The House of Representatives has intensified its investigation against the Chief Executive Officers of MTN Nigeria, Globacom, Airtel Nigeria, 9Mobile and others over the roles of their firms in alleged $30 billion foreign exchange frauds in the telecoms sector. The lawmakers also threatened to arrest the CEOs if they are not cooperative.
Why the arrest threat? The lower chamber accused the CEOs of frustrating its investigation into alleged $30 billion leakages in the sector, which is tied to alleged foreign exchange frauds said to have been committed by the operators.
The House has reportedly summoned 15 telecoms operators, but they all shunned the request. This prompted the lawmakers to issue a seven-day ultimatum to the CEOs to appear before its Committee on Finance or a warrant for their arrest would be issued against them.
This was stated at the plenary session of the House when the Chairman of the committee, James Faleke, updated the lower chamber of its probe since the March 5, 2020 resolution, which mandated the joint committees on Finance, Banking, and Currency to investigate the over $30 billion revenue leakages in the sector.
During his address to the House, Faleke said, “In order to give a fair hearing, we wrote letters to the companies and some of them, under the auspices of Registered Trustees of Telecoms Operators, found it necessary to go to court.
“On the 13th of March, the court delivered judgment in favour of the National Assembly, that the National Assembly has the powers to invite anybody.”
Faleke says firms evading taxes: According to Faleke, these companies are evading taxes. He cited an unnamed company that is operating 100% in Nigeria but only 10% of its interest is taxed in Nigeria while the other 90% is taken to Mauritius.
“In Nigeria today, we are in a very critical situation. Many of these companies have been evading taxes over and over again, taking loans for infrastructure. There is a company that operates in Nigeria 100% but only 10% of its interest is taxed in Nigeria, while the remaining 90% is taken to Mauritius.
“This company only has a representative office in Nigeria. What this means is that the remaining 90%, running into several billions of dollars, which are paid to Mauritius, is not taxed in Nigeria.
“We have companies who took loans in foreign currency for an equipment loan, brought the goods to Nigeria and the next day, the equipment was credited to another country. They took the loan of about $90m; the money went into the company account and the next day, the money was transferred to shareholders in Mauritius.”
He explained that “They bring these goods in for record purpose so that they can get the capital allowances usually given for equipment not used in Nigeria. These are pieces of equipment that are supposed to be brought in and duties paid.
“By going to court, they sought to prolong and delay the activities of the National Assembly. If we allow this to continue, then we have no business being here.
“We have figures of tax evasion running into several billions of dollars against these companies, but we didn’t want to believe these figures. Rather than submit their documents, they felt the best way was to head for court.”
He emphasized that, “This parliament has powers to summon anybody, including Mr President,” Faleke said while several other lawmakers called for a thorough investigation and prosecution of companies working against Nigeria’s economy.
FG apologizes, says Self-Certification directive is not for everyone
The Federal Government has made clarifications concerning earlier announced Self-Certification Forms.
The Nigerian government has backtracked on its earlier issued guidelines on the new banking Self-Certification Forms, saying the notice does not apply to everyone.
On Thursday, the Nigerian government ordered all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms, to complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.
It stated, “This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions. Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete & submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.”
However, on Friday morning, after receiving expected backlash on social media, FG attempted a clarification stating, “We apologize for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons,” and that, “the FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”
We apologize for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly pic.twitter.com/KBiPh0lCwJ
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) September 18, 2020
The FIRS earlier today made a statement, that the guidelines are only for non-residents, and people paying tax in more than one country.
and other persons who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or Country. Financial Institutions are expected to administer the Self Certification form on such account holders when information at its disposal indicates that the Account holder is a person
— FIRS Nigeria (@firsNigeria) September 18, 2020
“The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS. Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or Country.”
“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.” the statement read.
This is a copy of the Self-Certification form govt. wants targeted account holders to fill
The FIRS posted a copy of the self-certification form on its website.
The Nigerian government on Thursday tweeted an order to all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms to complete and submit Self-certification forms.
This was announced by the Federal Government in a social media statement on Thursday. The FG warned that failure to comply may include a monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.
The Government also urged Nigerians to comply with the requirements and execute all forms needs, if not sanctions may be introduced in the forms of monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.
The government however deleted the tweet on Friday, explaining that it does not apply to everybody, contrary to what it had earlier tweeted. The FIRS claims those affected are non-residents.
Nairametrics has seen a copy of the “Self-Certification Forms” detailing the information that account holders are meant to share. See below;
NB: This article has been updated to reflect new information regarding who the accounts holders (reportable persons) are.
Jaiz Bank: First shared-profit bank in Nigeria approaches 10 years
Nigeria’s first non-interest bank has moved from being a regional bank to a national bank.
When the idea of a Non-interest banking was first broached in Nigeria in the late 90s, it was greeted with suspicion. This was probably because its more popular name ‘Islamic banking’ had non-muslim Nigerians thinking it was a ploy to eventually Islamize the country.
Two decades and several sensitization campaigns later, Nigeria’s first non-interest bank has moved from being a regional bank to a national bank, with several branches and customers.
Nairametrics company profile this week looks at this trail-blazing bank; how it has survived its first decade, while operating a system that is completely different from that of other banks in the country, yet still holds its own in the industry.
The JAIZ movement in Nigeria dates far back to 2001, when Justice Imam Muhammad Taqi Usmani and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, both guest speakers at a seminar hosted in Sheraton Hotel Abuja, advised the different groups clamoring for a non-interest bank in Nigeria to come together under one group, if their aim was to be achieved.
In response to this advice, the Halal group and the JAIZ group united, combining influence and resources to drive for the establishment of a Nigerian non-interest bank.
Jaiz International was set up in 2003, and after almost 8 years of trying to meet the guidelines, and capital requirements of the Apex bank (amid the Soludo-led recapitalization exercise which shook the industry) and other factors, the bank received a regional license from CBN on a historic date.
JAIZ International Plc was established on 11th of November 2011, and began the long walk to the actualization of their dreams.
On 6 January 2012, operations commenced at the branches in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano. Hassan Usman, is now Managing Director of the bank, while Alhaji Dr Umaru Abdul Mutallab, heads the Board of Directors, with Alhaji Dr Umaru Kwairanga, and Alhaji Dr Muhammadu Indimi as members.
Other members include Abdulfattah O. Amoo; Alh. (Dr.) Aminu Alhassan Dantata; Alh. (Dr.) Musbahu Bashir; Alh. Mukhtar Danladi Hanga; Alhaji Mamun Maude; H.R.H. Engr. Bello Muhammad Sanni; Mahe Abubakar Mahmud; Mall. Falalu Bello; Mall. Hassan Usman; Mr. Seedy Njie; Nafiu Baba-Ahmed; and Prof. Tajudeen Adepemi Adebiyi.
In 2013, when the bank started expanding to other urban centers, it was permitted to increase shareholding capital to $92.3 million (NGN14.3 billion), and subsequently applied for a national banking license which it received in 2016. At the end of FY 2019, it had 38 branches with over a thousand employees.
Stockholding was and is still shared among Nigerian and foreign individuals, and institutional investors, while the number of issued shares as at December 2019 was 29.46 billion.
Banking with a human face
Non-interest banking is touted to be a more ethical form of banking, with less emphasis on profit, and more on societal and individual development.
Like other banks, Jaiz Bank Plc provides banking products and services like savings, current, salary, and kids savings accounts, but with slightly different terms. The bank also provides online banking, leasing, cards, bonds and guarantees, and several other investment products tailored to its principles. Customers’ deposits are used for business operations, with the understanding that the profit will be shared between the bank and customers. While sharing profit with customers, in the event of a loss, the bank tries to weather it out, since the customers’ deposits are already insured with the NDIC.
In offering its credit facilities, the bank tends to adopt a religious perspective, looking beyond an individual’s ability to repay the loan. The impact of such a business or project on the society is a priority consideration, and could be the sole reason for refusing a loan. In this regard, business ideas which go against morality or societal growth, are not given loans.
The bank also offers its loans in a manner that creates a partnership between the bank and the borrower, towards improving the society. A profit for the company is a profit for the bank, while a loss for the company is also a loss for the bank, even though steps are taken to recover the capital.
How many people will be employed by the business? How will it impact the environment and the economy? These are some of the questions considered before a loan is either granted or refused. This is why bankers in the space like to refer to it as “banking with a face” or ethical banking.
(READ MORE: Jaiz Bank Plc appoints new directors)
No matter how profitable a venture is, if any part of its operations is considered detrimental to societal welfare, it will be declined. If, for any reason, a customer is to be penalized for default, the proceeds cannot be listed as part of profits for the bank, but is ploughed into the society as charity.
Audited financials from the company shows that the company is fast growing to make up for the early years of little or no profit.
The FY 2019 audited reports show that the company declared dividends of 3 kobo per share, an improvement on previous years’ performances, where no dividend was declared. Total assets grew 54% YOY, from N108.4 billion in 2019 to N167 billion in 2019, while deposits rose 50% to N127 billion, from the N85 billion recorded in 2018.
Gross earnings grew from N8.7 billion to N14.7 billion, and Cost to Income ratio improved from 87.28% in 2018 to 80.21% in 2019, with return on assets and equity rising to 1.26% and 13.57% respectively.
Profit before tax shot up 135% from 898 million in 2018 to N2.1 billion in 2019, and earning per share grew to 8.29 kobo from 2.83 kobo in 2018.
The recently reported Q2 2020 unaudited reports show that in spite of the COVID-19 challenges in the country, the bank had a fair outing in the second quarter of the year, with a clear improvement across all indicators in comparison to Q2 2019.
JAIZ Bank Plc is fast-growing, achieving much in good time, although Nigerians are yet to fully understand this system of banking. There is also the supervision of the Advisory Committee of Experts (ACE), which ensures that banking operations are done in line with the dictates of Sharia law.
The bank includes non-Islamic employees in its workforce, a point to back the claims that it is not religiously inclined, though more needs to be done in its board composition to fully corroborate this, and show the public that it is a bank that accommodates all religions.