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Manufacturers Want FG, States to Urgently Resolve VAT War

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VAT war

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has appealed to the federal and state governments to urgently find a mutually acceptable way forward on the collection of taxes on sales and consumption to address anxiety and confusion in the business community.

Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director-General of MAN, made this plea via a statement issued in Lagos, noting that as leading payers of Value Added Tax (VAT) in Nigeria, having contributed N44.9 billion in the first half of 2021, the manufacturing sector was going to be the hardest hit by the looming impasse.

Mr Ajayi-Kadir said that the business community could not afford the anxiety and confusion currently generated by the VAT war between the central government and the Rivers State government, which is attracting other states to follow suit.

In August, the Rivers State government had obtained a court judgement that said the government had the constitutional right to collect VAT from companies operating in the state because it was under the concurrent list. This inspired the sub-national government to enact a law on this matter.

Other states of the federation, including Lagos, is in the progress of doing the same and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is not happy about this. In fact, it approached a Federal High Court to obtain a stay of execution but its suit was thrown out, forcing it to appeal the earlier judgement.

On Wednesday, the Rivers State government held a stakeholders’ meeting with oil companies operating in the state and the Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, warned them not to pay the VAT to the federal government. He also warned that if the FIRS continues to harass firms in the state, he would eject the agency.

For the manufacturers’ group, the sector should not be made to suffer while the two tiers of government fight over who should control consumption tax.

The MAN DG stressed that manufacturers should not be put in a situation where they would have to pay both governments the same tax, saying such a move would amount to overkill for the struggling manufacturing sector and a recovering economy.

Mr Ajayi-Kadir said that the recent controversy over the control of the VAT  between the federal and state governments in the face of the court judgements and the strong statements emanating from the two tiers of government were unhealthy for business.

“Manufacturers, like many other business operators in Nigeria, are deeply concerned about what becomes of their fate come September 20 when businesses are expected to file VAT claims and beyond.

“The contentions are worrisome and potentially inimical to the smooth operations of our businesses as on the one hand, The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is insisting on continuing to collect VAT.

“Rivers State Government is ordering the immediate and complete collection of the same tax while Lagos State is preparing the grounds to go the way of Rivers and who knows, other States may be warming up to join the fray.

“What we expect therefore is for the federal and state governments to stop the grandstanding and find a mutually acceptable way forward,” he said.

Consequent to a court ruling, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers States had directed the Rivers State Revenue Service (RSRS) to immediately commence collection of VAT from corporate bodies and businesses in the state, a move that has created friction with the FIRS.

Meanwhile, Lagos State also decided to follow this path as the VAT bill has passed the first and second time in the state House of Assembly with the document referred to the Committee on Finance, which has been asked to submit its report on Thursday (today).

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

Agusto Forecasts Nigeria’s Pension Assets to Grow to N14.8trn Amid Headwinds

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Nigeria's pension assets

By Adedapo Adesanya

Global research firm, Agusto & Co, has forecast that Nigeria’s pension assets will reach N14.8 trillion by the end of 2022.

This is as unpaid pension obligations by some employers, enrolees’ apathy toward the transfer of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), and the ability of industry operators to protect the value of pension funds in the face of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly a weakening exchange rate and soaring inflation, are at the heart of the industry’s current problems.

Agusto noted that in the last decade, the 628 per cent surge in the size of pension fund assets to N14.27 trillion is indicative of the industry’s growth and evolution following legislative support provided by the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004 and the amendment in 2014.

However, the rising rates of emigration and unemployment in the last five years have slowed down the growth rate in pension contributions. If individuals who fall within these groups, who are eligible to access a 25 per cent lump sum of their pension assets, exercise the withdrawal option, it could cause the growth of assets under management (AuM) to stagnate.

The 3 per cent decline in the industry’s annual contribution remitted to the RSAs in 2021 underlines this growing threat and National Pension Commission (PenCom) approval to use 25 per cent of the amount of a pension contributor’s Retirement Savings Account (RSA) to pay for an equity contribution for a mortgage may lead to a decline in pension AuM in the medium term.

The research firm noted that low yield in investible outlets amid a 17-year high headline inflation rate of 20.52 per cent will lead to a contraction in the real value of AuM over time and implies that pension fund contributors could be worse off in retirement.

It was noted that this would renew interest in diversifying investments into foreign-denominated securities to improve returns and preserve value but warned that the prohibition on PFAs from acquiring foreign currencies directly through official channels might hinder this.

However, Agusto & Co. expects the pension sector to remain robust, given the industry’s strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the need to align the Nigerian pension scheme more closely with international standards in the near term.

Agusto & Co. also estimates that growth in pension assets will slow from a five-year average of 19 per cent to around 10 per cent in 2022 due to a combination of a muted interest rate environment and a slowdown in the rate of contributions which has been impacted by mass emigration and high unemployment.

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Economy

NASD OTC Down as FrieslandCampina Loses 3.85%

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FrieslandCampina

By Adedapo Adesanya

FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc dragged the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange down by 0.6 per cent on Tuesday, October 4, after its share price fell by N3.00 or 3.85 per cent to N75.00 per unit from N78.00 per unit.

It was the resumption of trading activities on the NASD OTC exchange yesterday after the public holiday declared on Monday to mark Nigeria’s 62nd year of independence.

The loss posted by the leading diary company in Nigeria reduced the NASD unlisted securities index (NSI) by 4.45 points yesterday to 731.34 points from 735.79 points.

Equally, the market capitalisation of the bourse diminished by N5.85 billion to wrap the day at N962.75 billion compared with the preceding session’s N968.60 billion.

Yesterday, the unlisted securities market finished without a price gainer.

It was observed that the volume of transactions depreciated on Tuesday by 72.2 per cent as investors only traded a total of 29,331 units of shares in contrast to the 105,440 units of shares transacted last Friday.

However, the value of the stocks bought and sold by investors jumped by 37.6 per cent to N2.2 million from the previous session’s N1.6 million, while the number of deals executed by traders went down by 33.3 per cent as only four deals were carried out yesterday compared with the six deals completed in the previous session.

When the market ended for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc was in second place with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, and Mixta Real Estate Plc was in third place with 178.1 million units valued at N313.4 million.

In the same vein, CSCS Plc finished the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 27.7 million units valued at N7.4 billion, and FrieslandCampina closed in place for trading 14.3 million units valued at N1.7 billion.

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Economy

Naira Closes Flat Against Dollar After Independence Break

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strong dollar demand Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The first trading session after the Independence Day break at the various windows of the foreign exchange (forex) market was stable in Nigeria as the Nigerian currency traded flat against the United States Dollar on Tuesday, except for the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment, where it appreciated.

In the market window, the Naira was exchanged to the Dollar at N749/$1 compared with the preceding session’s exchange rate of N752/$1, indicating that it was strengthened by N3.

However, the local currency remained unchanged against the greenback at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the currency market yesterday at N437.03/$1.

In the same vein, the domestic currency traded flat against the American currency on Tuesday at N740/$1.

In addition, the Nigerian currency closed flat against the Pound Sterling at the interbank segment of the market at N469.88/£1 and also remained unchanged against the Euro in the same market window yesterday at N420.75/€1.

Meanwhile, in the cryptocurrency market, Dogecoin jumped over 7 per cent after news broke that Mr Elon Musk, an advocate of the asset, may finally purchase Twitter on the deal’s original terms after months of drama.

Mr Musk’s attorneys sent a letter to Twitter, proposing to buy the social media company for his original offer price of $54.20 per share. Within minutes of the news breaking, DOGE shot up 7.6 to $0.0649.

Also, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 4.5 per cent jump to trade at $0.4761, Solana (SOL) recorded a 2.8 per cent rise to sell at $34.04, Bitcoin (BTC) gained 2.7 per cent to quote at $20,136.08, and Binance Coin (BNB) added 2.4 per cent to sell for $294.46.

Further, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 1.6 per cent to $1,351.80, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 1.0 per cent rise to trade at $0.4322, and Litecoin (LTC) climbed up by 0.9 per cent to sell at $54.81, while Binance USD and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closed flat at $1.00 each at the close of business.

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