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CBN Raises Interest Rate to 15.5 Percent Amid Inflation Concerns

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised interest rates to 15.5 percent, the highest in the last 20 years. 

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Godwin Emefiele - Investors King

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised interest rates to 15.5 percent, the highest in the last 20 years. 

Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of CBN, announced the increase shortly after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting that was held at the CBN headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.

The CBN Governor disclosed that all 10 members of the monetary policy committee voted for the hike to contain escalating inflation rate.

Investors King had earlier reported that central banks of the three biggest economies (Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt) are expected to raise interest rates in an effort to curb rising inflation. 

Addressing journalists after the meeting, the CBN Governor stated that the committee will continue to increase interest rates to reduce the high effect of inflation. 

The CBN governor was quoted to have said ” The tested monetary policy theory is that the easiest way to tame inflationary pressure is to raise rates”. 

In August 2022, Nigeria’s inflation rose to 20.52 percent which is 17 years high. This has caused the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to increase interest rates to 14 percent.

The committee also raised the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to 32.5 percent from 27.5 percent. Cash Reserve Ratio is the specified minimum percentage of a bank’s total deposits that must be in the custody of the Central bank in form of liquid cash.

Meanwhile, the recent hike in interest has generated mixed feelings among financial analysts and economic observers. While some analysts believed the hike is the way to go considering the inflation rate which currently stands at 20. 52 percent, others argued that the hike will affect borrowers who are due for repayment. 

Analysts fear that borrowers might default in servicing their loans. Those who have taken credit facilities will have to pay more to reflect the new interest rates.

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Finance

Nigeria’s Tax Revolution: Shifting Burden to the Wealthy and Streamlining the System

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Value added tax - Investors King

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.

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Federal Government’s $3 Billion Rescue Plan to Bolster Naira Stability

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Bola Tinubu

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.

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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

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Muhammad Nami

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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