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General Electric in Multi-Million Dollar Tax Deduction Mess

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General Electric GE

By TheCable

General Electric (GE) withheld tax in excess of $3 million from its payments to Arco Group Plc, a Nigerian oil servicing company, according to documents seen by TheCable.

There is strong evidence backing Arco’s allegation, but GE has told TheCable it would not comment “for confidentiality reasons”.

In one of the documents, Arco claimed that GE deducted 10% as withholding tax for a contract between 2006 and 2015 as against the 5% stipulated by Nigerian laws.

GE, a multinational company operating in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, had engaged Arco for the supply of local personnel.

“Our interpretation of the contract of supply is that the applicable WHT rate should be 5% in line with the Federal Inland Revenue Service Circular No. 2006/02 dated February 2006,” Arco wrote, in a letter addressed to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) seeking clarification on the applicable withholding tax rate to the contract.

“However, the IOC insisted that the rate is 10% in line with the contract for technical services in the same circular under reference. However, section 3.5 of the circular (Lines 8-11) referred to what should be classified as technical services states: the use of industrial machinery/equipment to provide a service does not render it to be technical because industry position requires that only arrangements that involve a transfer of technology, should be classified as technical.”

In a mail dated June 21, 2017, Fasilat Ransome-Kuti of General Electric Corporate, who was subsequently introduced as a senior manager from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), advised ARCO Group to seek clarification from the FIRS.

“We request you seek the clarification from the tax policy unit of FIRS in Abuja as only such clarification will suffice and give us comfort,” she wrote.

“Also, we are unable to suspend the remittance of WHT on payment to Arco as this will amount to non-compliance. There is penalty for non-compliance and this will be an additional cost to GE.”

In a letter dated November 2, 2017, and signed by Tunde Fowler, FIRS chairman, he said the only part of the contract that is subject to 10% tax is office rent which is to be deducted by Arco and remitted to FIRS.

Responding to the letter, GE said they had engaged PwC to confirm from FIRS.

It also expressed willingness to liaise with the FIRS on how the excess will be treated in the event the service upholds its position.

“This is based on the fact that the tax has already been deducted and remitted to the FIRS by GE. It is our view that the FIRS should either refund the excess WHT to Arco or apply it as a credit against Arco’s future tax liability,” GE wrote.

In a letter dated March 6, 2018, and signed by Benjamin Omotomiye, its group head of finance and admin, Arco demanded a refund of the funds deducted within the eight-year period.

He wrote: “What we are requesting now, is the refund of 50% of total WHT deducted from Arco’s invoices from the period 2006 to 2015 as earlier communicated to you in our letter dated November 6, 2017, following the FIRS’ clarification as follows:

   – €56,577.61 (Fifty-six thousand, five hundred and seventy-seven euros, sixty-one cents)

   – $2,923,642.36 (Two million, nine hundred and twenty-three thousand, six hundred and forty-two dollars and thirty-six cents)

   – N360,482,041.19 (Three hundred and sixty million, four hundred and eighty-two thousand, forty-one naira and nineteen kobo).”

When TheCable reached out to GE for a reaction, the company refused to comment.

“On the questions raised, we can confirm the existence of a contractual relationship between Arco Group and ourselves,” Obagbemi Olusegun of BHGE Communications Sub-Saharan Africa, said.

“However, due to the confidentiality provisions governing this relationship, we are unable to disclose details of commercial dealings between both parties.

“I trust you understand our position on this.”

TheCable

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Eaton Calls for Stoppage of Sulphur Hexafluoride Gas 

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Sulphur hexafluoride gas

By Adedapo Adesanya

Leading power management company, Eaton Nigeria, has advocated the regulation of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) gas usage in electrical power distribution networks.

This call was made during the company’s Power & Water Nigeria Exhibition and Conference 2022, an event that connects the Nigerian utility industry.

The event which was organised by Vertex Global services saw the participation of experts and exhibitors from over 20 countries.

The gathering enabled global stakeholders to access engaging technical discussions, on-the-spot assessment of the region’s opportunities in power generation, distribution, renewables, and water & utility sectors; as well as exhibitions from leading local and international suppliers.

During his presentation on the topic, A Call to Action on the ‘dirtiest’ greenhouse gas in clean energy, Mr Charles Iyo, Regional Sales Manager Eaton West Africa said “Sulphur hexafluoride gas which is used in the production of most switchgears remains one of the world’s potent greenhouse gases that adversely affect the environment. 1kg of SF6 is equivalent to 23,500 Kg of CO2 in global warming potential, and each unit of switchgear is estimated to use 2.5 kg of SF6 gas; which makes it devastatingly dangerous to the climate.”

“Government in Africa, especially Nigeria needs to take proactive measures such as implementing new regulations to ban the use of SF6 Gas in switchgear production. Also, regulatory bodies and industry stakeholders need to collaborate and elevate industry practice and policies to implement the use of SF6 free technology thereby creating a safe and sustainable future,” he added.

Mr Iyo further highlighted SF6-free alternatives that could positively combat climate change, saying the adoption of vacuum technology is considered a safe, compact and reliable alternative to SF6 gas in the production of switchgears.

Eaton has been at the forefront of advocating the elimination of SF6 gas globally. The power management company pioneered SF₆ free medium voltage switchgear production in 1960 with Magnefix, a compact solution for distribution system operators.

The various range of SF6 free switchgears are produced with environmentally friendly technology in comparison with the methods used by many other suppliers, which use SF6 as insulation gas.

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OVH Energy Rewards Distributors for Outstanding Performance

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Leading supplier and distributor of refined petroleum products, OVH Energy Marketing, has rewarded its top-performing lubricant distributors for their outstanding performance at a presentation ceremony held in Lagos.

During the presentation ceremony which happened at Aspamda Market, two qualified distributors who each sold over 1 million litres of lubricants were recognized in line with the management’s commitment to award deserving distributors.

Chucorl Nigeria Limited and Ade De Young Auto Limited, who met and exceeded the set target in the distribution of OLEUM lubricants, were awarded OLEUM branded trucks at the ceremony.

Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, OVH Energy Marketing, Huub Stokman posited that the ceremony was organized to reward top-performing distributors as well as inspire others through their exemplary feats.

“Our distinctive progress as the leading downstream oil and gas company is built on the commendable dedication and support of our partners as well as the contributions of our staff. I applaud the awardees and other OLEUM distributors for their diligence and resourcefulness in making sure that the OLEUM range of lubricants remains a market leader,” he said.

“Oleum is a product made in Nigeria, by Nigerians, for Nigerians. Our dream is to formulate the best lubricant available in the Nigerian market at a very affordable price. The hard work of our partners continues to contribute immensely to the growth of the organization and for that we are thankful,” he continued.

Commenting at the presentation ceremony, Mr Lateef Adeleke, owner Ade De Young Auto Ltd., an awardee said “I appreciate the company for this initiative to reward distributors with branded trucks. Rewarding deserving distributors with the branded trucks is a thoughtful initiative from OVH Energy Marketing.”

On his part, Mr Oliver Jacob, CEO Chucorl Oil and Gas Limited said “This acknowledgement from OVH Energy Marketing is indeed an incentive to do even more. The trucks will be valuable in strengthening our supply chain and meeting our increasing consumer demand.”

In recent years, OVH Energy Marketing has embarked on diverse empowerment initiatives such as the OLEUM Academy and the Mechanic Oleum Reseller Enterprise Initiative.

OLEUM academy has impacted over 5,000 individuals nationwide through the provision of automotive mechatronics, lubrication, and entrepreneurship training.

The Mechanic Oleum Reseller Enterprise Initiative is an avenue for auto-technicians to boost their income through the sales of lubricants in their workshop.

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Capital Market Can Attract Funds to Solve Nigeria’s Infrastructure Deficiency—Yuguda

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, has again emphasised that the current infrastructure deficiency in Nigeria can be solved with the help of the capital market.

While addressing the new executives of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) in Abuja over the weekend, he said all that was needed was for the government to partner with the private sector to bridge the infrastructure gap by approaching the capital market for funding.

“We have a huge infrastructural deficit in the country like insufficient power, lack of good roads among others. We want our country to have good infrastructure and I know this is possible with the help of the capital market and other stakeholders.

“It requires adequate planning and financing and we can achieve it as a nation. The capital market through the private sector can fund road construction while the government focuses on other issues,” the SEC DG said, appealing to the relevant stakeholders to cooperate with the agency to achieve this goal.

He also said for the capital market to attain full potential, all stakeholders need to ensure they carry out their functions with integrity and fairness in a bid to restore investor confidence.

Mr Yuguda acknowledged CIS as a key partner in the commission’s regulation of the market, assuring that the SEC would continue to provide the needed support.

“On behalf of the Board and staff. We will give you all possible co-operation you desire to make your job easy. We are here to support this market and make it the market we all desire,” he said.

The SEC boss stated that derivatives trading has commenced for people who want to manage their risk, adding that the SEC is working to increase the literacy of Nigerians so they can take better decisions.

“The future for this country is bright and we have the young population to push it. We can have a much better standard of living than we have now and we hope you will continue to give a lot to the market.

“We are committed to any initiative that will further spur the growth of the capital market. We also have a review of the ISA bill pending at the National Assembly and that bill has a lot that will revitalize this market,” he added.

In his remarks, the President of CIS, Mr Oluwole Adeosun, commended the SEC for the relationship that exists between the Commission and the Institute and thanked the Management for always supporting the organisation.

“Thank you always because you have embraced the institute and made it clear that you desire a very harmonious relationship and we are happy about it.

“You have shown this in your actions since you came into office and we appreciate you for all your efforts, we pray that investors benefit greatly from their investments in the capital market. Thank you for all your support to the CIS Bill,” he said.

The former President of CIS, Mr Olatunde Amolegbe, also thanked the DG for the efforts the management has been making to support the CIS, adding that the institute has been able to function effectively due to the support of the SEC.

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