- FEC Approves New Import Tariffs on Goods from African Countries
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday in Abuja approved 0.2 per cent import rate on cost, insurance and freight on goods coming into Nigeria from African countries.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the levy was meant to enhance sustainable financing of membership subscription in the African Union (AU).
According to her, certain imports are exempted from the new levy, which she listed to include goods coming into Nigeria outside the coverage of AU; goods coming into the country for aids and goods coming from non-member countries.
Ahmed also said bearing in mind that accruals from this levy will exceed Nigeria’s subscription in the AU, the remaining profit will be deposited in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and subsequently deployed to finance Nigeria’s subscription to other international organisations such as the World Bank and African Development Bank.
She said: “The Federal Executive Council meeting approved a new import levy for sustainable financing of Nigeria’s membership subscription in the African Union. It approved a rate of 0.2 percent as a new import levy on cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) that will be charged on imports coming into Nigeria but with some exceptions.
“The exceptions include goods originating from outside the territory of member countries that are coming into the country for consumptions. It also includes goods that are coming in for aid and goods that are originating from non-member countries but are imported through specific financing agreements that ask for such kinds of exemptions.
“It also exempts goods that have been ordered and are under importation process before the scheme was announced into effect. The purpose of this new levy is to enable the African Union member countries pay on a sustainable basis their subscriptions to African Union.
“The council also approved that for Nigeria, knowing that what will accrue from this new levy will be more than what is required as subscriptions to the African Union, the balance that will be left will be put in a special account in the Central Bank of Nigeria and will be used to finance her subscriptions to multilateral organisations as the World Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and institutions like that. And if there is any excess left from that in the revenue pool, it will be used to financed the budget.”
The minister also said the council approved the constitution of a steering committee to be chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to handle the design and implementation of a national single window, which she said would be a web portal for the integration “of all government agencies that are operators, that are implementers in the port business or trading in the port system.”
According to her, “the trading platform will enable better efficiency of port operations and we project that it will significantly increase government revenues.”
She also said the council approved the extension of CBN intervention for continued support to the power sector, particularly the generation arm of the sector.
“This is based on a commitment that we signed into as a country, where we have several guarantees to the generation companies (Gencos) to bridge any gap that they have after the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) has settled them,” she explained.
FEC also approved nine memoranda of understanding from the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, for the provision of various infrastructure in the FCT.
According to the minister, the infrastructure include: the rehabilitation of failed walkways within the Wuse District at the cost of N1.9 billion with a completion period of 12 months; the preparation of electricity master plan for Phase IV of Abuja at the cost of N189 million with a completion of ten months and the design of infrastructure for institution and research district in phase III of Abuja at the cost of N197 million, among others.
Lagos Lowers Land Use Charges, Waives N5.75bn in Penal Fees
Lagos Reduces Land Use Charges to Pre-2018 Fees
In a bid to ease economic burden and support growth across Lagos State, the commercial hub of Nigeria, the state government has reduced land use charges and other penal fees.
Dr. Rabiu Olowo, the Commissioner for Finance, disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement titled ‘Speech delivered by the honourable commissioner for finance at a press briefing on the 2020 new land use charge law.’
Lagos State Government said land use charges and other fees are revised down to pre-2018, adding that the state will henceforth uphold the 2018 method of valuation.
Accordingly, the state waived the penal fees for 2017, 2018 and 2019. Translating to N5.75 billion in potential revenue.
“In addition to this, there is also a 48 per cent reduction in the annual charge rates,” Olowo stated.
He further stated that owner-occupied residential property was lowered from 0.076 per cent to 0.0394 per cent; industrial premises of manufacturing concerns, from 0.256 per cent to 0.132 per cent; and residential property/private school (owner and third party, from 0.256 per cent to 0.132 per cent.
Olowo added that commercial property — used by the occupier for business purposes — was reduced from 0.76 per cent to 0.394 per cent; and vacant properties and open empty land, from 0.076 per cent to 0.0394 per cent.
While the annual charge rate for agricultural land was revised down by 87 per cent from 0.076 per cent to 0.01 per cent.
FG Spends N2.37 Trillion on Petrol Importation in 13 Months, Says NNPC
NNPC Sells 950.67m Litres of Petrol In May
The Federal Government imported petrol valued at N2.37 trillion into the country in thirteen months, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
On Wednesday, the corporation said revenue from the sales of white products stood at N2.39 trillion between May 2019 and May 2020.
It, therefore, stated that petrol contributed about 98.84 percent or N2.37 trillion of the total sales generated during the period.
In May, the corporation said it realised N92.58 billion from the sale of petrol. NNPC said the product was sold through its subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC).
According to the May 2020 version of the corporation’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report quoted by Kennie Obateru, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, NNPC, 950.67 million litres of white products (only petrol) was sold by PPMC in the month.
This, he said “comprised 950.67 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, only, with no Automotive Gas Oil or Dual Purpose Kerosene.”
“There was also no sale of special product in the month.”
Nigeria continues to depend on importation for its petrol supplies due to local dilapidated refineries that have failed to operate at optimal level despite billions of dollars budgeted for maintenance yearly.
Experts have said petrol importation is one of the main reasons the nation’s foreign reserves continues to struggle, especially at a period when oil prices are trading at a record low with broadly low demand for the commodity.
Nigeria’s foreign reserves is presently hovering around $36 billion, down from its record high of $45 billion attained in June 2019. The decline has also impacted the ability of the Central Bank of Nigeria to support the Nigerian Naira.
The Naira has been devalued by 15 per cent in the last four months and was recently adjusted from N361 a US dollar to N381 per US dollar on the Investors and Exporters forex window to ease the pressure on the reserves.
Amaechi Urges National Assembly to be Careful Probing Chinese Loans
Amaechi Says China is Becoming a Bit Apprehensive About Giving Money to Nigeria
The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, on Tuesday said he specifically urged the National Assembly to be careful about the ongoing probe of Chinese loan agreements.
The minister who appeared in a live television programme with the Minister of Justice/Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said China is becoming a bit apprehensive about releasing additional loans to the country.
He said, “You know, I specifically urged the National Assembly to please be careful about this probe on the loan agreements. It is because we are trying to make an application for the Port Harcourt Maiduguri rail.
“If nothing else is happening, you know that our brothers are already saying that we don’t want to do any rail project in the South-East.”
He added, “Now that we are planning to say that they should give us some loan for us to construct Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, and we are about to go to cabinet for approval, you are now shouting these terms are bad, Chinese people are wicked.
“How will they give you the money? I have documents to the effect that we are getting signals that they are becoming a bit apprehensive on whether we are doing this because we don’t want to pay them back.”
Amaechi said the nation must learn to pay back procured loans, saying the $500 million loan obtained for the Abuja-Kaduna railway was presently being serviced.
He said, “Nobody has signed out anything. A sovereign nation is a sovereign nation; nobody can recolonise us. We must learn to pay our debts and we are paying, and once you are paying, nobody will come and take any of your assets.”
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