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LCCI, NECA warn FG on endangering productivity of Nigerians

The organized private sector and other stakeholders have warned FG against endangering the productivity of Nigerians with the new Finance Bill.  

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LCCI projects continuous weak investments in 2020 , Private sector laments as Buhari signs Finance Bill into law  

Stakeholders in the private sector have warned the Federal Government against endangering the productivity of Nigerians with the new Finance Bill.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) expressed concerns about the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), stating that it was inappropriate to compel loss-making firms to pay tax, no matter how little.

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NECA urges FG to expand tax net, Unemployment to hit 33.5% in 2020, NECA warns, NECA seeks data of unemployed Nigerians to effect FG’s stipends payment, Private sector laments as Buhari signs Finance Bill into law  

Mr. Timothy Olawale, DG, NECA

The signing of the bill into law by the president welcomes sweeping new changes in the country’s tax system as the VAT rate went up from 5% to 7.5%.

Director General, LCCI, Muda Yusuf, warned the government against seeing the private sector as a cash cow in its drive to increase revenue.

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“The government should not see the private sector as a ‘cash cow’ in its drive to raise revenue, as it will do more harm to the already burdened private sector and further impoverish citizens that the president promised to take out of poverty.

“The common man will definitely be at the receiving end of the increase in VAT. Even if businesses are taxed more through likely illegal levies and rates outside the provisions of the law, they will naturally pass the cost to the customers whose purchasing power is already at the lowest ebb. 

“The government should put mechanisms in place to eliminate leakages as a large chunk of the Internally Generated Revenue realised does not find its way into government coffers. They should drastically cut the cost of governance. Several aides kept at prohibitive cost are needless,” he said.

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[READ MORE: President Buhari finally signs 2019 finance bill into law)

Meanwhile, Director General, NECA, Timothy Olawale, acknowledged that the new law amended the Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Customs and Excise Tariff Act, Company Income Tax Act, Personal Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax, Stamp Duties Act and the Capital Gains Tax.

“Apart from the increase in VAT, some other changes would include a situation where Nigerians who want to open or maintain accounts with the deposit money banks will not have to provide their Tax Identification Number to do so, which is commendable. 

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“Again, the fact that the Federal Government has raised the threshold from which stamp duty will be charged for online transactions from the current N1, 000 to N10,000,” Olawale said.

However, Olawale admonished the government to carry out aggressive taxpayer enlightenment and expansion of the tax net to capture more citizens, adding that he acknowledged that the government had made provisions in the law that were meant to benefit the masses.

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Economy & Politics

FG inuagurates 2nd National Voluntary Review Report on SDGs

The report enables member countries to exchange experiences and knowledge on Sustainable Development.

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Federal Government has inaugurated the second National Voluntary Review Report on Sustainable Development GoalsThis was disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire on Tuesday. 

The report was launched after a virtual presentation session of the High-Level Political Forum of the United Nations (UN). 

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Meanwhile, the UN had offered to assist the Nigerian Government to realize its developmental aspirations most especially those related to the SDGs. 

The UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria Edward Kallonhad explained that he visited Nigeria to explore better ways of collaboration between the two agencies in line with the recent reforms going on in the UN, which are being driven by Amina Mohammed, the Deputy UN Secretary-General. 

According to him, UN is looking for innovative ways to come up with a robust collaboration framework that will foster a more solid and workable partnership by way of creating a platform for Nigeria to leverage on and support its developmental aspirations most especially, the implementation of the SDGs. 

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Why it mattersThe report enables member countries to exchange experiences and knowledge on Sustainable Development. It would feature Nigeria’s most important priorities as it is nearly impossible to achieve all SDG’s because of the limited economic challenges. 

According to Orelope-Adefulire, the goals prioritized by the governments were no poverty, health and wellbeing, education, economic growth, security & peace and partnerships. 

She said, “Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality. 

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“Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Job opportunities and decent working conditions are also required for the whole working-age population.”

She added that the agency would prioritise seven goals and reached out to the private sector, women organisations, CSOs, youth groups, academia and people living with disabilities; finding out from them what needs to be done. 

 

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Tech News

TradeDepot raises $10 million in pre-Series B equity round

This is a major addition to the $3 million raised in the Series A led by Partech in 2018.

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TradeDepot raises $10 million in pre-Series B equity round

Nigerian based B2B e-Commerce platform for consumer goods in Africa, Tradedepot has raised a further $10 million in a pre-Series B equity round.

According to a statement from the company, the equity round was co-led by Partech, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), and MSA Capital.

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This is a major addition to the $3 million raised in the Series A led by Partech in 2018.

The company said in the statement that the new investment will be used to continue its integration of the fragmented informal retail supply chain in Nigeria, and further expand into other African cities.

Tradedepot also plans to launch a suite of financial products and credit facilities, to support its retailers in improving efficiencies in their businesses in order to scale and grow.

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In the statement, Onyekachi Izukanne, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of TradeDepot said, “We are excited to strengthen our team and welcome on board some incredible strategic investors and partners, as we double down on our mission to digitize and simplify retail distribution for the continent.”

(READ MORE: Tech PR firm, Phyllion set to hold first of its kind Tech Conference online)

Izukanne noted that in the trillion-dollar offline retail market in Africa, the company is set to capture a greater market share through its strategy of driving down costs for the retailers and smoothening their processes.

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Many retailers lack sufficient funds and credit facilities to grow their businesses, and TradeDepot offers them a chance to leverage on its network, Izukanne added.

This has been the model of operation TradeDepot launched in 2016, and since then, it has built a network of over 40,000 micro retailers, making household supplies and store essentials more accessible and affordable for the informal retail network.

TradeDepot partners with major brands and distributors to make these products available for retailers to order via its mobile apps, (Android and Whatsapp), USSD or a toll-free number and have the goods delivered directly to their stores via the company’s fleet of vans and tricycles.

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(READ MORE:3 startups to get N3 million grant each in the COVID-19 virtual hackathon)

TradeDepot also provides a CRM and data management system that enables suppliers to plan and monitor their sales routes in real-time, as well as gain invaluable insights into trade and retail data.

Wale Ayeni, Head of Africa Venture Capital Investment at IFC notes that TradeDepot is helping to digitize a substantial underserved informal retail segment, which is the pillar of economic growth in Africa.

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Hanh Nam Nguyen, Program Manager, speaking on behalf of IFC as implementing partner of We-Fi, stated that, “We-Fi financing will incentivize TradeDepot to build stronger women-led small and medium enterprises (SME) retailer and distributor networks, which will support them to become drivers of economic growth in their communities.”

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Economy & Politics

Just-in: FG kickstarts its 774,000 jobs SPW initiative as Buhari backs Keyamo

The initiative plans to employ 1,000 persons from each of the 774 LGA in the country.

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FG urges DStv, MTN, others to offer free subscription, airtime, data to Nigerians

Despite the opposition from members of the National Assembly, the Federal Government have formally kick-started the Special Public Works (SPW) programme, which was designed to create 774,000 jobs across the nation, with the inauguration of the State Selection Committees.

This was disclosed in a tweet post by the Federal Government on its official Twitter handle on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

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In the tweet post, the Federal Government said, ‘’The Special Public Works Programme of the Federal Government has kicked off nationwide. The State Selection Committees have been inaugurated and have commenced work. Find the names and contact details of members of your State’s Committee here.’’

The National Assembly had earlier called for the suspension of the programme, following disagreement and altercations with the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, over the operations and processes of the programme.

 

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This programme, which is coordinated by the ministry of labour and employment, was part of the federal government’s intervention programmes and fiscal stimulus measures to help cushion the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Nigerians.

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The initiative which is expected to start on October 1, 2020, plans to employ 1,000 persons from each of the 774 local government areas in the country. Each of the beneficiaries of the programme will be paid N20,000 monthly to carry out public works.

The implementation agency for the programme is the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

The Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo, while performing the virtual inauguration in a joint address with the Director-General of NDE, Nasir Ladan Argungu, disclosed that an inter-ministerial committee drawn from 8 ministries and headed by the NDE recommended the setting up of states’ selection committees to identify and recruit those to be engaged under the programme

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It can be recalled that Keyamo, has been at loggerheads with the federal lawmakers over the implementation of the SPW programme. The lawmakers had insisted that the Minister must seek their inputs before going ahead with the constitution of the 20 man states selection committees. They also accused Keyamo of trying to hijack the programme from the NDE, who should be the implementation agency.

But the Minister, while appearing before a joint committee in the National Assembly accused the lawmakers of trying to hijack the process. He insisted that President Buhari gave him the mandate to directly supervise the programme and as such he is the only one that can ask him to stop.

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