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Refinitiv Releases Findings of 2021 Sub-Saharan Africa Financial Crime Report

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Refinitiv, a London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) business, released the results of its second financial crime report for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The survey highlighted new trends this year, including low awareness of third-party exposure, high demand for advanced compliance technology, emerging supply chain risks, and lack of digital identity solutions in Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols.

According to the report, only 28%of respondents have an Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) programme. More than 39% of respondents lack anti-bribery and corruption controls, while 55% of respondents do not have a cybercrime programme. The report also noted that only 3% of respondents view Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) as a significant theme despite the growing regulatory focus on this topic.

Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Data and Analytics, Middle East and Africa, LSEG, said: “Organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa still lack sound compliance programmes. The global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has created additional complexity for risk management professionals across the continent. The report highlights a strong desire for compliance technology that offers improved data management and analytical capabilities.”

“Survey responses also reveal a high level of third-party and supply chain risk exposure. More than two-thirds of respondents indicated that they do not have a third-party risk management programme,” he added.

More than 23% of respondents noted that their organisations had fallen victim to bribery and corruption over the past five years. Survey results suggest that risk and compliance professionals in the region are investing in innovative technology to help address their risk exposure.  More than 26% of respondents pointed out that they invested in digital identity technology, while 18% noted they already have an active digital identity programme in place. The report surveyed risk and compliance professionals and business leaders across 47 countries in SSA.

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Economy

Nigeria Records Trade Deficit of 8.9 Trillion in Nine Months

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Commodities Exchange

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released a report that showed that Nigeria recorded a trade deficit of 8.9 Trillion Naira between January and September 2021. 

A trade deficit occurs when a country’s imports exceed its exports over a period. Within the period, foreign trade was 35.09 Trillion Naira which comprised imports of 22 Trillion Naira and exports of 13.1 Trillion which led to an 8.9 Trillion trade deficit.

A breakdown of the data by quarters shows that trade stood at 9.76 Trillion Naira in the first quarter, which represented imports of 6.85 Trillion Naira and exports of 2.91 Trillion Naira, this resulted in a trade deficit of 3.94 Trillion during the period.

The data went on to show that the majority of the goods imported in the first quarter were from China (valued at 2 Trillion), the Netherlands (valued at 726.09 Billion) the United States (valued at 608.12 Billion), India (valued at 589.1 Billion), and Belgium (valued at 238.5 Billion) while the majority of exports were to India (valued at 488.1 Billion), Spain (valued at 287.2 Billion), China (190.1 Billion), the Netherlands (160.0 Billion) and France (133 Billion).

In the third quarter, Crude oil dominated exports with 78.47% of exports, this was followed by natural gas with 9.5%. Imports were mainly motor spirit with 12.91% of imports, Durum wheat with 3.87%, gas oil with 2.77%, and used vehicles with 2.27%.

A renowned economist, Pat Utomi said the country’s huge appetite for imports was because of insufficient domestic production which is driven by worsening insecurity and stringent government regulations. He went on to say that although there were interventions introduced by the Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to reduce imports and increase exports, the initiatives are fraught with inconsistencies and corrupt practices that prevent any real impact.

He went on to say that it was scandalous that Nigeria’s top imports were food products and motor spirits as those are products the country should be exporting because Nigeria is a food-producing nation and has oil in abundance.

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Economy

World Bank Calls on Nigeria to Impose Special Taxes on Alcohol and Tobacco

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The World Bank Group has made a call to the Federal Government of Nigeria, urging the government to impose special taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and beverages that are highly sweetened in order to improve primary healthcare conditions in the country.

Shubham Chaudhuri, who is the Country Director for Nigeria in the World Bank Group, said that an improvement in healthcare in Nigeria will come by taxing the things that are “killing us.” He said that the economic rationale for the action is quite strong if lives are to be saved and a healthier Nigeria achieved.

Chaudhuri made the call on Friday, at a special National Council on Health meeting which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja. Chaudhuri stated that placing special taxes on tobacco, sweetened beverages and alcohol would reduce the health risks which come with their consumption and expand the fiscal space for universal health coverage after COVID 19.

The country director also said that investing in stronger health systems for all would make significant contributions to the fight against inequality and the rising poverty situation in the country. He went on to add that increasing health tax would provide an extra advantage of reducing healthcare cost in the future, by hindering the growth of the diseases which are caused by tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The representative of the WHO in Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo said that he could confirm the large health needs of Nigerians, as well as the efforts being made to meet those needs. He said this was based on the fact that he had been to over half of Nigeria’s states in less than two years of being in the country.

Mulombo then noted that although the coronavirus exposed weaknesses in the global economy (not excluding health), it could be considered as a unique opportunity for a thorough examination of existing resources and mechanisms to prepare for a more resilient future.

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Economy

Nigeria’s VAT Revenue Falls to N500 Billion in Q3 2021, Manufacturing Sector in the Lead

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Value added tax - Investors King

In the third quarter of 2021, Nigeria generated a total sum of N500.49 billion as value-added tax which represents a 2.3% decline when compared to the N512.25 billion recorded in the second quarter of the year.

This is as seen in the VAT report which was recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The report revealed that the manufacturing sector was in the lead as it remitted a total of N91.2 billion, representing about 30% of the total local non-import value added taxes in that period.

In spite of the quarter-on-quarter decline of VAT collections in the reviewed period, it grew by a further 17.8% when compared to N424.7 billion generated in the same period of the previous year. The report also shows that an amount of N1.5 trillion has been generated from value added taxes from January 2021 to September 2021.

That is 40.2% higher than the N1.08 trillion recorded in the same period of 2020, and 72.3% higher than what was recorded in the same period of 2019.

To break it down, the Value Added Tax collected in the first, second and third quarter of 2021 was recorded at N496.39 billion, N512.25 billion and N500.49 billion respectively. It is higher than the corresponding figures of 2020, which sat at N324.58 billion, N327.20 billion and N424.71 billion for the first, second and third quarters respectively.

In the third quarter of 2021, the Manufacturing activity accounted for the largest share of total revenue collected across sectors, with a huge 30.87% (N91.2 billion) coming from that sector. The Information & Communication sector came in second with 20.05% (N53.9 billion) contributed, while the Mining & Quarrying sector came in third with 9.62% (N28.4 billion).

Nigeria has continued to ramp up its efforts to increase revenue from non-oil sectors by increasing its tax collection rates, which has recorded largely significant growth since the federal government increased the VAT rate from 5% to 7.5% in the 2019 Finance Act, which was signed and made effective in 2020.

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