Firm Slams N4.9b Suit on Bank of Industry
By Dipo Olowookere
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has been accused by Reagan Cement Limited of breaching terms of the loan agreement both parties signed.
The company said this alleged action of the nation’s premier development financing institution has caused it massive economic setbacks.
As a result, the firm is begging the Federal High Court in Lagos to order the BoI to pay the sum of N4.88 billion as compensation.
Reagan Cement claimed the bank called back the long term loan of N2.88 billion it earlier awarded for the building of a Cement Chinke Grinding Mill in Calabar, Cross River State.
The statement of claim filed on behalf of the plaintiff by prominent human rights lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), averred that by so doing, BOI breached the terms of the loan agreement.
The loan was awarded by BOI in November 2012 and was meant to run for 7 years. The bank guarantee was provided by Unity Bank, the company’s main banker.
However, BOI unilaterally called back the loan two years later, in 2014.
According to Mr Reagan Ufonba, the chief executive officer of Reagan Cement, the industrial lending bank provided no cogent explanation for that action.
In his written statement on oath, Mr Ufonba alleged that his company had fulfilled all the conditions for the disbursement of the loan, including the upfront payment of one year capitalized interest, one percent letter of credit commission, one percent legal fees, one percent processing fees and another one percent in commitment fees.
He claimed that by the time the loan was withdrawn his company already had an agreement with Shangai Minggong Heavy Equipment Company Limited of China HAXMI for the latter to build and manufacture the equipment and machines for the grinding mill. Some of the components had already landed at the site of the cement grinding mill while the rest were awaiting shipment.
But after BOI called back the loan the entire project has come to a standstill due to unavailability of funds to pay the Chinese company, and other contractors, for services rendered.
The plaintiff is therefore seeking an order of court mandating the Bank of Industry to pay the contractors for the building and manufacture of equipment and machinery for the grinding mill, and to pay the balance from the initial loan of N2.88 billion to Reagan Cement’s account domiciled with
It also wants the court to award damages to the tune of N2 billion against BOI for the bank charges, loss of business, loss of reputations and loss of profit occasioned by its abrupt withdrawal of the original loan.
Subsidy Removal: CNG at N130 Per Litre Cheaper Than Petrol—IPMAN
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has advised Nigerians to begin to look into the direction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an alternative energy source to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.
The National President of IPMAN, Mr Chinedu Okorokwo, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, as the federal government continues its dialogue with the organised labour over the hike in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol.
On May 29, 2023, during his inaugural speech, President Bola Tinubu said the payment of subsidy for fuel had ended because there was no provision for it in the 2023 budget beyond June 30.
His announcement triggered the hoarding of fuel by marketers, and when the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited increased the price of the product across its retail outlets, prices of food, transportation and services went up, forcing the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to threaten a nationwide strike, which was supposed to start today but was stopped by the National Industrial Court.
At a meeting on Monday night between the government and the labour unions, it was agreed that the adoption of CNG as an alternative fuel would be the best option, and it was agreed that the CNG conversion programme earlier planned in 2021 should be revived.
CNG, which is a gas mainly composed of methane and produces less emission, is the cleanest burning fuel operating today with less vehicle maintenance and longer engine life.
In the interview with NAN, Mr Okoronkwo said bringing CNG, which was cheaper than even firewood, as an alternative energy, would create relief for the government and its citizens.
“We have also discovered that bringing an alternative that is cheaper than even firewood which is CNG, will not only create relief for the government and its citizens but it is environmentally friendly.
“The CNG is abundantly available in Nigeria than anywhere in Africa.
“In the Niger Delta region, you see billions of tonnes of gas flare being wasted daily, these are huge amounts that should be accruing to our GDP, but we are wasting it because there is no market for it.
“So, we are asking the government to create the market. How do you create the market?
“What Egypt and India did was to give soft loans to be paid back within stipulated periods; from there, you can get vehicles to use gas instead of fuel,” he said.
“There’s a franchise for the bottling of CNG so that an average woman in the kitchen can use it,’’ he added, noting that the introduction of CNG would cushion the effect occasioned by the high price of fuel currently as a litre of CNG would not cost more than N130.
He advised that repairing the local refineries as well would reduce the impact of the removal as it would eliminate the cost of importation and exportation.
Nigeria Upgrades Tax-to-GDP Ratio to 10.86% From 6%
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed that Nigeria’s tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has been upwardly reviewed to 10.86 per cent from the 6 per cent earlier reported to reflect better data sources and improved estimation using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) manual.
The OECD manual is an improvement over the System of National Accounts (SNA 2008) classification of taxes.
Although the System of National Accounts conceptual framework and its definitions of the various sectors of the economy are reflected in the OECD’s classification of taxes, the OECD classifications provide the maximum disaggregation of statistical data on what is generally regarded as taxes by tax administrations.
In a disclosure, the statistics office said the country’s total tax revenue compared with its GDP was at that level in 2021, higher than 8.40 per cent in 2020, which was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the previous year, the ratio was 10.20 per cent, marginally lower than the 10.36 per cent recorded in 2018 but higher than the 9.02 per cent in 2017.
The NBS said the revised computation considered more comprehensive coverage of data at the federal, state, and local government levels and revenue items not previously included in the computations, particularly relevant revenue collected by other government agencies.
The review of the tax-to-GDP ratio was initiated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the NBS for better measurement of the ratio.
The data used were sourced from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), FIRS, NBS, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Joint Tax Board (JTB), and other relevant agencies of government that collect revenue.
VFD Group Intends to Join Nigerian Exchange
By Adedapo Adesanya
VFD Group Plc has announced its intention to list its shares on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) to allow it to gain access to public equity markets, increase its visibility, and strengthen its financial position.
VFD Group Plc is a leading proprietary investment company with a proven track record of generating attractive returns for its investors through a variety of investment strategies.
The company has a diverse portfolio of investments in various sectors, including banking, technology, media, energy, and real estate. The group has been listed on the NASD OTC Securities Exchange since 2020.
Speaking on this big step, Mr Nonso Okpala, Group Managing Director of VFD Group, stated, “We are excited to take this next step in the evolution of our company.”
“Listing on a major stock exchange will give us access to a larger pool of investors, enhance our profile, and provide superior returns to our investors,” he added.
However, its listing on the NGX is subject to regulatory approvals and market conditions.
VFD Group noted that it would provide additional updates as the listing process progresses.
At the close of business on Tuesday, the securities of the organisation closed on the NASD OTC exchange at N244.88 per unit, the same rate they finished in the preceding trading session.
Business Post reports that the NASD was created to provide an avenue for public companies to transition smoothly into the country’s main stock exchange.
However, it has witnessed the movement of firms from the NGX to the NASD, especially due to the very strict regulatory requirements of the former.
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