Some insurance companies have received refunds to the tune of ₦1 billion from Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), following complaints of excessive taxation.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Insurance Association of Nigeria (NIA), Eddie Efekoha, who spoke to some journalists in Lagos, recently. According to him, the erroneous taxation occurred after the 2007 recapitalisation of the insurance industry.
“Following widespread complaints from operators that they are being over-taxed after the recapitalisation exercise initiated by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) in 2007, the industry body made spirited representations to the appropriate authorities in the country for a refund. Due to these efforts, some member companies have duly received a tax refund of almost ₦1 billion.” – Efekoha
He went further to disclose that his association is engaging the FIRS and the Federal Ministry of Finance to effectively “work out an amicable solution to spur robust growth of our industry.”
Meanwhile, the insurance industry is eagerly awaiting NAICOM’s harmonised ten year transformation agenda , he said. The harmonised plan is expected to facilitate growth in the sector. Note that the aim of the agenda is to grow the rate of insurance penetration to about 2.1%, up from less than 1%.
More on the challenges of excessive taxation
Note that excessive taxation has for a long time remained one of the long-standing issues in Nigeria. Asides the insurance sector, other sectors of the economy are equally affected.
A 2014 report by Nairametrics quoted the then Minister of Communication and Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, to have admitted that about 70% investments by Nigerian telecoms companies are typically used for the payment of taxes to the different tiers of government. According to her, this is one of the major challenges preventing the sector from growth.
She called for a review of the Nigerian tax system.
Interestingly, such calls has been ongoing since then. A 2015 article by The Guardian examined how Nigeria’s tax system is discouraging investment, even as the concerned government agencies were urged to, among other things, simplify the tax system, put more clarity on taxes that are payable, as well as getting rid of excessive taxation.
Meanwhile, in mid-2017, the FIRS introduced the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), in its determination to facilitate tax collection in Nigeria. Apparently, the VAIDS initiative turned out successful, as the FIRS disclosed earlier this month that it had realised about ₦30 billion, and raised Nigeria’s tax database to 19 million up from 14 million.
The Insurance Association of Nigeria was established in 1971 to serve as the umbrella body of all the insurance companies in Nigeria.
Efekoha became the Chairman two years ago, during which, the association has initiated and begun construction on the NIA Tower. Speaking on this issue, he made known his delight “that the NIA building project has moved from discussion to actual construction. That development represents the high point of my chairmanship of the NIA.”
Just-in: Air Peace to recall some sacked pilots after Minister’s intervention
Air Peace had trained over 80 pilots, giving its staff the best remuneration package.
Air Peace would soon recall some of the pilots that were sacked recently. This coming after the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika had intervened.
This was disclosed by the Ministry of Aviation via its Twitter handle on Tuesday.
The recall was the fall-out of an intervention meeting called by the Minister between the airline management and the leadership of the National Association of Airline Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) held in his office on Tuesday.
Back story: Nairametrics reported as Nigerians woke up to the news that Air Peace had sacked about 70 pilots under its employment across its fleet and also reduced staff salaries by 40%. The airline said the exercise was due to the devastating impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on its business.
It added that the move was made to protect the majority of the existing jobs and the possibility of creating new ones in the future, as well as ensuring the survival of the airline.
In the verbal agreement, Chairman, Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema acceded to the Minister’s appeal for the recall of the maximum number of pilots that the airline can accommodate without going under.
Chairman, NAAPE, Galadima Abednego explained that as a union it was a painful thing to see a large number of their members thrown into the labour market, and further appealed to employers of labour to see the union members as partners, and not adversaries.
On his own, Onyema expressed his sadness and disappointment over what he called the ingratitude of some of the airline’s pilots after everything is done to make them comfortable on their jobs.
He recalled how Air Peace had trained over 80 pilots and an equal number of aircraft engineers, giving its staff the best remuneration package within the sector only for them to disappoint at a time their understanding was needed.
He however commended Senator Hadi Sirika for providing the required leadership to the industry and promised his full cooperation in ensuring the growth of the aviation sector in Nigeria.
The Aviation Minister called for the understanding of everyone, especially the Labour unions, of the prevailing situation in the aviation industry, saying it was not the time for unnecessary upheavals.
AIR PEACE TO RECALL SOME SACKED PILOTS, AS SIRIKA INTERVENES
Respite has come the way of some of the pilots recently sacked by the management of Air Peace, as many of them would soon be recalled to their jobs.
— Federal Ministry of Aviation, Nigeria (@fmaviationng) August 11, 2020
He commended Chief Onyema for his enormous contributions in developing the industry, but appealed to him to recall the maximum number of the sacked pilots that the airline can comfortably accommodate in the prevailing circumstances to which airline operator agreed.
WHO gives condition for approving Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine as the vaccine gets a name
Russia has named its first approved COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V for the foreign markets.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that any form of approval of prequalification of the Russian vaccine will require rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data.
This disclosure was made by the spokesman of the WHO, Tarik Jasarevic, during a United Nations briefing in Geneva about clinical trials.
He said that the UN health agency and the Russian health authorities are currently discussing the process for possible WHO prequalification for its newly approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Tarik Jasarevic, during the UN briefing in Geneva said, “We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO prequalification of the vaccine, but again prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data.”
Meanwhile, in a related development, Russia has named its first approved COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V and it is available for foreign markets. The name references the world’s first satellite, which marked a symbolic accomplishment for the USSR during the cold war and space race era. Now, the Russian Government basks in its success at becoming the first country to approve a vaccine for COVID-19.
The head of Russia’s Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) pointed out that Russia had already received requests from more than 20 countries for 1 billion doses of its newly registered COVID-19 vaccine.
Nairametrics had earlier reported today the announcement of the registration of the first COVID-19 vaccine in what could be described as a step ahead of other vaccine developments. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who made the disclosure during a televised government meeting, said that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than 2 months of human testing.
However, the speed at which Russia is moving to roll out the vaccine has prompted some western countries and international scientists to question whether the Russian government is putting national prestige ahead of solid science and safety.
Nigeria signs African Trade Insurance Agency agreement
The African Trade Insurance Agency was launched to provide risk solutions for investors.
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the instrument of accession agreement for Nigeria for the establishment of the African Trade Insurance Agency. This was announced by the Federal Government on Monday night.
President @MBuhari has signed the instrument of accession of the agreement for the establishment of the African Trade Insurance Agency; sequel to the directive of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), that the instrument be prepared and forwarded for execution.
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) August 10, 2020
The agreement is coming after the Federal Executive Council ordered that an instrument be prepared and forwarded for execution.
The African Trade Insurance Agency was launched in 2001, to provide risk solutions for investors, after the East African economic Union (COMESA) executed a World bank funded study to discover why Africa does not attract more Foreign Direct Investments.
The organization said it added credit insurance to its portfolio in 2006 after its members identified global trade as a major pillar of growth in the continent which has seen it grow as a market leader for risk mitigation in Africa. The ATI also attracts funding from the African Development Bank and World Bank
Nigeria joining the agreement would provide Nigeria with the necessary insurance financing to increase investment inflows into the country and improve economic productivity.