By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Since 2012, Panasonic Corporation has been working on the 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project, a project that aims to donate a total of 100 thousand solar lanterns to the world’s non-electrified areas by 2018, which is the centennial of Panasonic’s foundation.
As part of the effort, the company donated a total of 1,584 solar lanterns for the first time to three nonprofit organizations (NGOs) working in the three countries of the Republic of South Africa, Kingdom of Swaziland, and Kingdom of Lesotho. Today, a donation ceremony was held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa.
The donation ceremony, held by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa, was attended by government officials from the Republic of South Africa and Shigeyuki Hiroki, Ambassador of Japan in the Republic of South Africa.
Shigeyuki Hiroki said in his speech that “We expect to further promote more effective use of donated solar lanterns in these three countries as a promising renewable energy.”
Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, noted in his speech that 2018 would mark the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela himself and said that “We are challenging to change the quality of living in South Africa. The lighting would contribute to improve daily life. The Foundation supports Panasonic’s solar lantern project activities and helps people’s better living by the donations of the lanterns to non-electrified areas.”
At present, approximately 1.2 billion people are living in areas without electricity*, which accounts for about 16% of the world population, of which approximately 600 million people are in African countries. Although many households in these areas without electricity use kerosene lamps for lighting, its smoke poses a health hazard and exposes people to the risk of fire.
By utilizing solar lanterns, children will be able to learn safely and women’s groups can engage in activities that create income at night in the community, which will help them improve their lives and help a sustainable society. Moreover, this reduces the economic burden of fuel purchase costs.
In order to contribute to resolving these social issues, Panasonic has been promoting corporate social responsibility (corporate citizenship activities) by proactively using the company’s core technologies and products, and as part of this, has been implementing the 100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project. This donation activity is an initiative to contribute to the global goals of Poverty, Health Care and Welfare, Education, Energy, etc. that constitute the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put into effect by the United Nations in 2016.
Through this project, the company has donated a total of approximately 81,000 units to 19 countries so far. In Africa, about 15,000 units have been donated already to 10 countries through international organizations and NGOs. This donation to three African countries now makes the total of donated lanterns approximately 83,000 units to 22 countries, and among them, about 16,000 units have been delivered to 13 African countries.
In addition, at the Sasol Solar Challenge, a solar car race held in South Africa last year, a solar car team from Tokai University equipped with Panasonic’s solar cell module HIT(R) and a high-capacity lithium-ion battery finished second after completing 4,544.2 km.
Panasonic will accelerate this activity until 2018, in order to deliver a better life to the people living in the regions without electricity through the 100 Thousand Solar Lantern Project utilizing the company’s core products and technologies.
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.
Nigeria’s Oil Production Now 1.59 million Barrels Per Day—NNPC
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has claimed that Nigeria’s oil production, as of December 6, 2022, was 1.59 million barrels per day.
The Chief Upstream Investment Officer at the NNPC’s Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS), Mr Bala Wunti, disclosed this yesterday at the ongoing 11th Practical Nigerian Content forum in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.
Mr Wunti said due to the government’s intervention, the country’s oil production output had increased amid the oil theft crisis, adding that the government was resolving the issues using three strategies which are detect, deter, and respond appropriately.
Representing the Chief Executive Officer of the oil company, Mr Mele Kyari, Mr Wunti revealed that Nigeria had not recorded significant funding in the oil and gas sector in the last 10 years.
“We were able to get the trans-Forcados pipeline back to work. And ultimately, the net effect of that is that from one million barrels three months ago, we are back to 1.5 million barrels per day. Is that our ambition? No. We believe we can get back to 2.4 million barrels per day early next year,” he revealed.
He also insisted that Nigeria can hit 2.4 million barrels per day if the challenges confronting the sector are sorted.
Making a case for the usage of gas for industrial development, the NNPC official submitted that gas provides the opportunity to power the global economy in a sustainable manner.
According to him, to deepen gas utilisation, NNPCL has decided to focus on in-country infrastructure. While NNPC Limited is currently supplying about 1.1 billion standard cubic feet (scf) per day to the Lagos area, Mr Kyari insisted that the company has the capacity to supply 3.6 billion scf daily.
In his presentation, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, revealed that the in-country capacity in the oil and gas industry had reached 54 per cent.
He added that a total of 178 Nigerian Content (NC) plans and 197 NC Compliance Certificates were approved in 2022, saying that has ensured an increase in the involvement of Nigerian businesses in the industry contracting process resulting in an increase in the percentage of the number of contract awards to Nigerian businesses from 79 per cent in 2021 to 82 per cent in 2022.
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