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Economy

BDC Operators Kick Against Freezing of Accounts by Banks Over Tax

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BDC Operators

By Dipo Olowookere

The Nation is reporting that banks are shutting down Bureau De Change (BDC) accounts over the demand that the operators pay taxes on their transactions turnover.

However, the umbrella body of the forex dealers, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), has described this move as unlawful.

It was reported that the financial institutions are writing to BDCs and implementing a ‘Post No Debit’ order on the operators’ accounts even where there is no evidence of tax default.

President of ABCON, Mr Aminu Gwadabe, claimed the banks were acting on the directive of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) by demanding that BDCs pay taxes on bidding funds used for dollar collections. The funds are sent through the commercial banks to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) weekly.

Recall that recently, Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Babatunde Fowler, said government would freeze accounts of tax defaulters.

“The BDCs are a high turnover sector and their funding cash for Dollar collections cannot be subjected to taxes.

“An average BDC does over N30 million weekly turnover and paying taxes on such funds will affect their cash flow and ability to meet their statutory role of foreign exchange supply to the retail-end of the market,” Mr Gwadabe said.

He said many of the affected BDC operators are facing funding challenges that need to be addressed immediately by concerned stakeholders.

“In fact, we will be writing to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to complain about the illegal policy of the ‘Post No Debit’.

“Presently, most of our members funds with the deposit money banks for their bidding obligations are being trapped in the banks.

“This scenario, if not checked, will affect our members funding capacity, derail the sustainability of their businesses with the resultant liquidity spikes,” he said further.

A letter from one of the commercial banks sited by The Nation said, “The bank has pursuant to section 49 of the Companies Income Tax Act LFN 2004 and Section 28, 29 and 31 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act No. 13 of 2007 been appointed by the Executive Chairman of the FIRS as collection Agent over your accounts.”

“Please be informed that consequent on this directive, we are compelled by law to place ‘Post No Debit’ on your account pending the receipt of further instructions from the Executive Chairman of FIRS. This is for your information and necessary action as you are best advised to contact the FIRS officials,” the letter added.

According to Mr Gwadabe, the new trend in collecting taxes from BDCs is unacceptable and must be stopped. He said that ABCON will be writing CBN to call the banks and other parties implementing the directive to order.

“The banks did not ask the BDCs to bring evidence of tax payment before they act. Value Added Tax- VAT- Exempt for BDCs is applicable in other climes and should also be practiced in Nigeria.

“The non-implementation of tax exempt in Nigeria is affecting the capacity of BDCs to effectively meet the foreign exchange demands at the retail-end of the market,” he said.

He said ABCON will continue to implement zero tolerance for non-compliance with regulatory requirement and unethical conduct amongst its members but will not sit idly and watch the businesses built by its members destroyed by illegal policy like the ‘Post No Debit’ order.

The ABCON, he added, has also created the office of Compliance Officer at its National Secretariat and in all its Zonal Offices to discipline operators that fail to comply with set regulations.

Mr Gwadabe said the BDC sector is critical for continued stability in the foreign exchange market adding that the working of many developed economies is highly dependent on the activities of BDCs and Nigeria should not be an exception.

He said the BDCs have so far stamped their role as key players in the foreign exchange market, where they remain major economic drivers creating employment and wealth for Nigerians. These contributions, he added, require that the operations of BDCs be supported to sustain ongoing market rally and stability.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

Economy

Access Holdings Merges Sigma, FGPL for Formidable PFA Business

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Sigma Pensions

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

To create a formidable pension funds administration (PFA) business in Nigeria, Access Holdings Plc has merged its subsidiary, First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL), with Sigma Pensions Limited.

The marriage between the two PFAs was made possible after Access Holdings acquired an indirect equity stake in Sigma.

Recall that in October, the company announced that it was buying a stake in Sigma to revolutionise the PFA sector.

On Thursday, a court approved the merger between the firm and FGPL, giving room for the organisations to become one and offer innovative products to customers.

A notice signed by the group company secretary of Access Holdings, Mr Sunday Ekwochi, confirmed the development.

“Sequel to our announcement on October 25, 2022, Access Holdings Plc, trading as Access Corporation, today announces the completion of its acquisition of an indirect equity stake in Sigma and the merger of its subsidiary, FGPL, with Sigma.

“Following the sanction of the scheme of merger between Sigma and FGPL by the Federal High Court on December 1, 2022, FGPL has been dissolved without winding up, leaving Sigma as the surviving entity,” a part of the statement dated Friday, December 2, 2022.

“Following the successful completion of the merger, our plan is to leverage the synergies of these entities, as well as the corporation’s expansive distribution network, strong risk management culture and best-in-class governance standards to create a formidable pension funds administration business,” the group chief executive of Access Holdings, Mr Herbert Wigwe, stated.

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Economy

FrieslandCampina Buoys Unlisted Securities Market by 1.11%

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FrieslandCampina

By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the positive zone on Friday, December 2, as it appreciated by 1.11 per cent at the close of business.

This was driven by a gain in the stock price of FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc. The company appreciated by N5.29 price to close at N66.63 per share versus the previous day’s price of N61.34 per share.

This outweighed the 1 Kobo loss recorded by UBN Property Plc during the session as the price of the property investment company went down to 91 Kobo per unit from the preceding session’s 92 Kobo.

When the market closed for the day, the total value of the unlisted securities market increased by N10.27 billion to N933.71 billion from N923.44 billion.

In the same vein, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) stretched by 7.82 basis points to 710.58 basis points from the 702.76 basis points in the previous session.

During the session, there was a surge in the volume of securities by 140,993.7 per cent as investors exchanged 2.2 million units, in contrast to the previous day’s 14,508 units.

Likewise, the value of shares traded at the session ballooned by 1,526.6 per cent to N10.7 million from the N657,534.75 recorded a day earlier, while the number of deals improved by 400 per cent to 20 deals from four deals.

When the market closed for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc occupied second place with 687.8 million units worth N14.3 billion, while Lighthouse Financials Services Plc was in third place with 224.7 million units valued at N112.3 million.

Also, CSCS Plc ended the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) by trading 687.8 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 29.1 billion units valued at N7.7 billion, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc was in third place after selling 16.8 million units worth N1.9 billion.

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Economy

Naira Sells N730/$1 in Black Market, N748/$1 at P2P, N445.33/$1 at I&E

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redesign Naira Notes

By Adedapo Adesanya

Normalcy seems to have returned to the currency market in Nigeria as the Naira further appreciated against the United States Dollar at the various segments of the ecosystem.

In the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (forex) market, the Nigerian currency gained 50 Kobo or 0.11 per cent to quote at N445.33/$1, in contrast to Thursday’s rate of N445.83/$1.

It was observed that domestic currency withstood significant FX demand pressure during the trading session as forex traders completed transactions worth $159.02 million compared with the $99.50 million executed a day earlier, indicating a 59.1 per cent or $59.52 million increase in FX turnover.

Also, in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window, the local currency appreciated against the greenback by N14 or 1.8 per cent to trade at N748/$1 compared with the preceding day’s N762/$1.

In the same vein, the value of the Nigerian currency to its American counterpart improved by N10 yesterday to sell for N735/$1 against N745/$1 of the preceding trading session.

However, in the interbank segment, the Naira lost N3.19 against the Euro on Friday as it closed at N464.98/€1 versus Thursday’s exchange rate of N461.79/€1, and against the Pound Sterling, it depreciated by N7.66 to quote at N542.33/£1 compared with the previous day’s N534.67/£1.

Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market rebounded yesterday as investors showed renewed interest in digital assets, causing the value of Dogecoin (DOGE) to rise by 2.6 per cent to $0.1016.

Further, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 1.8 per cent increase to sell at $0.3189, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 1.3 per cent to close at $1,289.56, and Solana (SOL) appreciated by 1.4 per cent to trade at $13.65.

In addition, Binance Coin (BNB) grew by 1.1 per cent to settle at $291.72, Litecoin (LTC) appreciated by 1.0 per cent to trade at $77.23, Ripple (XRP) made a 0.9 per cent rise to finish at $0.3924, and Bitcoin (BTC) rose by 0.5 per cent to $17,030.33.

However, the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) closed flat at $1.00 on Friday.

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