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PwC highlights key focus areas for FIRS’ newly-inaugurated directors 

PricewaterhouseCoopers has enumerated important areas the Federal Inland Revenue Service, under Muhammad Nami, should be focusing on. 

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PwC survey identifies key priorities of Nigerian businesses amid Covid-19 pandemic

Following Muhammad Nami’s assumption of office as the new Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has enumerated key things he and other members of the FIRS board need to do.  

The agenda was laid out by PwC’s West Africa Tax Lead, Taiwo Oyedele, who recently appeared on CNBC Africa’s “Power Lunch” programme to discuss the development. 

According to Oyedele, the FIRS under Muhammad Nami should do well to build capacity and conduct an appraisal of its status quo. Now, what does he mean by this? Let’s explain below. 

[READ: Buhari appoints Muhammad Nami as FIRS boss]

Instead of merely making unrealistic promises that might as well never be actualised, Oyedele believes that it will be more practical if the tax agency can first conduct an assessment of its operations in order to know what is working and what it needs to do away with.  

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I think the risk always is that once you are appointed into positions such as the head of the FIRS, there is a tendency to quickly jump into making promises and commitments. Like we had it four years ago, Fowler did say that he was going to increase revenue by 300% and then he started rolling back. 

So, we are just saying that you guys should first make an assessment of what is on ground. And also don’t be quick to try and discontinue everything. What is it that is working that you can inherit and even make better? And what are the areas where we can do better?” 

Oyedele added that considering the critical stage Nigeria is in right now in terms of revenue generation, it is important for Nigeria’s FIRS board to get it right. He went further to say that getting it right has a lot to do with who heads the tax body. 

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Recall that President Buhari appointed Muhammad Nami as FIRS’s Executive Chairman in early December 2019. He assumed office last week and made his impact felt by reshuffling the composition of FIRS’s top management.  

To watch Oyedele’s full interview with CNBC Africa, click here 

Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs. He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor. Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan. If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Consumer Goods

Floods disrupt operations in Flour Mills’ Sugar Estate 

Heavy floods at Flour Mills’ Sunti Golden Sugar Estate has disrupted its operations.

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Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, 2018 FY: Flour Mills’ shareholders unanimously endorse N4.92 billion dividend , FMN redeems N1 billion pledge to CACOVID relief fund, donates $1.5 million worth of medical supplies

Sunti Golden Sugar Estate (SGSE), owned by Flour Mills, has suffered some disruptions to its operations as floodwater breached the Sugar Estate. 

This information was gathered by Nairametrics from a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and signed by the Company’s Secretary, Umolu Joseph A. O.  

The largest miller by market capitalization, explains that the floods were as a result of the long rainfalls recorded recently at the northern and central parts of the Niger basin, as the floods were triggered by severe downpours at the Sokoto Rima basin, and as a consequence, the Kainji and Jeba dams witnessed an upsurge in the lateral flow of water. 

The Management stated that SGSE has suffered some disruptions to operations, as the resulting high inflows in the downstream Niger River caused a breach to the extensive and properly designed dyke systems at Sunti Golden Sugar Estates (SGSE). 

This development is expected to delay the expansion project, geared towards increasing the area under cultivation to 4,000 hectares by mid-2021. 

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The Miller assures stakeholders, that there is no immediate threat to the earlier indicated earnings projections of FMN, as immediate safety protocols have been instituted to safeguard employees, property and equipment. Hence the breach is not foreseen to impact the overall performance of the Group. 

The company informs investors and other key stakeholders that the actual state of damage to the current sugarcane crop at Sunti, can only truly be assessed once the floodwater subsides, and ensures that it will release further details in due course as the need arises. 

Shares of Flour Mills at the end of the trading session on Friday closed at N21.50, and this is 6.70% higher than the market opening price for the day, 8.59% higher than the market opening price for the week, and 14.36% higher than the market opening price for the month. While the YTD gains stood at 9.14%. 

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Flour Mills shares are currently trading in the overbought zones, going with the agreement of Technical Momentum  Indicators, like the William Percentage Range, the Relative Strength Index and its stochastic variant, as the shares of the company are driven by strong fundamentals. 

In like manners, the company shares currently trade at 21.15x earnings per share (EPS), and 0.57x book value per share (BVPS), with a Market capitalization of N81.628 billion.  

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Hospitality & Travel

Aviation Unions threaten to shut airspace on Monday, as NLC insists on strike

All aviation workers are directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide on 28th September 2020.

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Major aviation unions in Nigeria have threatened to shut the nation’s airspace in support of the Organised Labour nationwide industrial action expected to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020.

The unions are the National Union of Air Transport Employees, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals.

This was disclosed by the General Secretary of the National Union of Aviation Employees, Aba Ocheme, in a statement, according to Vanguard.

The unions reportedly asked their members to withdraw services from all aerodromes nationwide indefinitely.

He said, “As such all workers in the aviation sector are hereby directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide as from 00hrs of 28th September 2020 until otherwise communicated by the NLC/TUC or our unions. All workers shall comply.”

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Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday also insisted that it will go on with its planned mass action scheduled for Monday, September 28.

In a communique by its General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the NLC asked its members across the nation to come out in large numbers to protest the increase in fuel and electricity prices.

The order was given despite a fresh court order obtained by the Federal Government, barring the NLC and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.

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Ugboaja explained that the NLC has asked all National Leadership of affiliates in Abuja to mobilise at least 2,000 of their members to Unity Fountain, Abuja for the mass rally which takes off at 7am.

Also, affiliates are expected to mobilise the same number of members to the NLC Sub-Secretariat, 29, Olajuwon Street, Yaba, Lagos, which is the take-off point for the Lagos action at 7am also.

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Business

It would be difficult to find loans to finance rail to Niger Republic – Cheta Nwanze

Finding loans to finance rail to the Niger Republic would be difficult, says Cheta Nwanze.

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It would be difficult to find loans to finance rail to Niger Republic- Cheta Nwanze

Cheta Nwanze, Lead Partner at socioeconomic research firm, SBM Intelligence, says that it would be difficult to find loan financiers for the proposed $1.9 billion rail project from Kano to Maradi in Niger republic.

Cheta, in an interview with Nairametrics on Friday, explained that it appears that Nigeria is more keen on the project than Niger Republic.

Back story: Nairametrics reported this week that the Federal Executive Council has approved the disbursement of $1.96 billion, for the railway line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic.

According to the report, the President is also expected to commission the Warri-Itakpe standard gauge rail line, running through Kogi, Edo, and Delta States.

“Nigeria is investing so much in this rail line, given that we are Niger’s 4th largest trading partner,” Cheta said.

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He added that Niger, although being landlocked already, has an existing infrastructure for its imports and export services, which is much better utilized than Nigeria’s export infrastructure.

“The majority of their imports from France, China, and the USA come in via the port of Lome, precisely because the port in Lome works, and the rail link in Togo is much better than ours.

“Nigeria, on the other hand, has let its Apapa port to become a wreck, while transportation between Lagos and Kano/Jibia is a nightmare, if we’re being charitable with words.”

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(READ MORE: Trade and Investments, a way out of Nigeria’s economic troubles – Fola Fagbule)

According to him, with the reality of the Apapa congestion and other factors, finding fund for such project, when debt to service ratio is high and amidst reduced oil revenue, will be difficult.

“With these realities in mind, I find it difficult to imagine who will extend such a loan to Nigeria, especially since, as far as all the information available to me indicates, Niger does not seem as keen on pushing this as Nigeria does,” he added.

However, the media aide to President Buhari, Garba Shehu, disclosed that the Federal Government is not constructing a rail line from Nigeria linking Kano-Dutse-Maradi into the Niger Republic, as it will only stop at the designated border point.

Maradi is 55km from the Katsina border Town of Jibia.

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