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CITN issues rejoinder to ICAN’s claim over court case

The rebuttal claims that there are some ‘critical misinterpretations’ contained in ICAN’s claims concerning the judgment.

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CITN

The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has issued a rebuttal to the “critical misrepresentations” that are supposedly contained in a notice to members sent out by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) over a court case, as reported by Nairametrics.

Recall that ICAN had informed its members that Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the High Court of Lagos State ruled in their favour by striking out “Suit No. LD/3288GCM/19 – CITN VS ICAN” which was filed by CITN. In the suit, CITN had, among other things, prayed the court to restrain ICAN members from filing tax returns with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) unless they have a CITN license.

CITN’s position: Now, in its rebuttal to ICAN’s claims concerning the court case, a copy of which was sent to Nairametrics, CITN clarified the following points:

  1. The Ruling of the Hon. Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the 2/7/2020 in LD/3288GCM/19 did not invalidate the MOU and TOS because it did NOT address the issues in the substantive suit, itself. However, since ICAN has resiled from the MoU and ToS it freely entered with CITN, the CITN will not stop ICAN from walking away.
  2. The Judge only struck out the suit based on the Preliminary Objection of ICAN to the effect that the suit was an abuse of court process because the issues in it were the same as the issues in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 – ICAN VS FIRS & 1 OTHER which was earlier decided in favour of CITN.  However, the issues in the two suits are completely different and distinct as has now been explicitly admitted by ICAN in its Notice under reference when it said: “The earlier ruling at the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make pronouncement on the memorandum and terms of settlement between ICAN and CITN.”ICAN having admitted  that the judgment in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make any pronouncement on the MOU and TOS (and this is a fact), how then could issues in that suit be the same as those in LD/3288GCM/2019 (decided by Justice Onigbanjo) which only asked for judicial pronouncement on the MOU and TOS?
  3. Regulation 5 of the Tax Administration (Self-Assessment) Regulations, 2011, was categorically annulled by the Hon. Justice Liman in the judgment delivered in FHC/L/CS/125/2019 on 21/11/2019.  None of the lawyers to the parties (including ICAN) can deny hearing the annulment of Regulation 5 during delivery of the judgment. It is unfortunate that ICAN is jumping the gun in a case with a pending post-judgment application.
  4. In the judgment delivered in FHC/L/CS/1480/2018 – CHIEF IGBAROOLA & OTHERS VS FIRS & OTHERS on 21/5/2019, the Hon. Justice A. O. Faji, declared: “CITN Act is thus superior to ICAN Act on the issue of tax practice.  The Self-Assessment Regulations being in conflict with the CITN Act is null and void.  The Plaintiffs cannot practice as tax agents without first being members of the 2nd Defendant.”
  5. In the Court of Appeal judgement of 2013 between ICAN v. CITN, it was held that the power to regulate and control the tax profession, to the exclusion of any other body, in Nigeria lies with CITN.
  6. It is, therefore, now firmly settled from all the relevant judgements at the Lagos High Court, Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal, which have all upheld the primacy of the CITN Charter, that no member of ICAN can practice taxation without first being a member of CITN.
  7. For the avoidance of doubt, no ICAN member, who is not registered with CITN, has been permitted by any law or court decision to practice taxation. The law has made it clear about the professional body that can regulate tax profession in Nigeria and CITN reserves the right to invoke the relevant provisions against any person that violates the provisions of its charter.

The backstory: The disagreement between ICAN and CITN dates back to 2015 following a misinterpretation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Terms of Settlement (ToS) between the two organisations. Due to the disagreement, CITN took legal actions in a bid to basically make the MoU and ToS binding on ICAN members.


You may read CITN’s full rejoinder by clicking here and follow up on ICAN’s notice to its members here.

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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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Corporate Press Releases

Shareholders applaud FCMB, approve dividend of N2.97bn at AGM

The virtual meeting is also in accordance with Section 254 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 and as approved by the CAC.

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Shareholders of FCMB Group Plc (www.fcmbgroup.com) have restated their confidence in the financial institution to sustain its impressive performance and deliver more value. The shareholders gave the commendation at the 8th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Group held on April 21, 2021 at its corporate head office in Lagos. They also unanimously approved the payment of a dividend of N2.97 billion, translating to 15 kobo per ordinary share for the year ended December 31, 2020, as against 14 kobo per share the previous year.

The AGM was held virtually due to the prevailing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and streamed live via www.fcmb.com/AGM to shareholders of the financial institution. This is in conformity with government’s directives on physical distancing and the restriction on maximum number of people at every gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual meeting is also in accordance with Section 254 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 and as approved by the Corporate Affairs Commission.

FCMB Group is a holding company divided along three business groups; Commercial and Retail Banking (First City Monument Bank Limited, Credit Direct Limited, FCMB (UK) Limited and FCMB Microfinance Bank Limited); Corporate & Investment Banking (The Corporate Banking Division of the Bank, FCMB Capital Markets Limited and CSL Stockbrokers Limited) and Investment Management (FCMB Pensions Limited, FCMB Asset Management Limited and FCMB Trustees Limited).

The Chairman of FCMB Group, Mr. Oladipupo Jadesimi, along with the Group Chief Executive, Mr. Ladi Balogun; Company Secretary/General Counsel, Mrs. Funmi Adedibu; a Director of the Group, Mrs. Olapeju Sofowora; Executive Director, Corporate Banking & Investment Banking of the Group, Mr. Olufemi Badeji, representatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission as well as leaders of shareholder Associations, were present at the meeting.

Speaking at the AGM, the Co-ordinator of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, praised the institution for efficiently running its affairs and the appreciable growth recorded in key operating areas.

According to him, “FCMB is a great institution and we are glad that its value is growing. The fact that it has been able to meet all its financial obligations to its creditors is a very good sign of strength. It also shows the seriousness of the management to remain worthy of doing business with. From the results, it is clear that the management has done its best to grow all the subsidiaries, thereby contributing significantly to profit and the overall performance of the Group. We appreciate the results and dividends declared by FCMB, while looking forward to many more years of prosperity”.

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Also commenting, the National Co-ordinator of Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria Mrs. Bisi Bakare, stated that, “we are impressed by the digital transformation drive of FCMB which has impacted positively on customer service and financial inclusion. We commend FCMB for the introduction of paperless and cardless transactions at branches and other touch points. We are also happy that the Bank intervened to support the government and Nigerians to ease the problems caused by COVID-19 through various support. It is also a thing of joy to see the Bank carrying out several activities to grow businesses and empower Nigerians, especially youths. The 2020 results are a welcome development”.

The National Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, said, “FCMB as a Group has done so well over the years in every aspect of business. The institution is growing rapidly with branches all over the country. It is also performing well in terms of innovation, technology and customer service. Profit and dividend are rapidly increasing going by the 2020 financial results. The dividend payment of 15k to shareholders is a very good one in the midst of the difficult situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, FCMB Group has done excellently well and we are optimistic of a brighter future”.

Presenting the report for the year ended December 31, 2020, the Chairman, Mr. Jadesimi, assured that FCMB Group is well-positioned to continue to succeed in the years to come, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. He attributed the optimism to the decisions that the financial institution has made over the past few years, especially those around leveraging new digital technology, to expand access to financial transactions.

According to him, ‘’the Board of Directors has adopted a policy that seeks to provide investors with a stable and sustainable form of capital distribution, with consideration given to the growth and capital requirements of the business, thereby maximising long-term share value for shareholders’’.

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On his part, the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr. Ladi Balogun, reported that in spite of the challenging macroeconomic environment, the Group grew profit after tax by 13.4% to N19.7billion. He added that this increase had a direct correlation with earnings per share, which grew from 87 kobo in 2019 to 98 kobo in 2020, while return on average equity also rose to 9.2% from 9%.

He stated that, “our businesses continue to improve with growth in other key indicators, such as loans and advances 14.9% and total assets 23.4%. Customer deposits grew by 33.3% to over N1.2 trillion with a large portion of the growth coming from current and savings accounts. Our customer base in the Group also increased from 6.8 million to 8.3 million. Our investment management businesses increased their assets by 23% to almost N500 billion at the end of the year’’.

Mr. Balogun further reported that, “across the Group, our digital transformation gathered momentum, with the total number of internet banking growing by 43% to 6.6 million. Transaction volumes from mobile banking (App and USSD) grew by 74% in 2020. Our digital loans grew from N14.5 billion in 2019 to N54.6 billion at the end of 2020. Innovation and efficiency gains will be the key pillars on which we seek to raise our game in the near future. We expect that in 2021, we will continue with the strides we have made with our digital initiatives, as our technology platforms and products continue to contribute to our performance and competitiveness. We will remain resilient and innovative in charting new avenues for growth. We will also remain committed to elevating the quality of life of all our stakeholders’’.

Speaking on the response of FCMB Group to the challenges of COVID-19, he disclosed that the financial institution contributed immensely to the efforts at combating the spread of the pandemic and alleviating the pains of the most vulnerable members of the society by donating N250 million to the CACOVID initiative.

The Group Chief Executive added that, “we also supported state governments across the country to provide testing, palliatives, various medical items, including Personal Protective Equipment and ambulances to assist them effectively equip and secure health workers. We also provided catalytic support for givefood.ng. Through this initiative, one million vulnerable Nigerians had access to meals during the height of the government lockdown’’.

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FCMB Group and its subsidiaries have consistently proved their mettle as resilient institutions with significant improvement on all financial fundamentals over the years.

Among other results for the year 2020, the Group’s gross revenue increased to N199.4 billion, a 10% increase from N181.3 billion achieved in 2019. The results also showed enhanced customers confidence in FCMB, as deposits grew by 33% to N1.3trillion from N943.1billion in the previous year. Loans and advances surged by 15% to N822.8 billion as at December 2020. Total assets of the Group increased by 23% to N2.06 trillion last year. Moreover, FCMB Group’s net interest income was up by 20% to N90.8 billion for the full year 2020 from N76.0 billion in 2019. Non-interest income equally increased to N37.8 billion, representing a 9% growth, as against N34.8 billion prior year. The Group’s Assets Under Management (AUM) also sustained its growth trajectory by rising to N495.2 billion for the year ended December 2020, up by 23%.

Similarly, capital adequacy ratio remained stable at 17.7% for the retail and commercial banking subsidiary of the Group (that is, First City Monument Bank). The capital adequacy ratio of 17.7% is above the benchmark set by the Central Bank of Nigeria for deposit money Banks in the country. Liquidity ratio of the Bank stood at 34.2% as at the end of the financial year 2020, indicating that the financial institution is in a very healthy position. Non-performing loans to total loans ratio stood at a modest 3.3%.

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Analysts have already expressed broadly positive views on FCMB’s 2020 financial results. An analyst described it as, “very encouraging”.

A financial expert stated that, “the 2020 results of the Group is a clear indication that the business is on a stronger pedestal with capacity to deliver more value to shareholders, the market and other stakeholders”.

FCMB Group is a frontline financial services institution in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments. Having successfully transformed to a retail banking and wealth management-led group, FCMB has continued to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services.

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CBN assures exporters of unhindered access to their dollar earnings

The CBN has given assurances to exporters that they will continue to have unfettered access to their export proceeds.

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CBN forex restrictions on food itemsCBN approves new cheque standard for banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given assurances to exporters that they will continue to have unfettered access to their export proceeds.

This is believed to be part of the monetary control measure by the apex bank to ensure more dollar inflow and maintain forex liquidity.

This disclosure was made by the Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, during a virtual presentation at Zenith Bank’s 2021 Export Seminar, on Thursday, April 20, 2021.

Emefiele, however, in his statement, urged the exporters to reciprocate the good gestures of the central bank by repatriating their funds back to the country.

He said that supporting greater trade within Africa and the global community is vital to the CBN’s objectives of enabling greater economic growth and creating employment opportunities for the country’s growing population.

Emefiele said there is a strong push for the diversification of the Nigerian economy as the coronavirus outbreak has impacted negatively on global oil prices in 2020, which led to a huge drop in the country’s foreign exchange earnings and government revenue.

The CBN boss was optimistic that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) will provide opportunities for the Nigerian private sector to expand into new markets and seek new export opportunities, particularly in the area of manufacturing, ICT, agriculture and financial services.

He stated that the full implementation of AFCFTA would give Nigerian firms preferential access to markets in Africa with a value of about $504.17 billion in goods and $162 billion in services.

What you should know

It can be recalled that the CBN had introduced several measures to encourage the inflow of forex into the country following the sharp drop in oil revenue.

Some of those measures include the Naira 4 Dollar Scheme, an initiative aimed at giving incentives to senders and recipients of international money transfer in order to attract more diaspora remittances through official channels

The CBN had in January 2021, announced that all Nigerian exporters who are yet to repatriate their export proceeds, will be barred from banking services effective from January 31, 2021.

Why this matters

The CBN believes that repatriating these export proceeds via the NAFEX (Investor and Exporter) window will improve liquidity in the official market and perhaps strengthen the naira at the black market.

Most of the exporters sell their forex to the parallel market where it can be exchanged for higher naira value-boosting their gains on foreign currency conversions.

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However, it is yet to be seen if exporters will comply with this directive or seek other means of avoiding the hammer on them. Most exporters already find a way to avoid these hammers by opening foreign bank accounts where most of the export proceeds are warehoused and then sold at the black market.

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