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5,000 SMEs to benefit from $300 million FG grant

5,000 SMEs will benefit from a $300 million investment initiative set aside for businesses in the Agricultural sector.

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FG foreign reserves Nigeria Yemi-Osinbajo, FG negotiates with Governors on bail-out fund, as NEC approves 100 billion for NLTP, bail-out fund States Governors, FG earns N28.6 trillion from VAT, others , Ease of doing Business: States must partner with Federal Government – Osinbajo , AfCFTA: Nigeria’s financial footprints to be extended across Africa – Osinbajo , FG seeks partnership with National Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, here’s why , Osinbajo says FG’s investment to take advantage of Africa’s $200bn tourism potential is massive, Pres. Buhari’s plan to tax US tech companies might provoke US trade war https://www.yemiosinbajo.ng/vps-lecture-at-the-national-defence-college-course-28-lecture-event/ https://punchng.com/digital-firms-to-pay-tax-under-new-finance-act-osinbajo-2/ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/business/economy/digital-tax-oecd.html Nigeria at risk of trade war with United States as the Nigerian Government says it will impose taxes on technology companies like Facebook, Google, and other digital companies that have been escaping tax payment in Nigeria due to their lack of presence within the country. The US has threatened tariffs on imports from countries that impose such digital taxes. The tech companies with heavy revenue footprint in Nigeria now have their backs against the wall because President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration want to tax them to grow Nigeria’s revenue; which has led to the development of the Finance Act. The Finance Act is the solution of President Buhari to the revenue problem which the Finance Minister, Ahmad Zainab, said Nigeria has. The Nigerian government is looking to grow its revenue through taxes, and one of such is the digital tax which Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, said will commence despite the threat of the US which is aimed at protecting the silicon companies. No more back door operation: Facebook, Google, Amazon, YouTube and many more digital businesses have a sizeable market in Nigeria, but don’t have a physical structure for their operations; this has cost Nigeria tax revenue. These companies are known to prefer situating their companies in tax havens where taxes are low compared to other African and European countries. Ireland and Bermuda are some of the tax havens for these multinational companies. But according to Osinbajo, the period of making gains from their operation in Nigeria without paying tax is over. Osinbajo, while speaking at The National Defence College, Course 28 Lecture Event, said that, “Let me also briefly mention the new provisions on Taxation of Digital Economy and Non-Resident Companies. This is a very important aspect of our taxation policy. Before the Finance Act, only companies that had a physical presence or a fixed base in Nigeria could be taxed. “So, most digital companies, I mean any of the big technology companies, or multi-national digital companies, that did not have physical offices in Nigeria, made significant income from Nigeria from online activities, such as advertising, movie streaming, online gaming and e-commerce from subscribers in Nigeria, but paid no taxes whatsoever because they did not have a physical base in Nigeria. So now we are no longer relying on the fixed base or physical address criterion.” He added that, “Under the Finance Act, once you have a Significant Economic Presence (SEP) in Nigeria, you are liable to tax. Whether you are a resident here or you are not resident as a company, as long as your economic presence is significant, you are liable to tax. If you are streaming online, advertising using Google adverts, whether you are resident here or not, you are now subject to tax. “So, non-residents who previously had no fixed base and no Nigerian tax liability will now be liable to tax based on the SEP criterion. The Minister of Finance is empowered to issue a regulation defining what Significant Economic Presence means. So, she just defines the scope of what we will be looking out for in terms of Significant Economic Presence.” Osinbajo explained. Nigeria is not alone in this crusade: Nigeria is not the only country trying to tax these technology companies. The European Union have also been coming after them for taxes. The EU is also stating that if the technology companies are making economic gains through their operation despite the lack of physical presence in several European countries, then the tech conglomerates should be taxed. This has led to review of tax laws by the EU. According to a report by New York Times, new rules to tax these multinational companies are being discussed by about 130 countries through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The review has become necessary as digital economy begins to open new revenue sources. Should Nigeria tread carefully? The United States has threated to hit any country imposing taxes on the technology companies - which are mostly American – with tariffs on import. This put Nigeria at a rather impossible position, as the country is not economically strong enough to enter a trade war or go on a tit for tat battle with the US. According to Q3 report, the US is the fifth biggest export destination for Nigeria, having imported N322.2 billion (6.28%) goods from Nigeria, with crude oil constituting N329.8 billion. Although, the US is behind Ghana, India, Netherlands and Spain, it doesn’t change the significance of the US market to the Nigerian economy. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s top import sources include the U.S, accounting for N747 billion in H1 2019. Franch had moved to tax the online businesses but have now delayed the plan this year after a meeting with the US; the US has also paused its tariff threat against France. Britain is also one of the digital tax drivers. With such threat hanging over the digital tax, it’s unlikely Nigeria will go ahead taxing these technology companies, as US feels such tax is discriminatory against US firms, and have suggested these companies be allowed to decide if they want to operate with the new tax standards., FG will provide succor for daily wage earners as lockdown continues – Osinbajo

5,000 Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) will benefit from a $300 million investment initiative set aside for businesses in the Agricultural sector.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo announced this at the inauguration of the scheme in Abuja. He reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to provide a favourable clime for small businesses in the country via a partnership with the U.S. and the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA).

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Nigeria's Agricultural sector records highest growth in Q1 2019

[READ MORE: PwC reveals Nigeria’s real estate is holding about $900 billion to ransom]

Osinbajo noted that the new partnership was a seed towards cementing a greater agricultural future for Nigeria.

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Adam Saffer, the USAID contractor in charge of the Feed the Future (FTF) Nigerian Agribusiness Investment activity added that the opportunity was very huge and should be adopted.

He noted that the arable land, mass bodies of water, human resources, high-yielding soil, and natural resources possessed by Nigeria are all capable of making the country an agricultural giant in Africa.

According to Gaffer, the Feed the Future Project would involve collaboration among banks, investors, processors and every important link in the agricultural sector. He said the collaboration would make the environment more enabling and even rewarding for investors.

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“With a more efficient agribusiness sector, food generation, better income and more inclusiveness of women and youth, we can end up with better food quality at a lower price.  Our activity is trying to activate $300 million from the investors, from the banks and from the financial institutions to make this happen.

[READ MORE: NCAA moves to eliminate fake travel agents]

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, who was present at the inauguration explained that the role of the U.S. Government in the partnership borders on improving the Agric value chain in Nigeria while guiding against any risks that would come up in the process of relating with financial institutions.

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The targeted states include Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, and Cross River states.

Patricia

Reincarnated as a lover of stocks, Angel investors, seed funds, and anything aligned to tech or startups raising money, Joseph's work at Nairametrics involves following the money to wherever it leads. Before joining Nairametrics, he won an investigative journalism fellowship with ICIR, appeared in several national dallies, with hard-hitting opinions, features and investigative pieces. He has also engaged in content marketing and copywriting for a top e-commerce firm in Nigeria.

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Around the World

America announces modified guidelines for foreign students returning to its schools

If you are a student already enrolled in an American university or just about to be enrolled, then you should read this carefully.

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guidelines for foreign students returning to US schools

The U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), on Monday announced a much-needed update regarding the guidelines for foreign students hoping to return to campuses for the autumn semester.

A statement published on ICE’s website clearly spelled out the guidelines. Unfortunately, for some of the foreign students, these guidelines might as well come across as confusing instead of straightforward/explanatory.

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Before we proceed to ICE’s modified guidelines, it is important to first note that some American universities have announced various modalities for class attendance amid the ravaging pandemic. For instance, while some schools said their classes can only be attended online, for now, others said they are committed to regular classroom settings, even as some others have plans to combine both face-to-face lecturing and online classes.

As a foreign student planning to return to school in the USA this autumn, the modality adopted by your school will simply determine how ICE’s new guidelines will affect you. Let us now examine the guidelines.

Modifications to ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP)

Guidelines on online classes: ICE said that foreign students enrolled in American universities offering only online classes, will not be granted student’s visas to return to the country. Now, this is tricky because even though such students are permitted by the U.S Customs and Border Protection to enter the country, they will not just be granted their student visas by American consulates anywhere in the world. The implication of this, therefore, is that no foreign student is allowed to be in the USA while undertaking online classes offered by an American university.

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Foreign students who wish to return/remain in the USA during the autumn semester must ensure that their classes will not be taught online. If it so happens that a foreign student is enrolled in a school offering only online classes, such a student has the option of transferring to another school that is conducting face-to-face lecturing. Otherwise, the student should stay back in their home country and take the full course online.

Foreign students who are already in the country but enrolled in schools offering only online courses must also ensure that either switch to a different school with the face-to-face lecture option, or leave the country willing. Otherwise, such foreign students risk being deported.

“Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings,” part of the guideline said.

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 Guidelines on regular classes: The revised guideline specified that foreign students enrolled in American schools where classes are still taught face-to-face are required to be available on campus to attend classes during the autumn semester. Upon return to campus, such students are allowed to decide whether to combine both physical class attendance and online classes.

Other guidelines: Foreign students attending US schools that are combining online classes with physical lectures will not be allowed to only attend online lectures while on campus. Instead, they must attend both the online classes and face-to-face classes.

Some issues to consider

-It is obvious that ICE is trying to stop some foreign students from trooping to the USA when they can remotely receive lectures online. After all, this will help prevent further trans-border spread of COVID-19. However, online classes come special challenges, especially for students in foreign countries. The time difference is one of such challenges; what happens when an online class is holding by 12 noon at Harvard when a student somewhere in South East Asia supposed to be sleeping?

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-For now, American consulates around the world have suspended visa issuance. This poses a serious challenge to foreign students who were just freshly admitted into American universities and will student visas before they can be on campus for the autumn semester. Now, the saddest part is that any student who does not resume along with the other students, will not be allowed to resume later.

-Meanwhile, Nigerian students hoping to return to the US for their studies would have to grapple with immigration uncertainties mentioned above, along with foreign exchange troubles. Recall that even though the Central Bank of Nigeria announced that it has resumed the sale of dollars to Nigerian students studying abroad, the exchange rate for naira against the dollar remains high. And this is a major challenge to any student who will need to pay the high tuition fees of American universities.

Patricia
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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 6th of July 2020, 575 new confirmed cases and 9 deaths were recorded in Nigeria bringing the total confirmed cases recorded in the country to 29,286.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continue to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 29,286 confirmed cases.

On the 6th of July 2020, 575 new confirmed cases and 9 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 1,831 samples across the country.

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To date, 29,286 cases have been confirmed, 11,828 cases have been discharged and 654 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 152,952 tests have been carried out as of July 6th, 2020 compared to 151,121 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 6th July 2020

  • Total Number of Cases – 29,286
  • Total Number Discharged – 11,828
  • Total Deaths – 654
  • Total Tests Carried out – 152,952

According to the NCDC, the 575 new cases were reported from 20 states- Lagos (123), FCT (100), Delta (58), Edo (52), Ogun (42), Katsina (24), Bayelsa (23), Rivers (22), Borno (19), Plateau (18), Ondo (18), Oyo (17), Kwara (15), Osun (13), Enugu (9), Nasarawa  (7), Abia (6), Cross River (5), Kaduna (3), Ekiti (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 11,367, followed by Abuja (2,281), Oyo (1,530), Edo (1,435), Delta (1,285), Kano (1,268), Rivers (1,205), Ogun (1,047),  Kaduna (868), Katsina (628), Borno (547), Gombe (520), Bauchi (516), Ebonyi (503), Ondo (474), Plateau (454), Abia (391), Enugu (381), Imo (352), Jigawa (318).

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Kwara state has recorded 284 cases, Bayelsa (268), Nasarawa (232), Osun (178), Sokoto (153),  Niger (122), Akwa Ibom (112), Adamawa (99), Benue (97), Kebbi (84), Zamfara (76), Anambra (73), Yobe (61), Ekiti (45), Taraba (22), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases.

 

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

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Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020.

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READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

DateConfirmed caseNew casesTotal deathsNew deathsTotal recoveryActive casesCritical cases
July 6, 202029286575654911828168047
July 5, 2020287115446451111665164017
July 4, 202028167603634611462160717
July 3, 2020275644546281211069158677
July 2, 2020271106266161310801156937
July 1, 2020264847906031310152157297
June 30, 202025694561590179746153587
June 29, 20202513356657389402151587
June 28, 20202486749056579007149957
June 27, 20202407777955848625148947
June 26, 20202329868455458253144917
June 25, 20202261459454977822142437
June 24, 20202202064954297613138657
June 23, 20202137145253387338135007
June 22, 20202091967552577109132857
June 21, 202020242436518126879128477
June 20, 202019808661506196718125847
June 19, 202019147667487126581120797
June 18, 20201848074547566307116987
June 17, 202017735587469145967112997
June 16, 202017148490455315623110707
June 15, 20201665857342445349108857
June 14, 202016085403420135220104457
June 13, 20201568250140785101101747
June 12, 20201518162739912489198917
June 11, 2020145546813875449496737
June 10, 20201387340938217435191407
June 9, 2020134646633654420688937
June 8, 2020128013153617404084007
June 7, 20201248626035412395981737
June 6, 2020122333893429382680657
June 5, 20201184432833310369678157
June 4, 2020115163503238353576467
June 3, 2020111663483151332975227
June 2, 20201081924131415323972667
June 1, 20201057841629912312271579
May 31, 20201016230728714300768687
May 30, 2020985555327312285667267
May 29, 202093023872612269763447
May 28, 202089151822595259260647
May 27, 202087333892545250159787
May 26, 2020834427624916238557107
May 25, 202080682292337231155247
May 24, 202078393132265226353607
May 23, 202075262652210217451317
May 22, 2020726124522110200750337
May 21, 2020701633921111190748987
May 20, 202066772842008184046377
May 19, 202064012261921173444757
May 18, 202061752161919164443407
May 17, 202059593881826159441837
May 16, 202056211761765147239737
May 15, 202054452881713132039544
May 14, 202051621931683118038154
May 13, 202049711841646107037374
May 12, 20204787146158695936704
May 11, 202046412421521090235894
May 10, 202043992481421777834794
May 9, 202041512391271174532784
May 8, 202039123861181067931154
May 7, 20203526381108460128184
May 6, 20203145195104553425071
May 5, 2020295014899548123704
May 4, 2020280224594641722912
May 3, 2020255817088240020702
May 2, 20202388220861735119522
May 1, 20202170238691035117512
April 30, 2020193220459731715562
April 29, 2020172819652730713692
April 28, 2020153219545425512322
April 27, 20201337644102559942
April 26, 20201273914152399942
April 25, 20201182873632229252
April 24, 202010951143312088552
April 23, 20209811083231977532
April 22, 2020873912931976482
April 21, 20207821172631975602
April 20, 2020665382311884662
April 19, 2020627862221704362
April 18, 2020541482021663562
April 17, 2020493511841593172
April 16, 2020442351311522772
April 15, 2020407341211282672
April 14, 202037330111992632
April 13, 202034320100912422
April 12, 20203235100852282
April 11, 202031813103702382
April 10, 20203051770582402
April 9, 20202881471512302
April 8, 20202742260442262
April 7, 20202541661442042
April 6, 2020238650351982
April 5, 20202321851331942
April 4, 2020214540251850
April 3, 20202092542251800
April 2, 20201841020201620
April 1, 2020174352091630
March 31, 202013982091280
March 30, 2020131202181210
March 29, 2020111221031070
March 28, 20208919103850
March 27, 2020705103660
March 26, 20206514102620
March 25, 2020517102480
March 24, 2020444102410
March 23, 20204010112370
March 22, 2020308002280
March 21, 20202210001210
March 20, 2020124001110
March 19, 20208000170
March 18, 20208500170
March 17, 20203100030
March 16, 20202000020
March 15, 20202000020
March 14, 20202000020
March 13, 20202000020
March 12, 20202000020
March 11, 20202000020
March 10, 20202000020
March 9, 20202100020
March 8, 20201000010
March 7, 20201000010
March 6, 20201000010
March 5, 20201000010
March 4, 20201000010
March 3, 20201000010
March 2, 20201000010
March 1, 20201000010
February 29, 20201000010
February 28, 20201100010

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Entertainment

FG approves 60% debt forgiveness for licensed radio and television stations  

The effective date of the debt forgiveness shall be July 10 – October 6, 2020. 

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LICENSE, FG reiterates commitment to implement reform of broadcasting code , Economy: FG restates commitment to border closure, FG releases new broadcast media regulation to affect DStv’s monopoly 

The Nigerian government granted a 60% debt forgiveness to all licensees indebted to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). The move was an additional step to the 2 months license fee waiver granted to the industry as a palliative to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said the measures were put in place as a result of the report submitted by the post-COVID-19 initiative committee for the creative industry. 

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READ MORE: Why telcos are very worried by this NCC directive

He added that many radio and television stations remain indebted to the government to the tune of N7.8 billion. 

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The Minister added that the debt forgiveness will not apply to pay-TV service operators but to only terrestrial TV and radio stations in the country.

He added that the criterion for enjoying the debt forgiveness is for the debtor to pay 40% of their existing debt within 3 months. Any station that is unable to pay the 40% indebtedness within 3 months window shall forfeit the opportunity. 

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Existing license fee is discounted by 30% for all open terrestrial radio and television services effective July 10. 

The effective date of the debt forgiveness shall be July 10 – October 6, 2020. 

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Patricia
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