Merchants in some of Nigeria’s largest retail outlets have started including the N50 stamp duty in their POS machines automatically. This follows the widespread adoption of the N50 charge on customers seeking to pay their bills using debit cards.
Over the weekend, NAIRAMETRICS visited some retail outlets and confirmed that POS machines now have an upgrade that automatically charges N50 for transactions above N1,000. Some merchant operators explained that the move was necessary to avoid the occasional backlash that comes with seeking customer consents before adding the charge manually during POS payments.
Most filling stations in Lagos, including large supermarkets such as SPAR, Grand Square already charge their customers the stamp duties of N50 per completed set of transactions paid using the POS. SPAR already automatically includes the N50 stamp duty in their POS, charging the customers directly without having to inform them. Unsuspecting customers may not even notice the charge, as it appears towards the end of the bill.
Last September, a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) circular mandated merchants to remit the statutory N50 charge on every POS transaction deposited into merchant accounts provided it exceeds N1,000. NAIRAMETRICS first reported the implication of the circular.
In the new circular, the CBN revealed that banks would unbundle merchant settlement amounts and charge applicable taxes and duties on individual transactions as stipulated by regulations. This was essentially a tax on each transaction done via POS channels. It also instructed that merchant service charge has been reviewed downwards from 0.75% capped at N1,200, to 0.5% capped at N1000.
Since the circular was passed, most merchants have had no choice but to charge back the tax on their customers, believing that the convenience of a POS transaction is for the customers and not them. Some merchants, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, also explained that the attendant cost of the tax was high for most of them to bear and this is the reason they pass it to the customers.
A supermarket owner complained bitterly that they would have ended up paying over N2 million monthly on stamp duty tax emanating from POS transactions alone. Petrol station owners also explained to our analysts that there was no way they could bear the costs, considering the volume of transactions they handle daily and how thin the margins are for them.
What this means: The financial cost of stamp duties collected since the circular was released is yet to be released officially, but analysts believe it could run into billions. However, if this tax continues, it could have negative consequences for the CBN’s cashless policy plans.
- A cross-section of Nigerians on social media insist on paying cash rather than giving up N50, even if it means withdrawing cash from the ATM.
- Whilst most of the merchants report that POS transactions haven’t been severely impacted, they have also seen a rise in payment via cash by most customers.
- Most customers are unaware of the charge and may not react as negatively if their consent was sought before charging them the tax. This could perhaps be the norm as more Payment Service Providers (PTSP) will upgrade their POS machines to allow merchants automatically charge the N50 stamp duty tax from their customers.
- If the apex bank discourages cash-based transactions, and at the same time imposes multiple charges to electronic-based transactions, it may be running the risk of policy inconsistency, capable of aggravating the already tensed ease of doing business environment in the country.
- NAIRAMETRICS, however, understands that the government is also monitoring the impact of the charge and might not reverse the circular, especially if Nigerians get used to it. A government official with knowledge of the matter informed NAIRAMETRICS that there are current moves by the Ministry of Finance to soften the effect of the tax. According to the source, who also pleaded anonymity, the tax will not be rescinded, but the transaction limit on POS might be increased.
Google launches Chromecast with Google TV
Google unveils the Chromecast device to stream contents from Walt Disney Co’s Disney+ and Netflix.
Alphabet Inc’s Google, some hours ago, launched Chromecast with Google TV, a hardware platform designed to show contents from leading streaming services like Walt Disney Co’s Disney+ and the most popular streaming service company, Netflix.
The tech juggernaut unveiled the Chromecast streaming device that now comes with a remote control. It will cost $49.99 in the U.S, and will be available in other countries by the end of 2020.
The real advantage this device holds looks to be the underlying search smarts that serve as the foundation for so much of what Google does. Here’s the company discussing the new feature in a blog post:
“Google TV’s For You tab gives you personalized watch suggestions from across your subscriptions organized based on what you like to watch—even your guilty pleasure reality dramas. Google TV’s Watchlist lets you bookmark movies and shows you want to save for later.
You can add to your Watchlist from your phone or laptop, and it will be waiting on your TV when you get home.
The new Chromecast with Google TV comes in a compact and thin design and is packed with the latest technology to give you the best viewing experience. It neatly plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and tucks behind your screen.
- Switching it on, the new Google Tv comes with a crystal clear video in up to 4K HDR at up to 60 frames per second in no time. With Dolby Vision, you’ll get extraordinary color, contrast, and brightness on your TV.
- The Hardware also supports HDMI pass coupled with Dolby audio content.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 30th of September 2020, 201 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 58,848 confirmed cases.
On the 30th of September 2020, 201 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,549 samples across the country.
To date, 58,848 cases have been confirmed, 50,358 cases have been discharged and 1,112 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 509,555 tests have been carried out as of September 30th, 2020 compared to 507,006 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 30th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 58,848
- Total Number Discharged – 50,358
- Total Deaths – 1,112
- Total Tests Carried out – 509,555
According to the NCDC, the 201 new cases were reported from 13 states- Lagos (77), Rivers (37), Plateau (25), FCT (13), Kaduna (12), Ogun (12), Adamawa (8), Taraba (7), Imo (4), Kwara (2), Osun (2), Abia (1), Oyo (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 19,461, followed by Abuja (5,709), Plateau (3,450), Oyo (3,261), Edo (2,626), Rivers (2,432), Kaduna (2,419), Ogun (1,850), Delta (1,802), Kano (1,737), Ondo (1,631), Enugu (1,289), Ebonyi (1,040), Kwara (1,036), Abia (895), Gombe (883). Katsina (861), Osun (839), Borno (745), and Bauchi (699).
Imo State has recorded 572 cases, Benue (481), Nasarawa (450), Bayelsa (399), Jigawa (325), Ekiti (321), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (259), Adamawa (248), Anambra (237), Sokoto (162), Taraba (102), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara (78), Yobe (76), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
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. 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.
Lagos cancels parade, opts for a low-key celebration of Independence Day
Due to the threat of the novel coronavirus, the Lagos state government has said it would observe a low-key celebration.
Lagos State government has opted for a low-key celebration of the 60th independence anniversary of the nation. This decision is due to the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still with us.
This statement was made by the Government of Lagos State today, via its official Twitter account.
The Lagos State Government has opted for a low key celebration of the 60th Independence Anniversary due to the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still with us.@jidesanwoolu @drobafemihamzat @gbenga_omo @gboyegaakosile @Mr_JAGss #LASG #ForAGreaterLagos pic.twitter.com/xDzMGWig7w
— The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) September 30, 2020
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has directed that the planned Independence Day Parade at the Agege Stadium by 9 a.m and other activities that involve the gathering of more than 50 people should be canceled.
He congratulates Lagosians on this auspicious occasion and strongly advises that they should celebrate quietly at home and pray for the country. He asked that they should also observe the COVID-19 protocols, including wearing of face masks to protect themselves and their loved ones.
The Governor urges Lagosians not to let down their guards on COVID-19 so as not to reverse the gains that the state has made in fighting the disease.
The governor congratulates Lagosians on the auspicious occasion and strongly advises that they should celebrate quietly at home and pray for the country. They should also observe the COVID-19 protocols, including wearing of face masks to protect themselves and their loved ones.