By Dipo Olowookere
The disbursement of $94.2 million has been approved for Ghana by the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This followed the completion of the fourth review of the arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to $565.2 million, with the remainder being tied to the remaining reviews.
The Board also approved Ghana’s request for waivers of non-observance of performance criteria, and modification of one performance criterion; and the extension of the arrangement by one year.
Ghana’s three-year arrangement for $918 million or 180 percent of quota at the time of approval of the arrangement was approved on April 3, 2015.
It aims to restore debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability in the country to foster a return to high growth and job creation, while protecting social spending.
Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the IMF Executive Board, Mr Tao Zhang, remarked that Ghana’s macroeconomic performance over the years has been mixed.
Policy slippages have compounded the adverse impact of shocks and resulted in significant external and domestic imbalances.
He said the new government has committed to macroeconomic stability, fiscal discipline, and an ambitious reform agenda. Decisive implementation of these policies and reforms would allow Ghana to reap its economic potential and achieve higher and more inclusive growth rates. These efforts will be supported by the continued implementation of the ECF program.
“The authorities have taken some encouraging steps and the economy is showing signs of recovery. As risks remain tilted to the downside, careful fiscal management will be required to achieve the 2017 program targets and reverse the unfavourable debt dynamics.
“Additional efforts are needed to address revenue shortfalls, while expenditure control measures should be fully enforced to contain current spending, and prevent the recurrence of domestic arrears.
“Ongoing fiscal consolidation and implementation of the medium-term debt management strategy will be key to further reducing domestic refinancing risks.
“Fiscal consolidation efforts will need to be anchored in wide-ranging structural fiscal reforms, so that consolidation gains can be sustained over the medium term. These include measures to broaden the tax base, and enhance tax compliance and public financial management, especially considering the large unpaid commitments accumulated in 2016.
““The authorities should tackle energy sector inefficiencies, particularly improving the management of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Ongoing debt restructuring efforts are helpful but are no substitute to stemming the SOEs’ ongoing financial losses and put them on a sustainable financial path.
“As inflation continues to decelerate, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) should remain vigilant in order to bring inflation back to target. The BoG should continue to strengthen the credibility of the inflation-targeting framework, which would benefit from efforts in the development of the foreign exchange market. The central bank should also continue its policy on zero financing of the government.
“The authorities have made significant progress in the implementation of the banking system roadmap, in particular through the approval of timebound recapitalization plans for banks found to be undercapitalized, and the resolution of two insolvent banks.
“Further steps to strengthen the supervisory and regulatory framework, reduce outstanding liquidity assistance, and buttress the microfinance sector will help build a more robust financial sector that is well positioned to support growth and promote financial inclusion.”
Ghana has shown mixed macroeconomic performance in recent years, with significant shocks being amplified by policy slippages and resulting external and domestic imbalances. Growth in 2016 was 3.5 percent, the lowest level in two decades. A recovery of growth is expected in 2017-18, owing to an increase in oil production, declining inflation, and lower imbalances with the right policy implementation.
Following a sizeable fiscal slippage in 2016, the authorities are targeting a significant fiscal consolidation in 2017, which will require sustained revenue collections and spending controls. Inflation has continued to decline and the exchange rate has been broadly stable. The external position has continued to improve, supported by strong foreign investors’ participation in the domestic debt market.
Over the medium term, both the fiscal deficit and the current account deficit are projected to decline gradually.
Nigeria Sells Retail Bonds for 13.26% at N1,000 Per Unit
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has commenced the sale of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) savings bonds for December 2022.
The retail bonds are sold monthly to low-income earners and other interested investors as a way to raise funds from the capital market to finance budget deficits.
For this month’s sale, the debt office is offering the papers in the usual 2-year tenor and 3-year tenor at a coupon rate of 12.255 per cent and 13,255 per cent per annum, respectively.
Subscriptions for the notes started on Monday, December 5, 2022, and will close on Friday, December 9, 2022, according to details of the exercise released by the DMO.
The interest would be paid to subscribers quarterly, i.e., March 14, June 14, September 14, and December 14, while the bullet repayment would be made at the maturity date.
The savings bond is sold at N1,000 per unit, and investors are required to purchase at least N5,000 and a maximum of N50 million.
Intending investors would be expected to contact their brokerage companies on how to purchase the debt instrument.
The retail bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the Nigerian government and are charged upon the general assets of the country.
The investment tool qualifies as a security in which trustees can invest under the Trustee Investment Act.
It is also a liquid asset for liquidity ratio calculation for banks and qualifies as government securities within the meaning of the Company Income Tax Act (CITA) and Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) for tax exemption for pension funds, amongst other investors.
New Cash Withdrawal Limits Will Expose Tax Evaders—Oyedele
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Fiscal Policy Partner and African Tax Leader at one of the country’s leading consultancy companies, PwC, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, has said the new cash withdrawal limits introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would expose tax evaders, individuals and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
In a series of tweets seen by Business Post, the tax maverick said that with the restrictions placed on cash withdrawals, many people would be forced to carry out transactions using electronic payments, and small businesses that currently operate mostly on cash would become visible to the tax authorities.
It had been reported the apex bank on Tuesday moved to limit the amount of cash withdrawals Nigerians can make with benchmarks placed at several channels, including over-the-counter, point of sales (POS), and automated teller machines (ATMs).
He explained that the policy would trigger various tax obligations, including income tax, value-added tax (VAT), and Pay-As-You-Earn for small businesses and individuals.
On Income tax, he wrote that “If your business is registered as a company, you may be liable to CIT depending on your annual turnover (i.e. no CIT if your turnover below N25 million, 20 per cent if your turnover is between N25 million to N100 million 30 per cent if your turnover is more than N100m) in addition to Education Tax at 2.5 per cent.
“If your business is not registered as a company, then you will be liable to personal income tax based on graduated taxable income bands between 7 per cent and 24 per cent.”
On VAT, he explained that, “All businesses are required to register for VAT and charge 7.5 per cent on their goods and services except those with annual turnover below N25 million.”
For PAYE, Mr Oyedele explained that employees earning more than N30,000 per month are liable to PAYE, which must be deducted and paid to the tax authority by the employer on a monthly basis.
To this, he noted, “You may also be liable to other statutory contributions such as pension depending on your staff strength.”
For individuals, he noted that as they carry out more transactions, this will make them susceptible to transparency as it will make it easier for the government to track those who are tax evaders.
“The more transactions you make electronically, the more the tax authorities will get the intelligence to track your income and net worth, making it easier to fish you out if you are a tax evader.”
He then advised small business owners to register with relevant tax authorities like the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and the state internal revenue services where they operate.
Further, the PwC official called on SME operators to open a separate bank account for their business, “or dedicate one for that purpose if you already have a business account) and don’t mix business with personal transactions.”
The government, on its part, he said, needs to sensitise the general public, especially small business owners, adding that the CBN should ensure a proper handshake with the fiscal authorities.
“For instance, the conditions for excess cash withdrawals could include Tax Identification Number,” he opined.
CBN to Establish Offshore Banking in Free Trade Zones to Boost Investment
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Free Trade Zone Authority (FTZA), has commenced moves to establish offshore banking in the zones in Nigeria so as to encourage investors to repatriate their returns from their businesses.
Speaking on the sideline of a three-day conference to mark the 30th anniversary of the Free Trade Zones in Nigeria, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA), Mr Adesoji Adesugba, disclosed that having offshore banking operations in the FTZs is a factor that would further boost investors’ confidence in the nation’s FTZs operations.
Mr Adesugba also said that offshore banking in FTZs is an international best practice that Nigeria must adopt to enhance investors’ operations in the FTZs.
“The CBN is in charge of processing offshore banking in the FTZs, and the FTZA and the CBN have met over the issue for almost two years, and we are still meeting. The document to establish the offshore banking operations is ready.
“We are just awaiting the approval of the CBN to commence operations in the Free Zones because Free Zones enterprises are not allowed to enjoy the facilities of the banking system in the Nigerian territory.
“So, we need an offshore banking system. There is no way you can do business without having a bank, so that is what we are asking for. It is high time we start that.
“Every other Free Zone outside Nigeria has that kind of system. It’s not new, but in Nigeria, we still don’t have it. It is an incentive for investors because that is the first thing they ask for when they come to the Free Trade Zones.
“The absence of offshore banking counts against us, so we are asking the Central Bank to please fast-track that for us to have it,” he said.
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