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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.

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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.  

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 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.

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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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Energy

Nigeria imported over 55% of cooking gas consumed in October 2020

55.47% of cooking gas consumed by Nigerians in October 2020 was imported, according to a recent report by the PPPRA.

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Nigerians paid less to refill cooking gas in October - NBS report

Nigeria imported 55.47% of cooking gas, known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), consumed in October 2020, with the remaining 44.53% sourced and supplied locally.

This is according to the monthly LPG supply data, provided by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). The data confirmed steady growth in the import of LPG, compared with the previous month (19.6%) and the corresponding period of 2019 (13.2%).

  • Data released by the PPPRA indicated that the total quantity of LPG both imported and sourced locally in October 2020 was 123.27 thousand Metric Tonnes in Vacuum (MT (Vac)).
  • Out of this, 68.37 thousand MT (Vac) was imported, and 54.90 thousand MT (Vac) was sourced locally.

(READ MORE: EndSARS: A day by day timeline of the protest that has brought Nigeria to its knees)

  • Imports grew by 19.6% in October, compared with September and by 13.2% compared to the corresponding period of 2019.
  • On the other hand, LPG sourced locally declined by 30.8%, compared with the previous month. However, it grew significantly by 219.3% compared with the corresponding period of 2019.
  • NIPCO, with Port of Discharge at BOP, Apapa and PWA, Lagos, was the highest importer of the commodity into the country in October 2020, with 32.67 thousand MT (Vac) of LPG, representing 47.8% of the total import and 26.5% of total LPG supplied in the period under review.
  • The other importers, according to the data, includes Matrix Energy, 12.46 thousand MT (Vac); Algasco LPG Services Limited, a subsidiary of Vitol, 13.82 thousand MT (Vac); Prudent, 5.63 thousand MT (Vac); and Hyson, 3.80 thousand MT (Vac).
  • The origin of the imported LPG was the USA and Equatorial Guinea. The USA supplied 50.27 thousand MT (Vac), representing 73.5%, while Equatorial Guinea supplied 18.10 thousand MT (Vac), representing 26.5%. Imported LPG was discharged at BOP, Apapa; Matrix Jetty, Warri; PWA, Lagos, and Prudent Energy Jetty, Oghara.

(READ MORE: FG gives reasons for fuel subsidy removal, discloses alternative to kerosene)

  • NIPCO was responsible for 26.42 thousand MT (Vac) of the total 54.90 thousand MT (Vac) sourced locally in October 2020; Algasco sourced 13.20 thousand MT (Vac); Stockgap Fuels Limited sourced 8.19 thousand MT (Vac), and Rainoil sourced 7.08 MT (Vac).
  • The origin of the locally sourced LPG was NLNG, Bonny and BRT. NLNG supplied 47.82 thousand MT (Vac), representing 87.1%; while BRT supplied 7.08 thousand MT (Vac) representing 12.9%. Local LPG was discharged at PWA, Lagos; Rainoil Jetty, Lagos; Lister Jetty, Apapa; and Stockgap Jetty, Port Harcourt.

What this means

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The 30.8% decline in local supply compared to the previous month is particularly worrying, considering the huge proven gas reserves in the country estimated at over 200 trillion cubic feet.

However, the 219.3% increase compared to the corresponding period in 2019 may mean that all is well. The 55.1% increase in locally sourced LPG from 35.40 thousand MT (Vac) in August to 54.90 thousand MT (Vac) in October 2020 appears to further confirm there may be no cause for alarm.

Notwithstanding the improvement, the country needs to make concerted efforts towards developing facilities and capabilities needed to improve local production of LPG, since it has abundant gas reserves.

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What you should know

It may be argued that efforts are being made towards improving on what is currently obtainable. In this context, Nairametrics reported that the country has increased its LPG storage capacity to 69,968 Metric Tonnes. The latest addition being the 8,400 MT Tonnes capacity built by Techno Oil in Kirikiri, Lagos.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: AstraZeneca vaccine could be 90% effective against the virus

AstraZeneca has said that its vaccine being developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford could be 90% effective.

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AstraZeneca suspends COVID-19 vaccine final stage trial over safety concerns, COVID-19: J&J starts vaccine trials on humans after success on monkeys

British pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, announced that the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Oxford University is 90% effective and also prevented 70% of trialists from falling ill.

This was disclosed by AstraZeneca on Monday and reported by Reuters and Bloomberg. AstraZeneca said its vaccine was 90% effective when a half dose was issued, followed by a full dose 30 days later.

AstraZeneca joins other major pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Moderna in the race to develop a vaccine for the pandemic.

What they are saying

Oxford University said it could be 70.4% effective and tests on two dose regimes show that it could be is 90%.

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Interim data shows the #OxfordVaccine is 70.4% effective and tests on two-dose regimens show that it could be 90%, moving us one step closer to supplying it at low cost around the world,” they announced on social media. Monday’s announcement came after trial data was released in the UK and Brazil.
“We see a lot of merit in this regimen and we will now start discussions with regulators into incorporating this dose combination for further clinical investigation,” an Astra spokesman told Bloomberg.
Chief Executive, Pascal Soriot, said: “This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency.

The company expects to have up to 200 million doses by the end of the year and produce up to 700 million doses by the first quarter of 2021.

The new vaccine also answers issues of vaccine storage and distribution, as it can be kept at basic refrigerator temperature for transport, making it much easier to transport, compared to Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines.

What you should know 

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Nairametrics reported earlier this month that Pfizer Inc disclosed that its experimental vaccine, which is jointly developed with BioNTech was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19, based on initial data from a large study, in the ongoing phase 3 trials.

Last week, Pharmaceutical company, Moderna Inc, stated its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective in treating coronavirus, after preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial.

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: Insurance firms can seek refund after indemnifying victims – MD, NICON Insurance

NICON MD has stated that it is possible for the insurance firms to be compensated by the FG after victims have been indemnified.

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The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NICON Insurance Limited, Mr. Muhammadu Bagudu Hussaini, has advised Insurance firms to maximize certain provisions in the constitution that guarantees their refund after compensating victims of the recent #EndSARS protest, opining that it is possible for the insurance firms to be compensated by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

He made the disclosure during an interview with the Daily Trust, where he decried the high level of losses encountered during the protest and the imminent high claims on insurance firms, which if care is not taken, might affect liquidity in the system.

Mr. Hussaini stated that the government has the machinery to pay the insurance companies without recourse to treasury, but he was quick to point out that it is a dormant machinery.

What they are saying

Elucidating his points, Mr. Hussaini said: “There will be a large volume of claims which the insurance industry would have to pay. I have no doubt about the capacity of the insurance industry to meet its obligations on claims that may arise from the destruction across the country.

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“However, two issues would arise because the context of the claims are huge and would come in at the same time. There will be no spread, thus this will impact the finances of the underwriters and may destabilize their finances.

“What happened was as a result of breakdown of law and order. Section 14 (2b) of the Nigerian Constitution vests the duty of guaranteeing security and providing for the welfare of the citizens in the hands of government – the executive precisely. I will look at the damages from the protest as a failure of the government to provide security and welfare for the citizens.

The section says the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Thus, insurance companies have a subrogation right – the right to recover from the government their funds after they pay the claims arising from the destruction.

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Therefore, I advise the insurance companies to pay their claims and seek refund on the basis of Section 14 (2b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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