President Muhammadu Buhari Monday met with six different groups of investors at the sidelines of the Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
According to a statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina, the president had a message for all those he met.
“Come to Nigeria and prosper. Come and have handsome returns on your investments, within the shortest possible time,” the President told the groups.
In a brief review of those who the President met, Femi Adesina said: “Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum is a member of the Dubai ruling family. He is also a private investor and member of several boards of companies, both state-owned and private. He is interested in establishing a power plant in Lagos, and studies have already been completed.
“Lulu Group operates a chain of supermarkets in the Middle East and Asia. Mr. Yusuff Alli, Chairman of the group, told President Buhari that the outfit, with headquarters in Abu Dhabi, has over 164 supermarkets and shopping malls. It employs over 50,000 people.”
Adesina noted that the interest of the group is to work with Nigerian farmers, using local produce to ensure food security. Quality, affordability, and hygiene are the watchwords of the company.
“Also in the bilateral meeting with President Buhari was Sheikh Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of Amea Power. The company develops, owns, and operates thermal and renewable energy projects in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Its wide range of power solutions include conventional – gas, coal, oil, and renewable – solar, wind and hydro.
Apart from power, the company, which owns Rotana Hotel chain, is also interested in the hospitality sector in Nigeria.
Also on cue was Sheikh Ali Rashid Lootah, Chairman, Nakheel Properties and Limitless Group.
One of the world’s leading developers and a major contributor to Dubai’s real estate transformation, the company’s current and future retail project portfolio covers nearly 17 million square feet of leasable space. They are keen to expand their investments in Nigeria.
Sheikh Khalid Bin Kalban is the CEO of Dubai Investments. His meeting with the Nigerian president centred around real estate, processing industries, mergers and acquisitions, health care, education, and financial investments.
Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has supported over 66 projects in 29 African countries. They include rural solar power and water projects, and that was the focus of the discussion, as Sheikh Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, the CEO, met with President Buhari.
The bilateral sessions were not concluded, till the Nigerian president had met with Mr Jitender Sachdeva, CEO Skipperseil Group. An integrated energy company with operations in the manufacturing of substation equipment, discussions were on engineering processing, construction of transmission lines and substations for utilities, institutions, and industries.
The company’s CEO expressed delight at meeting with President Buhari, and looked forward to doing good business in Nigeria,” Adesina’s statement further read in parts.
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.