FG OFFERS 9-MONTH TAX AMNESTY FOR TAX OFFENDERS
The Federal Government, today, launched its voluntary asset and income declaration scheme (VAIDS) to broaden the country’s tax base and offer incentives for tax evaders. The tax amnesty will run for the next nine months, effective from July 1, 2017 to December 31. A “waiver of interest and penalty, no prosecution of tax offences and no tax audit” would be offered to all tax evaders who declare their “hidden assets”.
NIGERIA PACKAGES TUBERS OF YAM FOR EXPORT
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed that Nigeria would begin to export yam to Europe starting from today June 29th. This would serve as a means of economic diversification and also as a way of generating foreign exchange. In the first phase, 72 tonnes of yam would be exported to the United Kingdom.
NCAA ISSUES FIRST DRONES OPERATOR CERTIFICATE TO OANDO
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has today issued its first Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs)/Drones Operator’s Certificate (ROC) to Oando Reservoir and Production Services Ltd (a subsidiary of Oando Plc). The company received the certificate having satisfied the requirements and found competent to secure the safe operation of the aircraft type Lockheed Martin’s SN 248-255. The certificate is for flights with the purpose of aerial work specifically Environmental Observation Monitoring and Protection.
Capt. Muhtar Usman, Director General, NCAA, who presented the certificate to the Oando management at the Aviation House in Lagos; noted that the organisation was pioneering the issuance of certificate to civil and private operators in the unmanned aircraft operations category. Usman said the RPAs Operators Certificate would remain in force till June 15, 2019 and should be carried on site during authorised and approved operations.
To qualify for the certificate, applicants are expected to go through five phases including pre-application stage, formal application, document evaluation, demonstration and inspection, and final certification.
Last year, the Office of the National Security Adviser had banned the arbitrary deployment of drones by individuals or organisation in Nigeria,except those who got licences from the NCAA.
FED GOVT APPROVES 6 CASHEW FACTORIES FOR EXPORT TO WALMART
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday gave an approval for the establishment of six cashew-processing factories for export. These factories would be cited in the cashew belt areas of Enugu, Imo, Benue, Kogi, Kwara and Oyo states to meet the export demand of 130,000 tons valued at $7 billion per annum to Walmart Super Market chain in the United States of America, USA. The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe also disclosed government’s plan to commence massive export of varieties of beans to India.
FRANCE TO INVEST €1BN IN NIGERIA’S OIL, GAS SECTOR
The France Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, has said that French Development Agency has set aside about one billion euros to be invested in the Nigeria oil and gas industry, stating that Nigeria remains her first economic trading partner in Africa. According to him, this money has been put in place to encourage French investors to invest in the Nigeria Oil and Gas sector. He noted that with the significant scale down in pipeline vandalism and insecurity which has boosted oil production, global investors such as the French Government can now invest in renewable energy, gas and power infrastructural development, pipeline construction, storage facility and the direct sales and direct purchase of Nigeria crude oil grades.
This, he said when the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division (GPAD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, led a delegation to his office in Abuja.
A statement from the corporation said Total is one of the French multinational oil and gas companies in Nigeria with significant investment equity in the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) and Egina project.
ETISALAT NIGERIA IN DEBT CRISIS
Some shareholder groups in the capital market, yesterday, urged Etisalat Nigeria to settle the N1.2 billion debt it owed 13 commercial banks to avoid a takeover. A cross section of the shareholder groups have insisted that the company must settle the debt for the banks to meet up with their dividend obligations. Etisalat had obtained a $1.2 billion (N377.4 billion) syndicated loan in 2013, from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks, to finance a major network rehabilitation, upgrade and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria. The consortium of banks including Access Bank, Zenith Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, First Bank Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Stanbic IBTC, Ecobank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and Access Bank have the top three exposures of the total loan – N80 billion, N42 billion and N40 billion respectively.
Etisalat Nigeria said last week it had paid about half of the initial loan (about N504billion), leaving a total outstanding sum of about $574 million.
Following Etisalat Nigeria’s failure to meet its agreed debt servicing obligations with the banks, its parent company, Emirates Telecommunications Group Company, announced its withdrawal from the company. The Group said in a filing with the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates that it had requested Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS Holding BV, Holding BV, a special purpose vehicle established in Netherlands, to transfer 100 per cent of its shares to United Capital Trustees Limited, legal trustees of the banks by June 15, 2017.
Since that date, negotiations have failed to bring a restructuring of the loan and establish a new ownership structure for the company.
However, in the last few months, Etisalat Nigeria has been in talks with Nigerian banks to restructure a $1.2bn loan after missing repayments. The loan is a seven-year facility agreed with 13 banks in 2013 to re-finance a $650m loan and fund expansion of its network.
Although the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria stepped into the fray to prevent a takeover by the banks, those discussions failed to produce an agreement on restructuring the debt.
In Partnership with Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), National Institute of Marketing Nigeria (NIMN) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Editor: Chienye Nnenna Obiajulu, LL.M
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The Chairman ICPC Prof Bolaji Owasonya making remarks at the Stakeholder meeting