern Europe that only exacerbated energy costs and supply chain issues,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.

“As inflation, which was nudged higher by pandemic-related supply chain shortages which still haven’t fully abated, began to affect household budgets, it was clear that rate hikes were coming. The 75 basis point hikes were historic, but all indicators show that additional increases will be necessary. The increases are only starting to ripple across the economy,” said Gardner.

“There was some excitement over July’s CPI, but the reality is that this economy isn’t back on track. The excitement and celebration is a bit too soon, and I think the fundamentals still show that. Given the market’s recent boon, I think you’re starting to see an influx of FOMO, and that’s not painting the full picture,” said Gardner.

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Modulus has provided its exchange solution to some of the industry’s most profitable digital asset exchanges, including a well-known multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable institutions, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“Right now could be a great time for companies to work on new projects and get them ready to bring to market. It is a great time for R&D, and, for the companies that planned for this economic upheaval, it is a time to poach top talent that find themselves laid-off. In particular, it is a great time for startups that just completed a major funding round. They’ll have the financial resources to weather the storm while competitors may begin to struggle with liquidity,” said Gardner.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Commemorates 2022 International Youth Day, Dedicating the Week to Celebrating the Youth

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its commemoration of the 2022 International Youth Day, globally celebrated today, 12 August 2022.

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its commemoration of the 2022 International Youth Day, globally celebrated today, 12 August 2022 and themed “Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages.” 

The International Youth Day is commemorated every year on 12 August, bringing youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society. The Day also amplifies the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind.

Leading up to the day, the Bank dedicated the week of 8 – 12 August with a lineup of activities to reiterate its commitment to Youth Empowerment.

As a Bank renowned for its role in developing the economy through sustainable employment and entrepreneurship endeavours, the 2022 edition of the Youth Week will promote economic empowerment and employment, digital technology, and education as its focus during the celebration.

The Youth Week comprises various activities, including a Fashion illustration workshop, Design skill training, Gen Z/Millennial Webinar and many more exciting activities. These activities would give participants opportunities to win various exciting gift items.

Under the First@arts program, the Bank will empower the youths through Artistry Workshop Sessions & Arts Classes. Interested in the art of fashion design and illustrations, visit the Bank’s social media handles – Instagram: @firstbanknigeria, Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @FirstBankngr – for information on how you can be among 10 lucky winners to have the opportunity to learn the business of fashion at Claire Idera fashion studio.

Likewise, the Creative design workshop will enable youths design skill training; design thinking principles and their application in the context of layout, typefaces and colour. Interested youths can also participate on the FirstBank social media handles, where 25 lucky winners will be selected to learn the Art of Design at Geneza School of Designs.

Commemorating the Youth Week, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank said: ‘’We remain committed to celebrating the younger demography whose voices, actions, vigour, and tireless participation in the political, economic, and social activities have continued to birth major contributions towards the sustainable development of Africa and the world at large. The planned activities will promote better collaboration and solidarity across generations to foster successful and equitable relationships, and partnerships thereby ensuring “no one is left behind” and empowering everyone to leverage their full potential toward achieving the much-desired Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This Youth demography has a striking significance for us at FirstBank with the Millennials and Gen Zs constituting almost 60% of our workforce. This shows that youths are an integral part of our organisation and every country where we operate”, he concluded.

For more information and participation in the Youth Week, kindly visit the bank’s verified social media platforms; Instagram: @firstbanknigeria, Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @FirstBankngr

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