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Financial expert frowns at Nigerian govt’s move to increase VAT, says rises in inflation imminent

A financial expert and former President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, ANAN, Dr Samuel Nzekwe, has said increasing the nation’s Value Added Tax, VAT, would not solve the revenue challenges in the country.

Mr Nzekwe, who spoke against the backdrop of the Federal Government’s move to increase the VAT in order to meet the demand of the new N30,000 national minimum wage, emphasised that such decision would contribute to inflation rises in the country.

According to him, there is a need for government to perfect new opportunities of generating more VAT in the country.

Recall that the Minister of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma, had on Tuesday said the Federal Government is planning to increase the nation’s VAT to 50 per cent from 2 per cent to meet its challenge.

Mr Nzekwe said: “The Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, has not been able to capture all people into the VAT net.

“A lot of people in the country are not paying VAT. More people are paying taxes without VAT due to poor compliance on the FIRS officials.

What they should have done is to get more people to pay VAT,’’ he said.

Mr Nzekwe noted that compliance was the major problem with the provisions of VAT because of its poor management.

The ex-ANAN president suggested that the FIRS should redouble its efforts to ensure that more people were captured into the VAT net in order to boost the nation’s revenues.

He also said increasing VAT was an indirect way of inflicting pains and shortchanging Nigerians which was not good for the economy.

NAN

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OML 25: NNPC brokers truce between Shell, Belema oil

Just days ago TNC24ONLINE.COM Reported how  A Niger Delta Group called on president Buhari to resolve the dispute between shell and Belema oil,

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and  its joint venture partners, Shell Production Development Company  and Belema OIL, have now resolved the dispute on the operation of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25 which has been a source of rising tempers in Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta. Operations at the oil well would take off in the next 10 days.

The feuding group has signed a  dispute closure agreement in Abuja to that effect.

Nigeria’s  Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, while signing the agreement, thanked all the parties while declaring the beginning of a new chapter in the oil industry.

Sylva said “When I came into the office, the issue was one of the problems that came on the table; there were so many letters from communities complaining about the problem.

“I just decided to invite Shell to hear its own part of the story but fortunately, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, had intervened in the matter.

“So, I have the honour now to thank him for this great intervention.

“And also thank Shell and Belema Oil  for cooperating to ensure that there is closure to this matter that has bedeviled the industry for so long.”

According to Sylva,  the biggest beneficiaries of the agreement were not the companies but the communities, especially those in Belema which had been suffering since the beginning of the dispute.

Speaking earlier, Kyari said the development was a big achievement for the NNPC. He disclosed that  the dispute around the OML 25 which had been on for over two years, disrupted the peace  and social lives in the host community .

He said ,“For us, the most important aspect of the dispute resolution is that, at least, the communities will have their peace restored.

“At the back of it, you are aware that there is a complete stoppage of petroleum operations around the OML 25 and adjoining blocks.“What this means is shut down of production of over 35,000 barely of oil every day in the last two years and that is enormous economic loss for all stakeholders, Nigeria and the communities.

“This is why we engaged all stakeholders and we are happy to announce today that the closure has been obtained.

“It means that the communities will have their peace back and also commence operations with the OML 25.

“That means that there is prosperity for the community and also some returns to shareholders of Belema Oil, NNPC and Nigeria at large,” he said.

Kyari commended  Belema Oil for its role and assured full engagement of the communities, adding that all the parties would be taken care of saying that  opportunities  would be shared equitably for overall peace and development of the country.

Managing Director of Shell, Osagie Okunbor, expressed happiness that the two-year old  dispute had been resolved.

“I want to convey my deep appreciation to the GMD of NNPC for the intervention to bring this issue to a closure.

“When dispute of this nature happens, every one suffers, especially the immediate family, recipient community not to talk of investors like ourselves.

“We have been in discussion with communities and Belema Oil and sometimes under the auspices of government.

“We are very pleased that we have finally brought this to a conclusion, to work on some agreements with communities to achieve speedy return to operations on that facility,” he said.

He said to meet the plight of the host communities, Shell had paid in the Joint MOU account, over N300 million to restart community efforts it had not done because of some issues.

Mr Okunbor said under the joint MOU framework, monies would be paid into communities’ accounts to execute projects to ensure that employment opportunities get to the people.

He noted that SPDC remained the operator of the OML 25 but assured commitment to ensure that all parties would derive from the benefits.

The President and Founder, Belema OIL, Jack Rich-Tein, also said the agreement signaled that stakeholders shared common interest and value of lifting the country high and strengthening relationships.

“What has been resolved is that, we have agreed to work together, SPDC and Belema Oil.

“Belema Oil is now going to be able to create a lot of employment opportunities for the communities under operations and maintenance part of the operations.

“SPDC remains the operators because they still have the licence, the communities will be happy because we will employ them and they will be able to work with SPDC.

“The key thing there is getting back to work and creating jobs for the local communities, everybody will be happy.”

He said that Belema Oil with 7.7 per cent asset would provide the operation maintenance and employ the community members through that platform.

Founder of  Belema Oil , Jack-Rich Tein Jnr said Belema oil would work with shell to ensure that the development needs of the people were met.

“We have agreed that less than 10 days from today, we will visit the communities and appeal to them and then, we go to work,” he said.

Trouble started two years ago when operation in OML 25 stopped as  the host communities sent SPDC away from operating in the facility over issues of unemployment and underdevelopment among others.The communities insisted on having an indigenous company running OML 25. With the resolution , peace is expected to be restored and production to resume.

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BUSINESSAccess Bank officially merges with Diamond Bank – See logo and slogan

The mega entity now has over hundreds of branches and over 3,000 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across Nigeria and abroad.

The brand showcases the new logo and new slogan – ‘more than banking’, which would be visible from April 1, 2019.

The brand unveiled at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, on March 31, followed a successful merger between Access Bank and Diamond Bank that has created a Nigerian banking powerhouse and a Pan-African financial services champion.

Access Bank currently is the largest retail Bank in Africa by customer base, 27,000 staff across 592 branches, spanning three continents, 12 countries and with 29 million customers.

Explaining the visual identity, the Bank said: “It fuses together the best of Access Bank and Diamond Bank. It builds on the layers of meaning that were built into two iconic brands. Diamond Bank’s was youthful, vibrant and human.

The diamond shape is fused into the three chevrons, which radiate in all directions to create layers around a core. The retention of the access typeface, colour and font is complemented by the orange logo, which draws from the colour palettes of both banks.

“The use of the diamond colour palette is further emphasised with the dominance of green in its retail application, ensuring continuity for retail customers, whilst the dominant orange in the corporate application provides the same sense of familiarity to Access Bank’s customers.

“Almost twenty years ago, Access Bank set out to change the face of banking in Nigeria. Its goal was to lift the continent of Africa through what it called sustainable banking, showing individuals and businesses across the country that ethical business was good business.

“Providing African businesses with access to intra Africa trade and global markets. Giving budding entrepreneurs the tools to build a business. Offering families the opportunity to realise their dreams. Across the country, another entrepreneur was also building a Bank, with a dream that went beyond banking.

“We wanted to respond to changing lifestyles by using innovation and technology to support societal shifts. With a focus on personalised service that understood people’s desires and ambitions and made them possible.

“These two banks, one a corporate titan, the other a digital retail powerhouse, have come together to create Africa’s largest Bank. For both, the philosophy remains unchanged.”

 

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Minimum Wage: NLC, ULC threaten nationwide strike November 6

Minimum Wage: NLC, ULC threaten nationwide strike Nov 6

The labour unions in Nigeria say they would commence a nationwide, indefinite strike from November 6 if government does not meet their demands.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, and that of the United Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, stated this in a press statement on Sunday.

The labour unions are angry at government’s stance on new minimum wage for workers. The federal government insists it will could only increase the minimum wage from the current N18,000 to N24,000, claiming no amount was agreed with the labour leaders at a meeting of a tripartite committee also involving the private sector.

The labour unions, who initially demanded N50,000 mimimum wage, however, say they agreed to N30,000 during the negotiation.

It is not true that we proposed N30,000 as the new national minimum wage, the labour leaders said.

“It is also not true that the committee did not agree on a figure during its last sitting. We accepted N30,000 as a compromise to demonstrate the willingness of Nigerian workers to make sacrifices towards nation building,” the officials said.

Messrs Wabba and Ajaero said it has become necessary for the Organised Private Sector (OPS) as represented in the tripartite committee to speak up on this matter.

“Keeping silent in the face of this apparent mischief does our nation no good. At this time the OPS does not have any other choice but to rise to the occasion by telling Nigerians what transpired in the meeting.

“What we are waiting for is for the federal government to immediately set in motion the necessary machinery for turning the agreement into a Bill for onward submission to the NASS where we expect the presidency to work together with the legislators to make it a law so that it can be implemented quickly.”

They said labour unions in Nigeria have not seen any sign of seriousness on the government’s part to resolve workers’ concerns.

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