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China’s Economic Rebound: Retail Sales and Industrial Output Surge in October

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China’s economic landscape shows signs of resilience as retail sales and industrial output grew in the month of October.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported a 7.6% YoY increase in retail sales, surpassing expectations.

This boost is attributed, in part, to the Golden Week holiday period, during which increased travel and shopping activities occurred.

Also, industrial production rose by 4.6%, slightly exceeding projections, signaling a positive trend in the manufacturing sector.

These figures provide a sense of momentum for China’s economy as it navigates challenges, especially in the real estate sector.

While retail sales and industrial output reflect encouraging growth, the property market continues to face challenges.

Property development investment contracted, impacting fixed-asset investment growth negatively.

The contraction has been persistent throughout the first ten months of the year.

Experts emphasize the importance of considering underlying factors, with some cautioning that consumer sentiment may still be uncertain.

Retail sales, while showing growth, maintained a similar pace to September on a month-on-month basis.

Analysts point out that domestic demand could be influenced by factors such as weakened consumer sentiment and the negative wealth effect from the property market.

The government’s ongoing efforts to support the economy include stimulus measures, such as a mid-year budget revision and the approval of sovereign bonds for infrastructure investment.

Despite positive indicators, policymakers acknowledge the need for sustained support to address challenges in housing demand and overall sentiment.

Economists anticipate continued policy support in the coming year, with fiscal policy expected to become more expansionary.

Attention is turning to the real momentum and longer-term perspectives, considering persistent challenges like the property crisis, an aging population, and low business growth.

The data confirms China’s mild economic rebound, positioning it to potentially exceed the official growth target of around 5% for 2023.

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Federal Government to Earn Over $500 Million in INTELS Deal

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has unveiled an agreement with INTELS Nigeria Limited that is set to bring substantial financial gains to the federal government.

The comprehensive deal, negotiated over weeks, not only resolves a contentious pilotage contract but also promises to bolster Nigeria’s coffers by over $500 million.

The accord encompasses a multifaceted approach to financial benefits, including an interest waiver of $193,317,556 and a significant reduction in the interest rate on outstanding debt.

The debt, originally at a six-month London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR) + 6.5%, has been revised to a more favorable six months Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) + 3%.

Such financial restructuring is anticipated to save the government a staggering $326.8 million over the next 15 years.

NPA, in a detailed breakdown, elucidated that the agreement further involves spreading the debt repayment over 15 years, with the initial two years being interest-free.

Additionally, there is a commendable reduction in the commission percentage, dropping from 28% to 24.5%, a move that aligns with the government’s commitment to optimizing financial resources.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, received accolades for his tireless efforts in steering the negotiations to a successful conclusion. NPA expressed gratitude for his commitment to putting Nigeria first, emphasizing the critical role played by the minister in resolving the long-standing INTELS dispute.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, however, denied benefiting from the reinstatement of INTELS contracts.

He clarified that his divestment from the company remains unchanged, emphasizing that he cannot be a beneficiary of the restored pilotage monitoring business.

NPA’s move to ensure a resolution with INTELS is not only seen as a financial triumph but also as a strategic step towards fostering economic stability.

The agreement is poised to have a positive ripple effect on revenue generation and underscores the government’s commitment to diplomatic and economically viable solutions.

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Nigeria’s Refinery Output Plummets by 92% in a Decade

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Nigeria’s local refineries recorded a 92% decline in output over the past decade, according to the Statistical Review of the World Energy 2023 report.

The data unveils a drastic drop in refining capacity, plummeting from 92,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2012 to a mere 6,000 bpd in 2022.

This disconcerting revelation is echoed in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) Annual Statistical Bulletin 2023, which underscores an 81% reduction in Nigeria’s crude oil refining capacity, falling from 33,000 bpd in 2018 to 6,000 bpd in 2022.

Despite owning four government-owned refineries, located in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna, with a collective capacity of around 4.45 million bpd, Nigeria continues to heavily rely on importing refined petroleum products.

This dependency raises questions about the nation’s resilience and self-sufficiency in the energy sector.

Minister of State for Petroleum, Heineken Lokpobiri, had previously announced plans for the Port Harcourt refinery to commence operations by the end of the current year, with the Warri and Kaduna refineries expected to follow suit in early 2024.

This revelation comes amid rising concerns over Nigeria’s continued reliance on importing refined petroleum products, even with substantial investments in refinery infrastructure.

The decline in local refining exacerbates the challenge, leading to soaring petrol prices and a strain on the nation’s economic landscape.

Industry experts stress the urgency of revitalizing local refineries, emphasizing that dependence on imports is neither sustainable nor conducive to the country’s economic well-being.

As Nigeria grapples with the complexities of its energy dynamics, the impending revival of local refineries stands out as a crucial solution to navigate these challenging times.

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FIRS Grants Taxpayers Reprieve: Offers Waiver on Penalties and Interests for Overdue Taxes

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Company Income Tax (CIT) - Investors King

In a move to alleviate the challenges faced by taxpayers in meeting their obligations, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced a significant concession.

The Chairman, Zacch Adedeji, revealed that the agency would be granting a full waiver on penalties and interests for overdue taxes, emphasizing its commitment to supporting businesses amid economic challenges.

“In recognition of the challenges that many taxpayers have faced in settling their outstanding tax liabilities,” said Adedeji, “the Federal Inland Revenue Service has approved the following tax concessions for taxpayers with outstanding tax liabilities.”

This rare concession, in accordance with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, LFN 2004, as amended, entails a complete waiver of penalties and interests on outstanding tax liabilities.

Taxpayers are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity, provided they fulfill the condition of settling the full outstanding principal before December 31, 2023.

Adedeji further cautioned that after the concession window closes, the full penalty and interest would be reinstated if the outstanding undisputed liability remains unpaid, reinforcing the urgency for taxpayers to act within the stipulated timeframe.

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