The Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Mary Uduk, has disclosed that the commission is worried over credit allocation to the Nigerian agriculture sector has remained as low as 5% in the last ten years.
Uduk explained that the situation is seriously hindering growth in the agricultural sector. Recall that the Nigerian Government has recently been attempting to diversify the economy.
Much of the effort to diversify the economy has been focused on the agricultural sector. It is, therefore, surprising to see that despite the clamouring, inadequate financing has remained a major problem facing agriculture in the country.
It is partly in view of this challenge that SEC is planning to host an International Conference for the Nigerian Commodities Market. While briefing journalist, yesterday, ahead of the conference, which is slated for next week Monday, Uduk stressed the importance of agriculture to Nigeria’s food security, the country’s job market, and foreign exchange earnings.
She noted that a well-structured commodities market might just serve as the perfect solution to the inadequate financing problem that is currently militating against the agricultural sector. This is because a structured commodities market in Nigeria will help expose Nigerian Commodities to the international market.
Already, there are three existing commodities exchanges in Nigeria, including AFEX Commodities Exchange Ltd and the Abuja Securities & Commodities Exchange. If these commodities exchanges receive robust public participation from notable financiers and international commodity exchanges, they will be better positioned to unlock in the short to medium term, Uduk claimed.
It is in view of the foregoing that SEC is hosting the international commodities conference. Uduk said:
“These important points and benefits have dictated the Commission’s decision to host the International Conference on the Nigerian Commodities Market 2020 with the theme “Commodities Trading Ecosystem: Key to diversifying the Nigerian Economy,” she added.
COVID-19: Russia produces first batch of its newly approved vaccine
Russia announced on Saturday, August 15, 2020, that it has produced the first batch of its newly approved vaccine, Sputnik V, hours after the health ministry reported the start of its production.
The disclosure was made in a statement by the Russian Health Ministry and quoted by Russian news agencies.
This is coming some days after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, announced the registration of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine in what could be described as a step ahead of other vaccine developments.
The announcement is seen as a propaganda coup for the Russian government against the west amid a global race to develop vaccines against the coronavirus disease.
The announcement of the vaccine registration by Putin was met with caution from scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO), who said that it still needed a rigorous safety review. Some of the scientists fear that with this fast regulatory approval, Russia may be putting national prestige ahead of safety.
Putin had said the vaccine was safe and that one of his own daughters had been inoculated, although the final stage testing involving over 2,000 people just started this week. Such trials are considered very important before a vaccine can secure regulatory approval.
Russia has said the vaccine which is the first for the coronavirus disease to go into production, will be rolled out by the end of August.
The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed the vaccine in collaboration with the Russian Defence Ministry, said that Russia would be producing about 5 million doses a month by December or January.
Heineken scoops more Nigerian Breweries shares in insider disclosure
The company has about 8 billion shares outstanding with Heineken as the majority shareholder.
Nigerian Breweries major shareholder, Heineken disclosed it purchased 274,542 units at an average price N35.76 per unit.
Insider disclosures are reported on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as a regulatory requirement especially when it informs a major shareholder or director of a company purchasing shares in the company they own.
In a related development, its chairman Chief Kolawole Babalola Jamodu also purchased 10,000 units at N37 per unit.
Nigeria Breweries closed at N36 per share on Friday trading at a price to earnings of 34x. The company has about 8 billion shares outstanding with Heineken as the majority shareholder.
What this means: Insider purchases are often an indication of how shareholders perceive the company’s valuation. It can also mean a lot of things from a possible capital raise to a strengthening of their existing holdings.
Nigerian Breweries has struggled for growth over the last few years as consumers continue to experience a change to taste and preference for alcohol.
Lagos announces additional tax incentives for businesses, individuals
Waiver of penalty for late payment of liabilities under PAYE that were due during the period when the state was under lockdown.
The Lagos State Government has announced additional tax incentives and reliefs for businesses and individuals in the state, as part of measures aimed at reducing the burden on taxpayers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The disclosure was made in a public notice issued by the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) and signed by its Executive Chairman, Ayodele Subair.
The additional tax incentives are part of the several measures implemented by the LIRS to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on taxpayers in Lagos and ensure business continuity.
The government had earlier given 3 months extension of deadline for filing annual returns from March 31 to June 30, 2020.
The additional measures being implemented by the state government include:
- LIRS shall be allowing on a case by case basis, the payment of outstanding liabilities in instalments to ease cash flow challenges that may affect taxpayers.
- Waiver of penalty for late payment of liabilities under PAYE that were due during the period when the state was under lockdown (March-May 2020).
- Waiver of penalties due on late filing of 2020 annual tax returns (Form A).
- Waiver of interest and penalty components of outstanding tax audit liabilities from 2009 to 2015 for entities that present and keep to a structured payment plan that terminates on or before December 31, 2020.
- Grant of tax credits of 20% of cash and kind donations made for COVID-19 by resident individuals to Lagos State Government for the 2021 Year of Assessment only subject to a cap of 35% of tax due.
- Increase of payment channels to make payment of taxes easier, simpler and more convenient for all.
- Adopting of video conferencing as the default mode for conduct of Tax Audit Reconciliation Committee (TARC) meetings in consonance with social distancing advisories from Government and other relevant authorities.
The Lagos state government expressed hope that all residents of the state would take advantage of these palliatives and reciprocate the government’s kind gestures by discharging their civic responsibilities by promptly paying their taxes and levies to the state.