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Nigeria’s foreign reserves to increase by $150 billion in 10 years – FG 

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has disclosed that the country’s foreign reserve is expected to increase by $150 billion in the next 10 years through the ‘Zero oil plan’ initiative. 

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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

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has disclosed that the country’s foreign reserve is expected to increase by $150 billion in the next 10 years through the ‘Zero oil plan’ initiative.  

This is contained in the report presented to the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday.  

The detailsThe latest announcement by NEC to build reserves by $150 billion in ten years, represents a review against an earlier statement credited to the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Olusegun Awolowo, that Nigeria has 22 products that will attract $150 billion into the country in 20 years.   

At the NEC meeting, the Governor of Jiagawa State Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, speaking on behalf of the Committee on export promotiondisclosed that the Zero Oil Plan envisioned in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) will add at least extra $150 billion to Nigeria’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non-oil exports over the next 10 years. 

President Buhari signing 2019 Budget, List of President Buhari's Cabinet members, Ministries Departments and Agencies of Nigeria, Governors federal allocation

President Buhari and his first tenure cabinet members 

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[READ MORE: FRAUD: FG threatens to extradite accused Nigerians]

The Committee also stated that the Zero Oil Plan would provide 500,000 jobs annually for the country, with 20 million Nigerians out of poverty.  

The achievements:  Specifically, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) introduced the Zero-Oil Plan in October 2016, during the nadir of the oil price slump. It was basically an effort to mobilise public and private resources towards boosting the country’s meagre non-oil exports. 

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  • While providing further updates on the achievement so far through the Zero Oil Plan, Abubakar stated that non-oil exports (excluding natural gas) had risen from U$1.17 billion in 2016 to US$3.16 billion in 2018, and this means that Strategic sectors identified in the Zero Oil Plan have seen growth.  
  • It was further disclosed that a State Export Development Fund has also been created through N50 billion debenture to be disbursed by NEXIM, in which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has invested.  
  • According to the report of the Committee, the Fund offers long–term loan at single-digit interest rate to qualifying export-oriented projects under the State Export Development Programme and the Anchor exporter scheme. 

The Nigerian economyDelivering updates on the economy, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National PlanningZainab Ahmed informed NEC that the Nigerian macroeconomic environment has stabilized in recovering gradually. 

According to Ahmed, there has been eight (8) successive month of economic growth since emerging from recession and ERGP remains the basis for the Medium Term fiscal strategy for the economy.  

 [READ ALSO: Shell’s OML 11: FG ordered to renew licence for 20 years]

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 24th of November 2020, 168 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 66,607 confirmed cases.

On the 24th of November 2020, 168 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 5,838 samples across the country.

To date, 66,607 cases have been confirmed, 62,311 cases have been discharged and 1,169 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 749,136 tests have been carried out as of November 24th, 2020 compared to 743,298 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 24th November 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 66,607
  • Total Number Discharged – 62,311
  • Total Deaths – 1,169
  • Total Tests Carried out – 749,136

According to the NCDC, the 168 new cases were reported from 10 states- FCT (61), Lagos (50), Kaduna (27), Oyo (12), Rivers (6), Katsina (5), Ogun (3), Kwara (2), Edo (1), Kano (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,018, followed by Abuja (6,576), Plateau (3,805), Oyo (3,715), Rivers (2,963), Kaduna (2,940), Edo (2,695), Ogun (2,156), Delta (1,823), Kano (1,777), Ondo (1,727), Enugu (1,332),  Kwara (1,095), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,012), Osun (945), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (753), and Borno (745).

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Imo State has recorded 662  cases, Benue (493), Nasarawa (485), Bayelsa (445),  Ekiti (354), Jigawa (328), Akwa Ibom (319), Niger (296), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (165), Taraba (157), Yobe (94), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

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

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.

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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. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

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

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Hospitality & Travel

US imposes $15,000 visa bond on 15 African countries, others

The US has issued a visa rule requiring tourist and business travelers in some countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the visa fees.

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US imposes $15,000 visa bond on 15 African countries, others, Berger Paints' improved margins ride on the back of cost efficiency

The outgoing administration of US President, Donald Trump, on Monday, November 23, 2020, issued a new temporary visa rule that requires tourist and business travelers from 15 African countries and others to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the visa fees, which ranges from $16 to $300, in order to visit the United States.

According to TheCable, the US State Department said the visa bond pilot programme, expected to take effect from December 24 and end on June 24, 2021, is targeted at countries whose citizens have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas for business travelers.

READ: Update: No one will take our democracy away, not now, not ever- Biden

The Trump administration said the six-month pilot program aims to test the feasibility of collecting such bonds and will serve as a diplomatic deterrence to overstaying the visas. Hence, overstay places significant pressure on Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.

The visa bond rule will permit U.S. consular officers to request tourist and business travelers from countries whose nationals had an overstay rate of 10% and above in 2019 to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000.

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READ: COVID-19: IMF Chief predicts $345 billion financing gap in African countries 

The countries whose tourist and business travelers fall into this category and subjected to the bond requirements are 24 countries, including 15 African countries. While these nations had higher rates of overstays, they sent relatively fewer travelers to the United States.

The countries include Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Laos, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen

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READ: Falling Oil prices: Nigeria’s Halloween reality

Nigerian travelers escaped paying the temporary visa rule, as their overall score was below the threshold of 10% and above overstaying rate.

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Economy & Politics

Senate approves issuance of N148bn promissory notes to Bayelsa, 4 others

Promissory notes worth N148,141,969,161.24 has been approved by the Senate as refund to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers States

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Senate approves issuance of promissory notes worth N148 billion as a refund to five states

Promissory notes worth N148.141billion have been approved by the Senate as a refund to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun, and Rivers States for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.

The approval which was given by the Senate at the plenary on Tuesday, 24th November 2020, came after the presentation of a report by the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, led by Senator Ordia Clifford (PDP-Edo).

READ: Banks to lose interest on petrol subsidy-induced loans

According to a news report by NAN, this is a go-ahead to the Federal Government, who had sought the approval of the Senate for issuance of promissory notes for a refund on federal projects executed by State governments.

The request was contained in a letter addressed to President of Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan by President Muhammadu Buhari, and read at plenary. The Senate referred the matter to the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts for further legislative input.

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(READ MORE: FG inaugurates steering committee on Covid-19 economic recovery)

Senator Ordia Clifford, while presenting the report of the committee, said the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance; Federal Commissioners of Finance and Works in the five states, had briefed the committee on details of the projects.

He said the Committee was presented with documents relating to the approvals of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for the execution of the projects and certificates of completion, amongst other documents.

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READ: Boosting IGR; A necessity for states to avoid total dependence on FAAC allocations

At the plenary today, Senator Ordia moved the motion that the Senate approves the Committee’s recommendations by approving the issuance of the promissory notes to the State governments.

According to him, the amount due to the five states is N148.14billion.

  • Bayelsa was allotted N38.40billion
  • Cross River was allotted N18.39billion
  • Ondo was allotted N7.82billion
  • Osun was allotted N4.57billion
  • Rivers was allotted N78.95billion

What they are saying

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, disclosed that records showed PDP states had the highest refund, he said: “If you look at the list of states, only two are APC states and they have the least in terms of refund, this is fantastic and a mark of leadership by the Federal Government. This shows tolerance and leadership by this administration.”

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