The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in America, on June 4, announced that it was working with banks and crypto firms on improving the technological cooperation in the financial system.
The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asks banks and industry leaders to respond to several questions notably:
“What activities related to cryptocurrencies or crypto assets are financial services companies or bank customers engaged in and what are the barriers or obstacles to further adoption of crypto-related activities in the banking industry?”
READ ALSO: 3 emerging cryptocurrencies to keep tabs on
Why this is happening: Regulators around the world have been increasingly looking at the fundamentals and benefits of adopting cryptos. Many have interpreted Brooks’ (a former lawyer at Coinbase) hiring as the Comptroller of the Currency as evidence of greater interest in perfecting crypto capabilities into the American government’s arsenal.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks, said that yesterday’s announcement would help to bridge the gap between finance and crypto. He said:
“Ways the cryptocurrency regime needs banking services, ways that they need to manage across the bank rails, etc. So we have affirmatively come out and said, give us information about what crypto needs from banking and banking needs from crypto because we want to really do something in that space.”
He also added that figuring out the role of banks as custodians and where stable coins fit in were critical goals going into his term:
“The OCC, quickly under my watch, will get a position together as to what do we think about national banks as appropriate custodians for cryptocurrency. We do not have a view on that and I do not want to presume that but it is certainly an interest of mine from my past life that we need to come to ground on that.
“And then there’s the question of what do we think about stable coins? Are stable coins equivalent to currency or are the cash equivalents? Can they be held by banks in an awesome format or if they are held outside of a bank? Is that covered by banking regulations?”
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.