China would invest $250 million on a dry port in Ibadan that will decongest the ports in Lagos and speed up clearance of goods by the Customs Service.
The Chairman of China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC), Mr Fenjian Chen, said on Friday when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari.
Chen, who led a high-powered Chinese team to meet with the President, said CRCC is an international company operating in 124 countries, with 18,000 local employees in Nigeria.
According to him, part of projects CRCC include rail way, dry port, free trade zone, and building of highways, adding that about 40,000 more jobs are to be created from these.
He commended President Buhari for the war against corruption and insecurity, expressing confidence that Nigeria would soon become a much better country.
Earlier, President Buhari expressed appreciation to China for what he described as its “genuine efforts to improve Nigeria’s infrastructural development.
According to a statement by his spokesperson, Mr Femi Adesina, the president that Nigeria’s infrastructure had depreciated and deteriorated over the years, affecting standard of living, and leading to loss of lives through avoidable accidents.
“We are very grateful to China for the effort to rebuild our infrastructure, and for bringing technical expertise to the country.
“We will give the required support and cooperation, so that our old, out of date, and collapsed infrastructure might be turned around.’’
He promised to personally pay attention to the many projects being undertaken in the country, for the good of Nigerian people.
FIRS to impose VAT on online transactions, says Fowler
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it will soon begin collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on online transactions.
The Chairman of the agency, Mr Babatunde Fowler, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Saturday.
Fowler said: “soon, we will ask banks to impose VAT on online transactions for purchases of goods and services.
“Not that it is something new; it actually should be in existence.
“We will certainly follow up to make sure that every VAT that is due to be collected is collected.”
He explained that the move was part of measures by FIRS to meet its N8 trillion revenue target for 2019.
Fowler said the agency had started taking action against companies and businesses that refused to embrace the Federal Government’s tax amnesty programme.
According to him, FIRS hopes to generate between N750 billion and N1 trillion from the clampdown, which includes closure of defaulters’ bank accounts.
“We are going after everybody. I am sure you have heard that we have placed lien on some accounts of defaulters that have a billion naira turnover annually.
“So certainly, we are not leaving anyone out of the tax net,” he said.
Officially known as the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, the tax amnesty programme was launched in 2017.
It gave tax defaulters a one-year period of grace to declare and settle their unpaid taxes.
There have been complaints by some taxpayers of being wrongly targeted by FIRS in the clampdown.
Asked to comment on that, Fowler admitted, blaming it on “administrative error,” arising from the huge number of accounts involved.
“Well, there is certainly one or two instances where we made administrative error, but when you are looking at over 50,000 accounts, there is a tendency that sometimes an error might be made.
“For those that we made errors on, I wrote them personally apologising and of course we lifted the lien on their accounts.”
On plans by the Joint Tax Board to raise the country’s tax population to 45 million, Fowler said the agency was relying on multiple information sources.
These, according to him, include the country’s Bank Verification Number database and sister agencies with relevant information.
How Nigeria came out of recession, by Emefiele
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele on Friday disclosed that after five consecutive quarters of negative growth beginning in the first quarter of 2016, a coordinated approach by the fiscal and monetary authorities supported a rebound in the nation’s economy during the second quarter of 2017.
He disclosed this while delivering a special convocation lecture of the University of Nigeria (UNN) at the Princess Alexendra Hall, Nsukka.
The CBN governor, who was also conferred with honorary doctorate degree of the institution, said the recovery has been driven largely by improved non- oil activities especially the agriculture sector, which he said expanded consistently by about 3.5 -4.3 percent reflecting government’s efforts at diversifying the economy.
“After 5 consecutive quarters of negative growth beginning in the 1st quarter of 2016, a coordinated approach by the fiscal and monetary authorities supported a rebound in the nation’s economy during the second quarter of 2017.
“This was nonetheless, reinforced by the pickup in the oil sector as oil prices rallied in 2017. The gradual reorientation of the economic structure towards the agriculture sector reflects the diversification drive of the government which was supported by the development finance initiatives of the CBN.
“The recovery has been sustained for seven consecutive quarters. The pace of quarterly GDP growth has improved from .5 percent in the second quarter of 2017 to 2.38 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018,” he stressed.
Emefiele however noted that challenges still remain such as ensuring that the pace of GDP growth remains well ahead of annual population growth at 3 percent.
He said that this can only be achieved if Nigerians continue to support efforts aimed at improving domestic production of goods in Nigeria.
He added proactive fiscal actions, especially, infrastructure investment were required to enhance economic growth.
The CBN governor further stated that universities have a considerable role to play in working with the private and public sector in supporting research and development of solutions that can be applied to enhance the growth of the economy.
MTN Lists Shares On Nigerian Stock Exchange
Telecommunications giant MTN Nigeria has listed 20 billion ordinary shares at N90 per unit on the Premium Board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The official listing of the Johannesburg-based company took place on Thursday at the Stock Exchange House in Lagos.
Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Dr Paschal Dozie, led the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Ferdi Moolman, and other top members of staff of the company to the event.
The price values the telecoms company at N1.84 trillion.
MTN Nigeria decided to list its local company in the country on the NSE in 2016 after agreeing to pay a $1.7 billion fine to settle a sim card dispute with the Federal Government.
Nigeria accounts for a third of MTN’s annual core profit while indigenous investors own 19.4 per cent of the company.