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Sugar Producers Lose Billions of Naira to Flood, Others

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Sugar Producers Lose Billions of Naira to Flood, Others

Sugar Producers Lose Billions of Naira to Flood, Others

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr Latif Busari, has disclosed that producers of sugar in the country have lost several billions of Naira to flood, community hostility over land as well as smuggling of St Louis Cube Sugar.

Mr Busari made this disclosure while speaking in Abuja at the mid-term review meeting on the implementation of the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).

He noted that implementation of the policy has reached 40.3 percent between 2013 and 2016 and expressed hope that the master plan would record meaningful success in the years ahead.

The NSDC boss reiterated Federal Government’s commitment in leaving no stone unturned in its drive to achieve all the laudable goals and objectives for the sugar sector as contained in the NSMP roadmap.

According to the NSDC mid-term review, BUA scored 17 percent, Dangote scored 45.8 percent while Golden Sugar scored 58 percent in the targets set in the backward integration plan, including number of projects, new sugar factories, land developed, land under cane, out-grower farms, sugar produced and job creation.

Mr Busari revealed that BUA produced zero tonnes of sugar out of the 15,600 metric tonnes of sugar the company promised to produce during the period under review, Dangote produced 20,200 metric tonnes, being 28 percent of the 72,000 metric tonnes it promised to produce, while Golden Sugar produced 800 metric tonnes, being one percent of the 57,750 metric tonnes the company ought to have produced during the period.

At the meeting, the ES lamented that “many projects that would have raised the implementation profile of the NSMP were stalled by government/host community unwillingness to give out land.

“DSR’s proposal to establish a sugar estate in Zaria Kalakala, Kebbi State was stalled by political elite interference and demands after company had undertaken preliminary perimeter surveys and initiated action for topographical and soil surveys.

“Golden Sugar Estate, Sunti has witnessed so many disruptions during its development and even as recent as March 22, 2017 requiring the intervention of the Police and local Chiefs.

“BUA Group has also reported community hostilities against its operations at its BIP project site in Lafiagi Sugar Estate.

“Four such incidents of physical attacks against contractors working on estate roads and irrigation canals were recorded within the period.

“Flood protection dykes constructed at very huge costs were breached and cane fields washed away. Farm infrastructures – irrigation systems were damaged.

“The sudden discharge of water from Jebba and Kainji dams by the concessionaire companies was responsible for the 2016 incident.”

According to the report’s verdict “the new estate and factory established FMNL, Sunti, appears to be the key significant achievement under Phase 1 of BIP implementation.

“Other expected developments particularly the expansion of factory operations at DSR’s Savannah Sugar Company, Numan, developments at Lau/Tau and installation of factory at BUA’s Lafiagi Sugar Company, all of which would have impacted positively on the local sugar production, dimmed the performance of the sector.”

Mr Busari stressed that “having identified the constraints and designing measures to contain them, the prospects for the effective implementation of the NSMP over the next five years is bright.”

“The combination of the new guidelines with the actions that Government and relevant agencies will be taking will result in a greater commitment by operators and ultimately, more sugar projects and substantial increases in local sugar production levels,” he concluded.

Earlier, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, challenged NSDC and stakeholders in the nation’s sugar industry to look beyond the mid-term performance and consider finishing-well.

Mr Enelamah reassured the stakeholders of the government’s commitment at creating business enabling environment, noting that while cement industry is doing well in the backward integration, sugar industry, considering its importance to the people, and should do better.

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.

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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Economy

CBN to Establish Offshore Banking in Free Trade Zones to Boost Investment

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establish offshore banking

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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Economy

Nigeria’s Oil Production Now 1.59 million Barrels Per Day—NNPC

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1.59 million barrels per day

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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