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Economy & Politics

Buhari meets with AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, promises support

Nigeria stands solidly behind Akinwumi Adesina in his re-election bid as the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, met with the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, at the presidential villa.

The meeting will not be unconnected with the current travails of Adesina, who was accused by a group of whistleblowers for official misconduct and the pressure by the United States Government for an independent probe of all allegations.

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This was disclosed in a tweet posted on the president’s official Twitter handle.

The meeting which lasted for about 45 minutes was also attended by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Chief of Staff to the President Ibrahim Gambari.

The President in his statement said, ‘’Nigeria stands solidly behind Akinwumi Adesina in his re-election bid as the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB). We will work with all leaders and stakeholders in AfDB to ensure that he re-elected on the strength of his achievements during this term.

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‘’In 2015, when you were to be elected for the first term, I wrote to all African leaders, recommending you for the position, I didn’t say because you were a PDP Minister, and I belonged to the APC, so I would withhold my support.’’

Adesina has continued to deny the allegations and maintain his innocence.

I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped-up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honour and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank,” Adesina said recently while responding to the accusations.

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The Federal Government has, however, continued to rally support for Adesina as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed in a letter urged the board of the AfDB to ignore calls for an independent investigation of Mr Adesina.

Nigeria’s Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had earlier in his statement, and as a show of support, called on the board of AfDB to ignore calls for an independent investigation of Adesina by the US treasury secretary.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Economy & Politics

AFCFTA is a powerful tool for Africa’s economic integration – ECA

The pandemic has given African an opportunity to review its poor healthcare infrastructure,

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AFCFTA is a powerful tool for Africa’s economic integration –ECA

The Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)Ms Vera Songwe, said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) is a powerful tool to accelerate regional and economic integration in Africa. 

The statement was made during a virtual panel by the African Union marking the Africa Integration for the Continental Free Trade Agreement. 

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She urged that Continental Free Trade Agreement would be Africa’s Marshall plan. Adding that nobody could have predicted the deep effects of the economic crisis on the continent.

“We need to talk about Africa and the AfCFTA. Our Marshall Plan is the AfCFTA. The AfCFTA is our plan, so let us take it and run with it.

 “The Marshall Plan for Europe was about 160 per cent of their GDP traded to bring back growth after the war,” she said. 

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She added that implementation of the AFCFTA, would help the continent have control of its economic future. She added that the UN Economic Commission for Africa forecasts African GDP would decline by 3.2% to -2.8% in 2020 due to the effects of the pandemic. 

(READ MORE: COVID-19: Take-off of Africa Free Trade Zone “AFCFTA” Postponed)

She stressed the need for a continental financial system integration to implement a mutual system of financial stability for sub-Saharan monetary cooperation, while also urging that Africa builds on progress made from implementing The Afreximbank Exchange Facility. 

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 “We need to ensure that as we build the AfCFTA and trade integration, we begin to build stronger, much more robust monetary and fiscal systems that can ensure that as a continent we actually can work with each other in a more effective way,” Songwe said. 

She also urged that the pandemic has given Africa an opportunity to review its poor healthcare infrastructure, citing countries like South Africa, Ethiopia and Morocco developing new healthcare systems. 

Songwe was joined on the panel by Mr Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD and Mr Benedict Okey Oramah, the President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Mr Wamkele Mene, first Secretary-General of the AfCFTA; Mr Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, Secretary-General COMESA; and Paolo Gomes of AfroChampions. 

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The panelist jointly agreed that the economic crisis due to COVID-19 was an opportunity for Africa to learn lessons on the needs for Industrial developments by producing its own pharmaceutical industry.

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Economy & Politics

Tax debt payments extended to August 31- FIRS

Tax debtors are to liquidate their outstanding tax liabilities on or before August 31.

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7.5% VAT: Implementation to begin Feb 1 – FG, FIRS redeploys 50 directors in massive shakeup ,FIRS moves to stop tax evasion with newly launched intelligence system , FIRS boss, Nami discloses why FIRS failed to meet revenue target under Fowler, FIRS to scale up tax compliance with new policies , FIRS tighten noose on deduction of stamp duty, CIT, others , Nigerians will now pay N50 stamp duty on electronic receipts – FIRS, Tax debt payments extended to August 31- FIRS

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) announced it on Wednesday that it has extended the waiver of penalty and interest window on tax debts owned by businesses and individuals from June 30 to August 31, 2020.

In a statement by the Director Communications and Liaison Department, Mr Abdullahi Ahmad. The Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mr Muhammad Nami said the extension is a sequel to palliative measures set up by the FIRS to help businesses and individuals deal with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy.

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READ MORE: FIRS to deploy new technology in tax collection, as MDAs refuse to pay 7.5% tax

“The latest extension applies to tax audit, tax investigation and desk review assessments, approved installment payment plans under Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme yet to be fully liquidated,” he said.

He added that there would not be any extension after the August 31 due date.

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READ MORE: Nigeria Joins Canada, Thailand and others in taxing digital companies

He urged tax debtors to liquidate their outstanding tax liabilities on or before August 31 in order to partake in the waiver of accumulated interests and penalties.

Nami also advised all businesses and individuals who fall under the waivers to contact their nearest FIRS Regional Debt Management Office and tax controllers for further enquiries.

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Economy & Politics

African Union will accelerate industrialization in order to beat COVID-19

AU is planning on improving industrial output through the establishment of the regional value chain.

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Cyril Ramaphosa, Africa Union to accelerate industrialization to beat Covid-19

The African Union says it will accelerate its industrial development drive and improve supply chains needed for Africa’s trade and logistic growth to overcome the pandemic.

In a statement by the chairman of the AU and South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, the AU is planning on improving industrial output through the establishment of a regional value chain with the aid of private sector stakeholders. The statement commemorating Africa Integration Day was co-signed by AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat and Mahamadou Issoufou, the president of Niger.

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President Ramaphosa added that the African free trade area is the best tool that can help the continent speed up its regional economic integration to battle the effects of the pandemic. He added that the creation of a free trade area is “defragmenting Africa to put behind us the history of small uncompetitive markets that have thwarted our efforts to achieve inclusive sustainable development for the benefit of our people.”

The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement was signed last year and was meant to commence this year in July but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the negotiations for tariff concessions for trade in goods; a date has not yet been announced to resume negotiations.

READ MORE: China exempts some African countries from debt repayment

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When fully ratified and operational by 2030, the ACFTA would be the largest free trade area by land area, servicing a potential of 1.2 billion people and with combined GDP of $2.5 trillion. Of the 54 nations that have signed the agreement, only 28 have ratified it so far. Nigeria is one of the countries yet to ratify over worries of “dumping”. Internal trade in Africa is just 15% compared to Europe’s 70% and Asia’s 58%. The ACFTA when fully ratified will reduce tariffs on goods by 90% and help promote investment and movement of goods, people and capital in the continent.

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