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The proposed VAT hike and the likely effect

FEC approved a 44% increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5.0% to 7.2%, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed that the application of the new rate.

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How Federal Government plans to increase VAT to 7.2% affects you

Yesterday, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a 44% increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5.0% to 7.2%. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed that the application of the new rate would be subject to amendment of the extant VAT law which could be sometime in 2020. She also noted that the increase was being proposed to help the states and local government get additional revenue to be able to meet the obligations of the new minimum wage.

The schedule of VAT is given in a 1997 document which is still in force. Generally, basic materials (though not cement) are exempted, as are basic foods, though most prepared foods and consumer products attract VAT. Professional services also attract VAT, which has negative cost implications for most companies. A criticism of the current VAT regime is that it functions more like a Sales Tax than VAT as understood in other jurisdictions, and therefore the re-claiming element is not well developed.

[READ ALSO: FAAC disburses N788.14 billion for the month of October]

The FEC approval of the VAT increase did not come as a surprise to us as there have been discussions on the need for an increment as a way of bridging the huge fiscal deficit of the federal government, which has previously been financed with borrowings- a situation that has raised concerns on the nation’s debt sustainability. We recall that in mid-July 2019, the Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC), Engr. Elias Mbiam called for an increment in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5% to about 7.5% to shore up Nigeria’s revenue base which is heavily reliant on oil earnings (c.60%), with direct taxation, VAT and excise duties currently making up a small part.

[READ ALSO:Presidency claps back against HSBC]

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While we agree that there is the need for government to bridge its revenue gap, we think the proposed increase in VAT may further worsen the living conditions of consumers whose real income have been stifled over recent years. Looking at the performance of consumer goods companies over the past 18 months, one striking feature is the consistent decline in reported revenue, suggesting that consumer demand remains weak.

In our view, the plan by the Federal Government to finance the increment in the wage burden through tax increment would force companies to raise prices significantly, ultimately placing the incidence of the tax increment on the consumers. In effect, we see this as a fiscal policy designed to “rob Peter to pay Paul”. We also expect that the increase in minimum wage to be eroded by price increases of key household items, offsetting the expected improvement in purchasing power. The proposed tax policies will also pose a downside for foreign investments in the Nigerian industrial climate as well as growth of SMEs. We believe companies who are unable to raise prices might lay-off workers in a bid to manage costs, further impacting on the level of unemployment.

 

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FEATURED

Official: Imo State is unemployment capital of Nigeria

According to NBS, 75.1% of the total employable people in Imo State are either underemployed or unemployed.

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Ogun, Imo States give free hand sanitizers

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics reveal Imo State, located in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

In contrast, Anambra State is the state with the least unemployment in the country with 13.1% unemployment rate. The national average for the unemployment rate is 27.1%

Imo State has an unemployment rate of 48.7% as at the second quarter of 2020, by far the highest when compared to any other state in the country.

According to the data, 75.1% of the total employable people in the state are either underemployed or unemployed.

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  • Total number of employable people – 2.48 million
  • Fully employed people – 618, 481
  • Unemployed people in the state – 593. 347
  • Underemployed – 656, 394

Imo State is largely a civil service town and has been unlucky with state governors over the last 20 years. Private sector jobs are hard to come by in the serene state with most industries setting up show in nearby cities like Aba, Port Harcourt, and Onitsha.

The city was once notorious for ritual motivated murders and kidnappings but has since overcome these challenges.

States Unemployment Rates – Q2 2020

Other States

Akwa Ibom State is next on the list with an unemployment rate of 1.14 million people. The state’s underemployed population is about 551k people while the unemployment and underemployment rates combined is 66.9%.

The best: The state with the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria is Anambra State with 13.1% out of the total working population of 2.25 million people. The state was 37 out of 37 states in the ranking of unemployment by state. About 1.9 million people in Anambra State are either fully employed (1.57 million) or under-employed (384k) in the state.

Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial capital and where most graduates rush to for jobs currently has an unemployment rate of 19.5% and sits at 27 in the state by state unemployment ladder. The data shows about 6.8 million people make up the labour force population in Lagos State out of which 3.99 million people are fully employed and another 1.5 million people are underemployed. About 870k Lagosians who are employable did absolutely nothing.

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Concentration: In terms of the concentration of unemployed people, Rivers State came first with a whopping 1.7 million people out of jobs in the state. The state as a working population of 3.9 million. Rivers State unemployment rate is 43.7 and ranks third as the worst. 21.7 million Nigerians are unemployed.

Lagos State had the most employed persona with about 3.99 million people out of a total of 35.5 million.

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria’s unemployment rate jumps to 27.1% as at 2020 Q2

Nigeria’s unemployment rate as at the second quarter of 2020 is 27.1% meaning about 21.7 million Nigerians remain unemployed.

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unemployment

Nigeria’s unemployment rate as at the second quarter of 2020 is 27.1% indicating that about  21,764,614 (21.7 million) Nigerians remain unemployed.

Nigeria’s unemployment and underemployment rate (28.6%) is a combined 55.7%. This means the total number of Nigerians who are unemployed or underemployed as at 2020 Q2.

This is contained in a recently released unemployment data report published by the National Bureau of Statistics. Nigeria’s unemployment rate was 23.1% in Q3 2018 confirming it increased by 4% points between then and the second quarter of 2020.

Key highlights

  • The number of persons in the economically active or working-age population (15 – 64 years of age) during the reference period of the survey, Q2, 2020 was 116,871,186.
  • The number of persons in the labour force (i.e. people within ages 15 -64, who are able and willing to work) was estimated to be 80,291,894. This was 11.3% less than the number persons in Q3, 2018. Of this number, those within the age bracket of 25-34 were highest, with 23,328,460 or 29.1% of the labour force.
  • The total number of people in employment (i.e. people with jobs) during the reference period was dwellers, it rose to 31.5% from 22.8%, while the rate among urban dwellers rose to 23.2% from 58,527,276.
  • Of this number, 35,585,274 were full-time employed (i.e. worked 40+ hours per week), while 22,942,003 were under-employed (i.e. working between 20-29 hours per week). This figure is 15.8% less than the people in employment in Q3, 2020
  • The unemployment rate during the reference period, Q2, 2020 was 27.1%, up from the 23.1% recorded in Q3, 2018. The underemployment rate increased from 20.1% in Q3, 2018 to 28.6%.
  • For the period under review, Q2, 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15-34years) was 34.9%, up from 29.7%, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2% from 25.7% in Q3, 2018. These rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings.

The data is coming after nearly two years when the last data was published. The bureau last published jobs data in the third quarter of 2018 citing funding as a major challenge.

Key Take-aways

  • Nigeria’s youth remain the hardest hit by unemployment with over 13.9 million people aged between 15 and 34 years unemployed.
  • The data also shows 7.6 million of this subset did nothing.
  • Women also continue to bear the brunch of bad economy with about 12.2 million out of jobs from the 27 million currently unemployed.
  • Graduates and post graduates combined made up about 2.9 million of the total Nigerians that are unemployed.
  • In a surpising data, out of the 35.5 million Nigerians that are fully employed, 28.8 million of them never attended school (6.29 million) or did not have a tertiary education (22.5).
  • In fact, most fully employed people in Nigeria with SSS (Senior Secondary School certificates) are a whopping 13.2 million.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: Nigeria, 6 other African countries to start antibodies tests next week

These countries are the first set of countries to commit to the testing.

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Nigeria and 6 other African countries will start conducting coronavirus antibodies tests as early as next week, as part of efforts to understand the extent of the outbreak on the continent.

Apart from Nigeria, the other African countries that will benefit from this include Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, and Morocco.

While making the disclosure in Addis Ababa, the head of the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, said that these countries are the first set of countries to commit to it.

Western countries have been using antibody tests to discover how many of their citizens have been infected by the coronavirus disease, with the expectation that will help them reopen their economies.

This new development is coming some days after the Nigerian Government started negotiations with prospective COVID-19 vaccine distributors to the country ahead of their availability.

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The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who kick-started the negotiation on behalf of the Federal Government, in a virtual meeting with representatives of the vaccine candidate, told the co-discussants that Nigeria must be given priority when COVID-19 vaccine is ready for distribution.

Nkengasong said that Africa has so far conducted 9.4 million coronavirus tests, a 10% increase over last week. These tests show whether people currently have the coronavirus disease.

Experts said that the low levels of testing in many countries mean that Africa’s infection rates could be higher than being reported.

He said that 25 African countries still have full border closures, with 23 imposing tests at entry points. He also stressed on the need to harmonize border testing and recognize certificates in order to facilitate travel.

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