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Economy

Lagos Registers 400 Money Lenders, 10,000 Churches, Mosques

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400 money lenders

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

In two years about 400 money lenders were registered by the Lagos State government, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mr Anofiu Elegushi, has disclosed.

The Commissioner stated that this was done to coordinate activities of players in the money lending sector, saying it is also to protect residents of the metropolis.

“The ministry registers, profiles and monitors the viability of such companies in ensuring that while the money lenders are in business, the general public is also protected from scammers and people of questionable character, while also regulating activities of the companies,” he said.

He also said the collaboration with stakeholders in the sector has greatly assisted small scale business owners in Lagos to keep their petty businesses afloat without having to contend with high-interest rates of the big banks, adding that this activity has contributed to the micro-economic growth of businesses in the state.

Mr Elugushi, who was addressing newsmen at the Y2021 ministerial press briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja over the weekend, said the ministry is presently in the process of imputing data of every worship centre located in the state on a centralised database to allow the state government have reliable data of churches, mosques and their locations with a view to carrying them along in state government policies.

He expressed hopes that the policy, because of the inherent effective resource allocation and efficient management, will bring about extended benefits to many more churches and mosques in the state, saying that at present, the website designed for the enumeration has over 10,000 details of both Muslim and Christian religious organisations across the state.

The Commissioner also reported on the state of religious harmony and peaceful coexistence of people belonging to the two major religions in the state.

“We pride ourselves in saying that what divides and creates security breach in other parts of the country are what unites us in Lagos, bearing in mind that the state has become a home to people from across Nigeria and beyond.

“I am happy to report to you gentlemen of the press that in the last two years, the State has enjoyed tremendous religious harmony and peaceful co-existence, through one of the critical functions of our Ministry which is facilitating, maintaining and enhancing harmonious relations among faith-based groups and organisations in the state,” he said.

Mr Elegushi added that the feat was achieved through regular, vigorous and consistent engagements and discussions with religious leaders in the state under the umbrella of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).

While giving the accounts of stewardship of both Muslim and Christian pilgrims welfare boards, the Commissioner disclosed that the ministry went the extra length to partner with the Ministry of Health in ensuring a seamless vaccination exercise for all intending pilgrims.

“As part of measures to ensure a successful pilgrimage exercise, intending pilgrims were screened both administratively and medically.

“Over 2,500 intending pilgrims were vaccinated with the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine between Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28, 2021, by the Christian and Muslim pilgrims welfare boards in collaboration with the state Ministry of Health. This was in fulfilment of the requirements for gaining entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the performance hajj and Jerusalem pilgrimages,” he stated.

On the readiness for the Y2021 pilgrimage exercise by intending Christian pilgrims, Mr Elegushi informed that the permanent secretary in the Ministry led a six-man delegation to Jordan, ahead of the proposed May 2021 pilgrimage, to ascertain the preparedness of pilgrimage handlers and to also have a better and clearer view of historical sites in Jordan.

Also, the Commissioner said the ministry received 74 applications for naturalisation on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Home Affairs in two years. He said of these, 35 have been screened and recommended to the Federal Ministry of Interior for approval.

He explained that the Ministry is also in talks with foreign business owners, who intend to acquire Nigeria citizenship via naturalisation and/or special immigrant status, saying that with the ongoing engagement, Nigeria, especially Lagos State, stands to benefit foreign direct investment while the immigrant business owners also benefit by growing their businesses in one of the biggest markets in the world.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Economy

FG Raises N130bn from Sukuk Sales for Road Infrastructure

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Sukuk road infrastructure

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A total of N130 billion has been raised from the sale of Sukuk for the construction and rehabilitation of road infrastructure across the country.

Business Post reports that on November 21, 2022, the Debt Management Office (DMO) opened for subscription N100 billion Sovereign Al ’Ijarah Sukuk.

However, because of the strong appetite shown by the diverse investors, the size of the offer was increased to N130 billion.

According to a statement issued by the DMO, the exercise recorded over 165 per cent subscription level.

The agency described this as “evidence of investors’ confidence in the use and impact of Sukuk in the construction and rehabilitation of road infrastructure across the country.”

It stated that offers were received for the debt instrument, sold at a rental rate of 15.64 per cent per annum, from retail investors, banks, pension fund administrators, assets/fund managers, insurances companies, ethical funds, Takaful operators/non-interest banks, stockbrokers, government agencies, high net worth individuals, trustees and unit trusts.

The DMO assured subscribers of the Sukuk that “the proceeds of the 2022 Sovereign Sukuk, like the previous Sukuk issue proceeds, will be used solely for the construction and rehabilitation of key road projects through the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Federal Capital Territory Administration.”

It thanked the investors for supporting the federal government’s infrastructure development efforts through Sukuk financing.

“The strong participation of retail investors, ethical funds and non-interest financial institutions in this Sukuk offering attest to the fact that the Government’s objective of promoting financial inclusion through admitting more retail investors and ethical funds into the financial system is being achieved,” it stated.

The debt office promised to “work to sustain the laudable achievements recorded so far in the use of Sukuk issue proceeds for the construction and rehabilitation of Nigerian roads, and thereby, continue to enhance ease of commuting and doing business, safety on our roads, job creation, economic growth, and prosperity of our nation.”

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Economy

Nigeria Sells Retail Bonds for 13.26% at N1,000 Per Unit

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FGN Retail Bonds

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.

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Economy

New Cash Withdrawal Limits Will Expose Tax Evaders—Oyedele

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expose tax evaders

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.

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