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Senate to probe FG over reduction of MTN’s $8.1 billion fine

Senate queries FG, condemns CBN over MTN

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Foreign Direct Investment

The Nigerian Senate has queried the decision of the Federal Government to reduce the $8.1 billion fine imposed on MTN to $800 million.

The red chamber also condemned the failure of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to implement its (Senate) report on alleged illegal repatriation of $14 billion by MTN.

Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, maintained that the CBN failed to implement Senate’s resolutions passed to it before conducting another investigation into the alleged infraction by MTN.

Ibrahim said that his committee would immediately demand CBN report on the matter to be better informed.

According to Ibrahim, the only way Nigerians would know what transpired between the CBN and MTN on the $8.1 billion fine was through a detailed report.

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“We took them up on the issue, and the apex bank told us how they did the investigation. We’re taking them up based on the fact that we have investigated and we saw what happened.

“All our resolutions were passed to them, and they did not even implement the resolutions before saying they’re going into another investigation.

“They said their investigation was based on a petition from a law firm and their stand was that the penalty was correct. So, if from the information you have now, it will be ridiculous for them to say they’re bringing the penalty down from $8.1billion to about $800million. That will be ridiculous for the CBN.”

Recall that the CBN, had in late August, demanded that MTN Group Limited refund the sum of $8.1 billion which it was accused of illegally moving from Nigeria through the help of four banks, including CitiBank, Diamond Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank.

For their role in this alleged crime, the banks were also sanctioned by the Nigerian apex bank to the tune of ₦5.86 billion.

MTN and the affected banks all denied this claim, even as new evidence soon emerged that the telecoms company is owing Nigeria the sum of $2 billion in back taxes.

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Nairametrics had reported that some stakeholders in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), have expressed displeasure over MTN’s constant infractions and troubles with the Nigerian authorities while also urging the leading telco to desist from denting the public’s perception of them.

The stakeholders are also stressed the need for MTN to get its act together by entrenching the culture of best practice, good corporate governance and ensuring that they abide by Nigeria’s laws ahead of the company’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) which is expected by May next year.

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Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Olumide Ibikunle

    November 14, 2018 at 10:59 am

    What is the impact of consistent regulatory picketing on foreign investor confidence? Are we advancing “regulatory compliance” over a need for the economy to grow? Ease of Doing Business is poor, and rather than improving those parameters and making the country an attractive place for business, CBN, the Senate and other regulators are having a field day making money off fines. I’m not exonerating MTN here, but we need to watch the impact of these for our markets.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: Russia produces first batch of its newly approved vaccine

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COVID-19: J&J starts vaccine trials on humans after success on monkeys

Russia announced on Saturday, August 15, 2020, that it has produced the first batch of its newly approved vaccine, Sputnik V, hours after the health ministry reported the start of its production.

The disclosure was made in a statement by the Russian Health Ministry and quoted by Russian news agencies.

This is coming some days after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, announced the registration of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine in what could be described as a step ahead of other vaccine developments.

The announcement is seen as a propaganda coup for the Russian government against the west amid a global race to develop vaccines against the coronavirus disease.

The announcement of the vaccine registration by Putin was met with caution from scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO), who said that it still needed a rigorous safety review. Some of the scientists fear that with this fast regulatory approval, Russia may be putting national prestige ahead of safety.

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Putin had said the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had been inoculated, although the final stage testing involving over 2,000 people just started this week. Such trials are considered very important before a vaccine can secure regulatory approval.

Russia has said the vaccine which is the first for the coronavirus disease to go into production, will be rolled out by the end of August.

The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed the vaccine in collaboration with the Russian Defence Ministry, said that Russia would be producing about 5 million doses a month by December or January.

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Companies

Heineken scoops more Nigerian Breweries shares in insider disclosure

The company has about 8 billion shares outstanding with Heineken as the majority shareholder.

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Nigerian Breweries major shareholder, Heineken disclosed it purchased 274,542 units at an average price N35.76 per unit.

Insider disclosures are reported on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as a regulatory requirement especially when it informs a major shareholder or director of a company purchasing shares in the company they own.

In a related development, its chairman Chief Kolawole Babalola Jamodu also purchased 10,000 units at N37 per unit.

Nigeria Breweries closed at N36 per share on Friday trading at a price to earnings of 34x. The company has about 8 billion shares outstanding with Heineken as the majority shareholder.

What this means: Insider purchases are often an indication of how shareholders perceive the company’s valuation. It can also mean a lot of things from a possible capital raise to a strengthening of their existing holdings.

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Nigerian Breweries has struggled for growth over the last few years as consumers continue to experience a change to taste and preference for alcohol.

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Business

Lagos announces additional tax incentives for businesses, individuals

Waiver of penalty for late payment of liabilities under PAYE that were due during the period when the state was under lockdown.

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LIRS further extends deadline for filing annual return by one month

The Lagos State Government has announced additional tax incentives and reliefs for businesses and individuals in the state, as part of measures aimed at reducing the burden on taxpayers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disclosure was made in a public notice issued by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) and signed by its Executive Chairman, Ayodele Subair.

The additional tax incentives are part of the several measures implemented by the LIRS to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on taxpayers in Lagos and ensure business continuity.

The government had earlier given 3 months extension of deadline for filing annual returns from March 31 to June 30, 2020.

The additional measures being implemented by the state government include:

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  • LIRS shall be allowing on a case by case basis, the payment of outstanding liabilities in instalments to ease cash flow challenges that may affect taxpayers.
  • Waiver of penalty for late payment of liabilities under PAYE that were due during the period when the state was under lockdown (March-May 2020).
  • Waiver of penalties due on late filing of 2020 annual tax returns (Form A).
  • Waiver of interest and penalty components of outstanding tax audit liabilities from 2009 to 2015 for entities that present and keep to a structured payment plan that terminates on or before December 31, 2020.
  • Grant of tax credits of 20% of cash and kind donations made for COVID-19 by resident individuals to Lagos State Government for the 2021 Year of Assessment only subject to a cap of 35% of tax due.
  • Increase of payment channels to make payment of taxes easier, simpler and more convenient for all.
  • Adopting of video conferencing as the default mode for conduct of Tax Audit Reconciliation Committee (TARC) meetings in consonance with social distancing advisories from Government and other relevant authorities.

The Lagos state government expressed hope that all residents of the state would take advantage of these palliatives and reciprocate the government’s kind gestures by discharging their civic responsibilities by promptly paying their taxes and levies to the state.

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