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FIRS to Embark on Nationwide VAT and WHT Compliance From July

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced plans to embark on a nationwide Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT) compliance from July 2022.

The operation follows the Service’s earlier announcement that it would begin enforcing and recovering unpaid tax deductions owing to the Federation by some States and Local Governments.

This was due to the failure of defaulting States and Local Governments to remit, thus FIRS advised the Federal Government and the Minister of Finance to deny any request for the issuance of state bonds or other securities in the capital market, as well as requests for external borrowing and approval of domestic loans from commercial banks or other financial institutions by any of the State or Local Government.

According to Mr. Johannes Wojuola, the Special Assistant to the Chairman, FIRS on Media and Communication, teams of FIRS officers would visit selected taxpayers and taxable persons to assess their VAT and WHT records.

“The exercise will cover 2016 to 2020 accounting years for taxable persons whose records have been audited by the service up to 2015 accounting year.

“For taxpayers whose records have not been audited by the service up to 2015, the exercise will be extended to include the prior years that have not been tax audited.

“We, therefore, call on all taxable persons and tax agents to immediately remit deductions of VAT and Withholding Tax they have made,“ he said.

The information contained in a public notice announcing the compliance monitoring exercise, and signed by the FIRS Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami further stated that those who would be visited during the monitoring exercise will be notified and informed of the required documents for review beforehand.

Despite the challenges faced by the agency, Investors King gathered that FIRS recorded a revenue elevation up to N6.4 Trillion in the 2021 Financial Year (FY).

This according to Investors King was due to the introduction of TaxPro Max, a new automated tax system, the FIRS used to streamline tax payments and modernize the country’s tax structure. The figures exceeded its goal by more than a hundred percent.

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Finance

CBN Offers Farmer N131 Billion Loan Guarantee

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through its Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) has guaranteed loans estimated at N13.903 billion for farmers across the country.

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Food Security - Investors King

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through its Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) has guaranteed loans estimated at N13.903 billion for farmers across the country.

The CBN disclosed this on Thursday at the national award ceremony for the 2021 Best Farmer of the Year Award organised by the ACGSF in Abuja.

According to Mr Stephen Okon, the Chairman ACGSF, “A total of 1,232,326 loans valued N130.903b were guaranteed from inception to May 2022 out of which 973,646 beneficiaries had repaid a total of N98.91b.”

In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), ACGSF guaranteed a total of 82 loans worth N22.580 million between January to May 2022. This, according to Okon, brought the total loans guaranteed in FCT from the begining of the scheme in 1978 to May 2022 to 14,258 and at a value of N1.748 billion.

In terms of loan recovery, the Chairman said FCT farmers have repaid 11,726 loans worth N801.058 million since inception, adding that the positive result showed a high level of commitment of loan offers in FCT as well as the determination of the farmers.

“We do hope that before long, participants in the agricultural value chain in the FCT will take advantage of the opportunities provided in the Amended Act,” he said.

The ACGSF was created under in April, 1978 to de-risk agricultural loans by providing guarantees to deposit money banks offering loans to the agricultural sector.

Speaking on Thursday ceremony, Michael Onyeka Ogbu the Abuja Branch Controller, said the gathering shows CBN commitment to supporting hard work, innovation, and productivity in the agricultural value chain.

“To this end, the CBN challenges Nigerian farmers to explore our various agricultural interventions aimed at enhancing value addition to their output towards attaining food self-sufficiency, provision of raw materials to our manufacturing industries and also for export, which ultimately assists in diversifying and improving the foreign exchange earnings base of our economy,” he said.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Launches Single-Digit Loan for Women-Owned Businesses, Reinforces its Role in Strengthening Gender Inclusion in Nigeria

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced the launch of the FirstGem fund (FirstGem loan); a single-digit loan scheme, exclusively designed to put women at an advantage in contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.

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FirstBank Headquarter - Investors King

In furtherance of its role in promoting female entrepreneurship across the country, Nigeria’s premier banking institution and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced the launch of the FirstGem fund (FirstGem loan); a single-digit loan scheme, exclusively designed to put women at an advantage in contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.

The FirstGem loan scheme is designed for female-owned or partnered SMEs  in the following sectors  Food/Beverage processing & Packaging, Beauty and cosmetics, Confectionaries, Catering & Restaurants, Transportation (Logistics) and Agric/Agro-Allied (retail value chain). With an interest rate of 9% per annum, FirstGem loan is a collateral-free loan that is available to the bank’s existing and prospective female customers. Based on eligibility, customers can access loans from N500,000.00 to N3,000,000.00.

To access the loan, Female owned or partnered SMEs can visit the Bank’s website – https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/personal/loans/more-financing-options/firstgem-funds/ – to download and fill out the Retail Loan Application Form. The completely filled form should be submitted to the nearest FirstBank branch with accompanying documents.

Speaking on the loan Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said, “we are delighted with the role our FirstGem product plays in creating an avenue to enlarge the business activities and endeavours of female entrepreneurs across the country. Our FirstGem value proposition offers real solutions to constraints encountered by female entrepreneurs and working professionals, as it exposes women to opportunities for the advancement of their business. We implore every female business-minded individual to take advantage of the FirstGem loan as it puts them at an advantage to contribute their quota to the national economy.”

Launched in 2016, FirstGem has been impactful in driving financial inclusion, influencing women’s empowerment through gender-advancement programmes like savings culture, financial literacy, wealth  management and building an investment portfolio. FirstGem is  designed specifically to meet the needs of the female gender, aged 18 years and above.

FirstGem  is targeted at a broad spectrum of women, working professionals, entrepreneurs or market women through an array of benefits such as free business advisory services, access to finance, specialized training on business development initiatives (virtual  and physicalevents),  regular insights on business / investment  opportunities. and mouth-watering discounts at partner merchant outlets (spas, salons, grocery stores) offering  lifestyle products and services.

Recently, FirstBank announced its partnership with CDC Group, the UK Government’s development finance organisation to economically empower women-owned and led businesses as well as local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. The facility, which is in the sum of US$100 million will have a minimum of 30% allocated in the form of credit lines to women entrepreneurs. 

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Finance

Despite Paying $300 Million Debt, Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves Increased by $250 Million

Nigeria’s foreign reserves increased by $250 million in the last seven days to $39.138 billion despite the country redeeming a $300 million diaspora bond.

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Nigeria’s foreign reserves increased by $250 million in the last seven days to $39.138 billion despite the country redeeming a $300 million diaspora bond.

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), the five-year bond was issued on June 27, 2017 to finance the deficit of the 2017 Appropriation Act.

However, on June 27, 2022 the DMO announced that the Federal Government had redeemed the bond in a show of commitment to its obligations.

An analysis of the nation’s foreign reserves revealed that despite the huge payment, Nigeria’s reserves increased from $38.925 billion on June 24, 2022 to $39.135 billion on June 29, 2022, representing an increase of $250 million.

Still, Nigeria’s rising debt profile remained a concern given the nation’s weak revenue generation and rising population. Many experts have said rising debt and the cost of servicing debt is responsible for the nation’s weak infrastructure growth and other developments.

In the first quarter of 2022 alone, Nigeria spent N896.6 billion on debt servicing, according to data from the DMO. A total sum of N668.69 billion of the amount was spent on domestic debt servicing while another $548.79 million or N227.87 billion was dumped on external debt servicing.

In the first three months of the year, Nigeria’s total debt jumped by N2.04 trillion to N41.60 trillion, up from N39.56 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2021.

In a recent interview, the Deputy President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Gabriel Idahosa, said, “Essentially, our debt service is almost equal to our revenue. At some point, it was about 96 per cent of our revenue. So, really, we are borrowing to fund the government. Almost all our revenue is going into servicing debts. That’s what the numbers are looking like right now. At the beginning of the year, the estimate was that about 80 per cent of our revenue will go into debt service.

“If you look at revenue generated and debt serviced, they are almost equal. It means that everything we generate is actually going into servicing debts. That’s the situation we find ourselves and it’s going to continue unfortunately because the fuel subsidy estimate of N4trn this year, with the continuous rise in the price of crude oil, fuel subsidy could take as much as N6trn.”

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