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Business News

Four reasons why Buhari must reject the revised NHF bill 

The revised National Housing Fund Law, which was recently passed by the National Assembly, could lead to elevated costs for several businesses in the country.

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Four reasons why Buhari must reject the revised NHF bill 

The revised National Housing Fund Law, which was recently passed by the National Assembly, could lead to elevated costs for several businesses in the country.

Here are highlights of the law:

  • Mandatory 2.5% contribution of monthly income by employees earning minimum wage and above in public and private sectors  
  • 2.5% of income by self-employed individuals  
  • 2.5% on cement, locally produced or imported 
  • Employers are to deduct and remit the contributions monthly 
  • The penalty for noncompliance of up to N100 million for corporates and N10m for individuals
  • Sanctions include cancellation of operating licence of banks, insurance companies and PFAs for violations 
  • Withdrawal by contributors who have attained the age of 60 years or 35 years of service to be at an interest rate of 2% per annum 
  • The Fund and any refund of contributions are exempted from payment of taxes 

 Implications of the law

The law, if assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, could have several negative effects on both businesses and investors in the country. Here are a few drawbacks of the law.

Businesses will be stifled

Section 6 of the law states that every commercial bank is mandated to invest a minimum of 10% profit before tax into the fund at an interest rate of 1% above the interest rate payable on current accounts.

The same applies to merchant banks, insurance companies, and pension fund administrators.  

Some of these firms already pay a multiplicity of taxes. Corporate Income taxes, as well as Education Trust Fund deductions. They will thus be forced to either lower their profits through legal means.  

 Higher Building Costs

The imposition of a 2.5% levy on cement produced in the country will lead to more expensive building costs. An irony, since the very essence of the law, is to enhance affordable housing.

This cost will eventually be passed on to the final consumer since the dominant cement operator is essentially a price setter.

Draconian fines

The fines for non-compliance by both individuals and businesses are highly draconian. Few businesses can afford to pay a N100 million fine. This will force many enterprises to go under.

Deal book 300 x 250

Investors are affected

The companies in the financial space are largely the most profitable in a struggling economy. The dominant owners may get away through a byzantine web of technical agreements and fees, but the retail investors will bear the brunt of the action  

Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training.He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy.You can contact him via [email protected]

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Companies

MTN Nigeria declares largest ever revenue by a listed Nigerian entity for FY 2020

The strong revenue growth was basically due to its data-led segment as sales from the segment expanded by an impressive 51.5% Year to Year.

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UACN appoints Toriola as new Director 

MTN Nigeria recently announced another ground-breaking full-year turnover in the financial year of 2020, the highest ever recorded by a Nigerian listed entity.

Specifically, the telecom giant’s revenue expanded by 15.1% year-to-year to N1.3 trillion in the review period. The strong revenue growth was basically due to its data-led segment as sales from the segment expanded by an impressive 51.5% Year to Year.

  • Voice sales rose relatively by 5.6% year to year as the global switch to data-enabled communication subsisted.
  • MTN Nigeria Plc also announced a N5.90/share final dividend on impressive growth in its free Cash Flow for the financial year of 2020.
  • Notably, MTNN’s 4G network now covers 60.1% of the population compared to 43.8% in 2019.
  • According to MTN Nigeria, the suspension of new SIM registration enforced in mid-December did not have a material effect on the voice segment, which managed a 10.6% YoY revenue growth in Q4’20 (vs 7.0% YoY in Q3’20).

In contrast, data revenue growth notably moderated to 37.5% YoY in Q4’20 compared to 55.5% YoY in Q3’20.

In a research report released by CardinalStone, the most valuable telecom company’s margin was adversely affected by currency devaluation;

“Margins were adversely affected by the effect of naira devaluation and expenses associated with new sites’ roll-out to boost 4G network coverage in FY’20.

“On the former, we note that MTNN expanded the scope of its service agreement with IHS Holding Limited and changed the reference rate for converting USD tower expenses to NAFEX (vs CBN’s official rate previously). Thus, over the full-year period, the company’s operating margin contracted by 1.9 ppts YoY to 31.7%,” the report stated.

The company’s margin was also negatively affected by the higher cost of borrowing and the ultra-low rates prevailing at Nigeria’s debt market;

“Net finance cost increased by 25.4% YoY on the impact of higher borrowings and lower interest on investment in government securities.

Deal book 300 x 250

“Borrowings rose by over 26.3% to N521.2 billion in FY’20, after the company notably issued its N100 billion Commercial paper in June 2020. The effect of higher borrowings combined with a tax increase (a consequence of lower investment allowance and exempt income) to keep after-tax profit growth subdued at 0.9% YoY.”

That being said, in spite of its impressive growth in revenue the Stock was trailing by 3.28% trading at N174 per share.

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Energy

Oil marketers say petrol will sell for N230 per litre in March

Oil marketers have insisted that petrol will sell for as much as N230 per litre in March.

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petrol subsidy, PPPRA, Pump price

Oil marketers, on Sunday, said that Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol is to sell for as much as N230 per litre in March.

This is coming against the background of insistence by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that it has no plans to increase the price of petrol in March.

There has been a reported reappearance of queues at filling stations in some parts of Lagos and Abuja as panic buying and petrol hoarding occurs in some filling stations.

According to a report by New Telegraph, the National Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mike Osatuyi, declared that the whole nation had crossed the bridge and that there was no hiding place for a hike in fuel price.

What the IPMAN top officials are saying

Osatuyi said, “I have just returned from a meeting in Abuja. What I have observed is that many stations have closed down and there are queues in many places in both Lagos and Abuja. Nigeria has crossed the bridge, there is no hiding place, the N1.2 trillion, which was hitherto annual spending on subsidy, will be borne by the market.

“As it is, the prices of crude oil have gone up to $67 per barrel and, with this, the price of PMS will be between N220 per litre and N230 per litre. I was told by someone that the Group Managing Director of NNPC told them that the official price is likely to be N206 per litre.

“As it is now, all the stations that have shut down their gates must have heard information before they took that action. I want us all to wait by tomorrow we will all see clearly what will happen. There have been annual spending of N1.2 trillion on fuel subsidy and now that the subsidy has said to be abolished, that money must come from somewhere.

‘’The money must be coming from somewhere. “NNPC is not an NGO (non-governmental organisation), there is no budgetary provision for subsidy again and instead of wasting it on subsidy, it should be deployed to other sectors,’’ he said.

On what can be done to cushion the negative effects of higher fuel price, Osatuyi said: “This plan to cushion the negative effects of higher fuel price should be the next important thing. The government can do the free conversion of vehicle from fuel to gas. This should be done to help Nigerians who will definitely be affected by this fuel price hike.”

On his part, the IPMAN National Public Relations Officer, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, condemned the panic buying and return of long queues at some filling stations within Abuja.

While assuring Nigerians that the normal supply of petroleum products would soon be restored with the commencement of loading at various depots, Yakubu said the increase in the global price of crude oil has affected the price of petrol.

He said, “We want to assure the buyers that government and marketers are doing everything possible to ensure that the products are available in every filling station within a few days starting from today (Sunday).’’

What you should know

  • The state oil giant, NNPC, had in a press statement on Sunday, assured Nigerians that despite the increase in the price of crude oil, it has no plans to increase the ex-depot price of petrol in the month of March. This is coming after it gave a similar assurance earlier in February, that it was not going to increase the price of the product in February.
  • NNPC explained that the decision was to allow ongoing engagements with organized labour and other stakeholders on an acceptable framework that will not expose the ordinary Nigerian to any hardship, to be concluded.
  • This uncertainty has led to hoarding of the product by depot owners and some retail marketers, which has led to the return of queues in some filling stations.
  • The Federal Government had in March 2020, announced the removal of fuel subsidy and full deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry, which will allow market forces to determine the price of the product.

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