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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

Ellah Lakes, Enugu Government Seal Rice Processing Deal

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Ellah Lakes

By Dipo Olowookere

A Nigerian agribusiness company, Ellah Lakes Plc, has sealed an agreement with the Enugu State government for the processing of rice aimed to improve food security in the state and the nation at large.

The chief executive of the firm, Mr Chuka Mordi, described the deal as “a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base.”

Ellah Lakes said in a statement that with the partnership, it will transform the Ada Rice Company and Plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State.

This is expected to create not less than 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months as the company will have the opportunity to establish a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.

Business Post reports that Adani community is well-known for the cultivation and production of rice but due to poor infrastructure and support of the government, it has suffered low patronage.

This partnership between the Enugu State government and Ellah Lakes should change the narrative for good and boost local production of rice.

In the statement issued on Wednesday by Ellah Lakes, a company listed on the trading platform of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, work is scheduled to begin immediately in Adani.

“Ellah Lakes is happy to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the Enugu State Government, through the Enugu State Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, for the expansion and further development of the Ada Rice Company and plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State, Nigeria.

“Ellah Lakes will produce and process rice with the participation of over 200 indigenous farmers in the local out-grower program. Ellah Lakes will also develop a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.

“The development is expected to create a minimum of 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months, and work is scheduled to begin immediately,” a part of the statement disclosed.

“This is a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base, and we are very excited to be working with the Enugu State Government.

“We are very pleased with this collaboration with the very progressive government of Enugu State. For us, this is the beginning of a great journey to expand the industrial base of the state, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial, valuable and fruitful venture,” Mr Mordi was quoted as saying.

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Economy

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Rewards Customers

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Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers scheme

Ahead of the festive season, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Nigeria’s largest Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), has unveiled the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Loyalty Program tagged Umatter.

It is a reward scheme targeted at the customers of the PFA, to reward them for their loyalty and patronage through exclusive discounts as they shop with their e-loyalty card.

The loyalty program is available at the PFA’s partner merchants’ locations and stores across the nation. It is aimed at providing Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ customers with exciting shopping discounts to help them spend less and save more when they shop.

Some of the participating merchant outlets are Maybrands, Café Royale, Hubmart Stores, Chocolate Royal, La Campagne Tropicana, Physio Centers of Africa, Medplus, iStore, Oriki, Launderland and Active Leisure.  The discounts range from 5 to 12 per cent on products and services purchased.

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ partnerships with these major outlets will enable customers to seamlessly enjoy instant discounts on their purchases during this festive period, thereby making life even more easy and affordable for customers who use the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers e-loyalty card.

Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers will continue to initiate valuable programs like this that encourage people to continue saving for their retirement and building their financial future.

New and existing customers can be a part of this exciting loyalty program by visiting www.stanbicibtcpension.com or calling 01 271 6000.

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Economy

FG to Inject N381trn into Economy to Create Job, Tackle Poverty

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Nigeria Economy challenges

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government is partnering with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to inject N381 trillion into the economy to cushion the growing rate of poverty, job losses and economic degradation in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Fund, Mr Joseph Ari, during a media interaction with the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Jos.

Mr Ari said the federal government came up with a 5-year National Development Plan tied around the sum of money to be able to achieve this aim.

He said the plan will replace the initial Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP).

According to him: “The plan, which projects the creation of 21 million jobs, with 35 million Nigerians lifted out of poverty, affordable housing for Nigerians and an export-led economy among others, is expected to cost N381 trillion to implement and have six focal areas of economic growth and development, infrastructure, public administration, human capital development, social development and regional development.

“As the leading human capital development institution in Nigeria, we have commenced the process of repositioning our programmes and activities to effectively prepare the Nation’s workforce in line with our mandate of developing a pool of qualified Nigerians to man the public and private sectors of the national economy as we believe that for this plan to succeed, all Nigerians as individual citizens and as institutions must contribute their bit.

“You will recall that on the assumption of office in 2016, the economy was in recession leading to massive job losses and corresponding increases in poverty.

“Our initiatives then particularly the emphasis on skills intervention programmes was borne out of the need to drive the actualization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP), which we achieved to an appreciable degree by training hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that are today gainfully employed or even employers of labour,” Mr Ari said.

He, however, lauded the media for a robust coverage of the Funds activities over the years, saying that the media has been critical in return of peace in the state.

“Beyond this, fora such as we are holding today have been critical to the return of peace in plateau state, thereby creating the necessary environment for our organisation to thrive especially within the last five years on account of your professionalism and determined efforts to rise above sensationalism, headline-grabbing and petty politics,” Mr Ari said.

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