Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has affirmed the African Development Bank‘s Aaa long-term issuer and senior unsecured ratings. The outlook remains stable.
In a rating action note dated 28 October 2021, Moody’s said the key factors underpinning the affirmation include robust capital buffers, combined with superior risk management which contain the challenges associated with low development asset credit quality amid a difficult operating environment; very strong access to funding which supports the bank’s ample liquidity buffer; and very high support from regional and non-regional shareholders to support the African Development Bank’s development mandate.
“The stable outlook reflects Moody’s expectations that African Development Bank’s capital and liquidity buffers will remain in line with Aaa peers and that prudent risk management practices will maintain nonperforming assets at low levels despite a challenging operating environment,” the note further said.
The outlook is also based on expectations that the Bank’s shareholders will continue to provide substantial support, through regular capital increases, and when necessary, the provision of support beyond contractual obligations.
The note also commented on the Bank’s solid capital position. “After several years of rising leverage, AfDB’s leverage ratio improved slightly to 295% in 2020, compared with 298% in 2019. This reflected a combination of a slower pace of lending growth and the first contributions made under the latest general capital increase, GCI VII, which was approved by AfDB’s board in 2019.” Moody’s expects further paid-in capital contributions from shareholders to prevent a deterioration in leverage over the next several years.
The bank’s liquidity buffer is among the strongest within the Aaa-rated peer group, with liquid assets covering 101% of net cash outflows over an 18-month horizon.
“As one of the main conduits for private investment and development goals on the African continent, Moody’s views the ability and willingness of AfDB’s shareholders to provide support to be very high, which provides uplift to the bank’s intrinsic financial strength.”
Non-regional member countries account for 40% of the Bank’s capital subscription, including a number of highly rated sovereigns like the United States (Aaa, stable), Japan (A1, stable), Germany (Aaa, stable), Canada (Aaa, stable) and France (Aa2, stable), highlighting the ability and willingness of shareholders to support the African Development Bank’s development objectives.
Additionally, the African Development Bank’s non-regional shareholders have a track record of demonstrated support to the institution beyond their ongoing contractual involvement, including a history of temporary callable capital solutions to support the institution during particular periods.
Commenting on the rating newly appointed Senior Vice President of the African Development Bank Group, Bajabulile “Swazi” Tshabalala said: “Moody’s assessment reflects the financial strength of the African Development Bank, an institution resolutely geared towards putting Africa on a path to inclusive and sustainable growth.”
Nigeria’s Tax Revolution: Shifting Burden to the Wealthy and Streamlining the System
President Bola Tinubu’s administration is set to revolutionize the nation’s tax system.
The ambitious plan seeks to redistribute the tax burden, making the wealthy pay their fair share while stimulating business growth through corporate tax cuts.
The cornerstone of this tax reform initiative is a push to increase Nigeria’s tax revenue from 11% to 18% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) within three years.
Spearheading this transformation is Taiwo Oyedele, who leads a panel appointed by President Tinubu.
Oyedele articulated the primary objectives of the reform, saying “We aim to make the rich pay what is fair and protect those in poverty.”
This move is crucial in a country where extreme wealth disparities persist, with only a small fraction of the population enjoying immense riches.
Notably, the plan also includes a reduction in the corporate income tax rate, which currently stands at an effective rate of over 40%.
The aim is to benchmark this rate against Nigeria’s international peers, fostering a more business-friendly environment.
Nigeria’s tax system has long been plagued by complexity, with nearly 70 different taxes and overlapping jurisdictions.
The reform initiative seeks to simplify this by streamlining tax structures and drastically reducing the number of taxes to single digits.
Also, a tax amnesty is under consideration, aimed at encouraging tax compliance and offering relief for past debts. The hope is that by fostering transparency and accountability, more Nigerians will willingly contribute to the country’s fiscal health.
In a nation where government debt has surged dramatically in recent years, this tax revolution is seen as a pivotal step towards reducing the deficit and ensuring sustainable economic growth.
Federal Government’s $3 Billion Rescue Plan to Bolster Naira Stability
The National Economic Council (NEC) has confirmed the deployment of the $3 billion emergency loan-for-crude oil, secured by the Federal Government in August, for the stabilization of the national currency.
The naira’s value has been under siege, with fluctuations in the Investors & Exporters’ window and a parallel market rate that briefly hit N1000/$ this month.
Addressing reporters following the 136th NEC meeting at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule expressed confidence in the plan.
He stated, “With the plan that will come out and with all these items that have been listed on the improvement of revenue, the $3 billion shall be useful to us down the line.”
The emergency loan, secured from Afrexim Bank, was initially intended to relieve pressure on the naira, facilitate the settlement of taxes and royalties in advance, and provide the Federal Government with vital dollar liquidity for naira stabilization.
The recent nomination of Olayemi Cardoso as the new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor by President Bola Tinubu has already shown promise.
The naira experienced a boost in the black market, strengthening by N10 against the dollar, closing at N990/$1.
Governor Sule indicated that the implementation of the intervention would require careful planning and time.
He emphasized the need for the new CBN team to devise effective strategies. In response to inquiries about a supplementary budget, Sule stated that there is no immediate need for one, as the situation does not warrant it.
As Nigeria’s economic landscape faces evolving challenges, the NEC’s decision to harness the $3 billion loan offers a glimmer of hope for a more stable naira in the near future.
Former FIRS Chairman Muhammad Nami Accused of Controversial N6 Billion Payments After Sudden Exit
Documents reveal questionable approvals and alleged backdating, raising concerns over financial misconduct
Muhammad Nami, the former chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), is under scrutiny for approving payments totaling N6 billion to contractors and consultants just days after his abrupt removal from office.
Documents obtained by TheCable shed light on these controversial transactions.
Nami, who was succeeded by Zacchaeus Adedeji, greenlit the payments on September 16, two days after his removal on September 14.
Sources privy to the situation, although not authorized to speak publicly, claim that Nami directed staff to work over the weekend to finalize these transactions.
Additionally, files were allegedly moved from the FIRS headquarters to his residence, where they were purportedly “backdated and signed.”
Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising revelation is that Nami transferred approximately N5 billion from the FIRS account to the Joint Tax Board (JTB) without apparent justification.
It is reported that the FIRS director of finance and accounts reluctantly approved these payments after warning Nami about potential repercussions.
Nami allegedly reassured his subordinates that the incoming FIRS chairman would remain oblivious to these approvals.
Also, documents indicate that Nami approved significant payments, including N1.4 billion for a ‘Business Case for Strategic Leadership’ retreat, N250 million for FIRS Data Mining Management and Analytics in Taxation Course, and N221 million for a ‘Skill Development and Management Improvement Workshop Training.’
Curiously, Nami also appropriated over N81 million for a study visit to the Inland Revenue of Malaysia.
The FIRS, when contacted for comment, remained tight-lipped about the situation. Spokesperson Abdullahi Ismaila stated that he had no knowledge of the payments, while Tobi Johannes, Nami’s former media aide, distanced himself from the matter, emphasizing that his role ceased when Nami’s tenure ended.
These revelations have ignited concerns about financial misconduct within the FIRS and have raised questions about the oversight and accountability of government agencies. The full extent of these allegations is yet to be determined as investigations into the payments and their legitimacy continue.
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