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Fidson receives shareholders’ nod to raise N6billion fresh fund

Fidson receives shareholders’ nod to raise N6billion fresh fund

Fidson Healthcare Plc, at the weekend, received shareholders’ nod to raise additional N6billion for business expansion and other growth initiatives.The company’s shareholders also approved the payment of N75million total dividends, culminating to five kobo per share for the financial year ended December 31, 2016.

According to Fidson, the dividend warrant will be posted to members whose names appeared in the register of members at the close of business on June 23, 2017.

Reviewing its performance during its 18th yearly general meeting in Lagos, the Chairman, Felix Ohiwerei, explained that the firm completed its new factory towards the end of 2016, adding that the fresh fund would boost its working capital, which was affected by currency depreciation and other macro-economic challenges.

He explained further that the new capital would be sourced through public offering, rights issue, private placement of shares or other methods in the ratio and terms including pricing of the securities, conditions, and dates to be determined by the directors.

On their future outlook, Ohiwerei said: “the completion of our new factory and the concentration of production on one site is an important milestone for the company. The board is confident that the company is in a very good position to remain a leading player in the industry.

“The board is also confident that the company will continue to yield good returns to the shareholders. Through the new infusion lines that we recently added, new products have been introduced. ’’

These products have been well received by the market.”The company’s profit after tax for the year 2016 dropped to N316.76million from N744.39 million recorded in 2015, while turnover stood at N7.66 billion, representing a decline of seven per cent when compared with N8.210 billion recorded in 2015.

Gross profit was N4.06 compared with N5.35 billion made in the preceding year, showing a decline of N24.21 percent. Operating profit also declined to N1.09 billion from N1.52 billion recorded in 2015.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again attributed current economic crises to a mix of external factors like slide in crude oil prices, and internal factors such as under-investment in domestic productive sector.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again attributed current economic crises to a mix of external factors like slide in crude oil prices, and internal factors such as under-investment in domestic productive sector.

The institution also listed the country’s decayed infrastructure, and the challenge of persuading deposit money banks in Nigeria to channel credit to the real sector.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said this while speaking on developments in the Nigerian economy, in a paper titled: “The Dilemma of Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Management in a Recession: Potential Options for Nigeria”. He said the challenges prompted the CBN to fashion out an appropriate exchange rate strategy to achieve price and financial system stability and restart growth.

Presenting the paper at the Second Homecoming series of the Economics Department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, yesterday, he expressed concern that the educational sector in the country had lost its glory, noting that any country desirous of making tremendous growth must prioritise health and education.

He recalled that there was a time when UNN students were fed with poultry products and bread produced in the school and stressed the need for all stakeholders in the education sector to contribute their quota in restoring Nigeria to its pride of place.

Emefiele also challenged tertiary institutions in the country to focus on research that will boost economic development, just as he assured that the CBN will work with relevant stakeholders to stimulate research for the overall good of Nigeria.

The bank chief noted that CBN, as part of its contribution, had contributed to education through the provision of Centres of Excellence in some universities across Nigeria to encourage world class research and stimulate growth.

To address the ongoing challenges, he noted that the CBN introduced policies at both the management and the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) levels targeted at stabilizing the economy.

Of particular reference was efforts made by the bank in checking the further depletion of Nigeria’s external reserves in the face of dwindling income and increased demand for foreign exchange.

The bank also had to make the foreign exchange market flexible as well as prioritise the most critical needs for foreign exchange, after restricting access to the foreign exchange for a category of 41 commodities, which it saw as being unnecessary drains to the country’s reserves.

He said the institution had been unjustly castigated for taking actions in the best interest of the economy, but would not be deterred from its objective of setting it on the path of sustainable development in the medium to long-term.

As a way out of reliance on other countries’ products, which could be produced locally, he emphasised the need for the country to invest in basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, airports, railways and information technology.He added that the country also needed to explore opportunities in Public Private Partnerships for infrastructure projects that could offer lucrative returns to investors and help drive economic growth across Nigeria.

Emefiele also stressed the need for fiscal policy to target improved labour productivity and increased disposable incomes for workers, as ways of stimulating household consumption and business investments.

Citing agriculture as the largest employer of labour in Nigeria, he pointed out that CBN, working with relevant Ministries and agencies, had contributed greatly to the revamp of the sector through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and other agricultural interventions. So far, the bank has committed about N29 billion to the ABP with active participation of 24 states of the federation.

Other policy options listed by the CBN Governor include: exploration for more revenue, pursuit of non-oil exports, and enactment of import-reducing policies that will encourage Nigerians to look inwards and discourage the importation of items that can be produced in Nigeria.

With the inflation rate still hovering above 16 per cent, Mr. Emefiele said the CBN would be failing in one of its key mandates if it cuts interest rates at this time. He disagreed with argument of those pushing for a rate cut as a path to growth, noting that high inflation was inimical to economic growth.

“Interest rates reflect not just the cost of capital but also the cost of doing business, and so we need to also look at interest rates from the perspective of the lender.“Given that most banks have to individually provide security, power, and other infrastructure, it is not surprising that some of these costs are passed on to customers in the form of high interest rates,” he explained.

However, he assured that the CBN would continue to rely on moral suasion to encourage Deposit Money Banks in the country to be more considerate in interest charges on customers.

Tackling tax leakages in the 21st Century

Tackling tax leakages in the 21st Century

In our last edition of InsideTax publication, we explored the concepts of tax avoidance and tax evasion and the impact of tax leakages on government revenue. We also highlighted some ways through which tax evasion occurs in Nigeria.

In this edition, we will evaluate one common tax evasion scheme – sales suppression and explore the technology-based counter-measures prescribed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Perpetrators of sales suppression aim at under-reporting sales and its corresponding profit and income tax liability. Sales suppression also has the impact of under-reporting value added tax. Specifically, sales suppression occurs when taxpayers do not record cash sales or transaction trails are altered or deleted with the use of electronic tools.

Generally, cash sales are considered synonymous with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that constitute the informal sector. Considering that SMEs contribute more than half of Nigeria’s gross domestic product, one would have expected concerted efforts from tax authorities in tackling leakages from sales suppression in a cash environment. Ironically, we are not seeing this happening. This may not be unrelated to the fact that a large number of businesses in Nigeria are not registered for taxes in the first place. Since a significant portion of unregistered businesses operate in the informal sector, the approach for the informal sector should be geared towards expanding the tax net. This is one of the objectives that the recently launched voluntary assets and income declaration scheme (VAIDS) seeks to achieve.

Meanwhile, as a result of the cashless economy being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), many business enterprises including SMEs are beginning to adopt technology tools such as online transfers and point of sale (POS) systems for receipt and payment of cash. This could be deemed good news for tax authorities on the premise that business transactions, which could have erstwhile been suppressed under the cash system, should increasingly become easier to track. Be that as it may, it is not yet ’jubilation moment’ due to the availability of electronic tools that can alter evidence of transactions by falsifying the electronic records of POS systems, according to OECD.

The foregoing has made it necessary to identify sophisticated counter measures to combat the menace of electronic sales suppression. The most prevalent counter measure against sales suppression, according to OECD, is data recording technology (DRT). DRT records and secures sales data in real time as the transactions occur and stores such data as tamper proof. Examples of these technologies include electronic fiscal device, fiscal memory device, sales data controller or sales recording module. These tools are able to send transaction data automatically to the tax authorities, connecting cash registers online to their data server systems. This can be on daily or monthly basis. The tax authorities then have the opportunity to access the data from their remote offices for compliance and review purposes. These tools can be used concurrently and are not mutually exclusive.

Austria, Belgium, Hungary and Rwanda have recorded successes adopting these tools. Rwanda introduced electronic cash registers in March 2013 and recorded an increase of 20% in VAT collected on sales in 2015.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) recently took a giant step in this direction when it contacted major taxpayers in some sectors of the economy especially maritime and financial services. FIRS notified the taxpayers of its intention to deploy VAT automated monitoring systems in order to ensure faster and more accurate monitoring, collection and remittance of VAT. The systems are expected to interface with the accounting/database systems of the taxpayers.

We are also aware of a Communication Service Tax Bill under consideration in the National Assembly, which seeks, inter alia, to establish a new type of tax known as communication service tax payable by users of electronic communication services. Under the bill, FIRS is responsible for collection of the tax from service providers. For the purpose of verification of taxes due to government, it is proposed that an agent would be appointed to establish both electronic and physical monitoring mechanisms to monitor, analyze, verify and save all necessary data and information. Service providers will be expected to provide access to their relevant network for this purpose.

The above suggests that the Nigerian government is already thinking and working towards adoption of various forms of electronic tools for the purpose of verifying the integrity of taxpayers’ data and combating possible revenue leakages from sales suppression. Some questions that readily come to mind for this game changing disruption in the Nigerian fiscal space are:

  • what is the technology capability of FIRS?
  • does current domestic legal framework support this?
  • are there existing infrastructure that can be leveraged?
  • what is in it for the Nigerian taxpayer?

Taking a critical look at the automated VAT monitoring systems which appear to be in implementation stage, it is unclear if proper consultation with stakeholders was conducted before deciding on implementation of the technology solution. Other points of concern are:

  • whether the input-output VAT mechanism has been taken into consideration in this solution
  • how sales/transactions that do not materialize will be treated
  • whether taxpayers will still enjoy the 21 days period for remittance of VAT since collection and remittance of VAT would be automated
  • will the e-filing platform be integrated as part of the system or will taxpayers be expected to file separately under another platform?
  • who will bear the cost of integration of the solution to taxpayers’ systems?
  • what confidentiality and security issues will need to be addressed?

While we laud FIRS’ efforts of automating tax validation, assessment and collection processes, it is imperative that stakeholders be carried along on all fronts for successful implementation. This will importantly help to allay fears and increase acceptability of this much needed disruption.

In defence of Donald Trump

It is just a question of time; Donald Trump will prove to be the best thing that has happened to America and to the world, from creation till the end of times. Already there are signs of greatness, arising from his proclamation that America must be great again. The proclamation itself, I dare say, is enough to make America great. As we all know before Trump won the throne in the White House America was very small in the eyes of the world. European leaders had no respect for America.

Even African nations treated America like a leper. America could not conquer a band of terrorists who went about with some miserable equipment made up of broken bottles and shrapnel driving fear into the hearts of America. A gang of scoundrels came together, seized planes inside America and launched a blistering attack on the Twin Towers in New York. America under other Presidents from Bush to Obama, could not exact revenge. We are not really sure that Osama Bin Laden has been taken out by Obama people. Now with the coming of Donald Trump it is clear that there will be no terrorist bombing in America anymore, and Osama Bin Laden will surely be put to death. And America will be winning and winning and winning again!

Ever since he decidedly trounced the Clinton machine in the Presidential elections last year, there has been no let up in the ferocious attack on the positive policies that Trump has for America. For example, as Presidential Candidate, Trump promised to pull his dear country out of the Climate Deal which President Obama had erroneously led America into. It is clear to all, even the blind, that there is nothing like climate change. Rain still falls. The sun still shines. The moon and the sun have remained in place. So which climate has changed? By the way, as President Trump has contended the Arctic needs to melt so that the natural resources there could be exploited for the benefit of mankind. Coal business is good for America so why shut down that antiquated source of power?

As for those who accuse the long-suffering excellent and successful gentle businessman that is Donald Trump of placing members of his immediate family in strategic positions in government, let it be known that it is in conjunction with the universally accepted principle that charity must begin at home. There is no law against appointing one’s son as Special Adviser or even Minister of Justice. Except you place loyal appointees in strategic positions how may you watch your back? Indeed, had the sacked head of the FBI, Mr. Comey been a younger sibling of Trump’s do you think he would not have stopped the monkey investigation into the Russian connection? Indeed, once things settle, he should make his beautiful daughter Secretary of State and make his family great again. I expect people to be reasonable and help the man to fulfill his God-given mission.

Fittingly, Trump has made it clear that he has no time for the LGBT nonsense that Obama smuggled into the land through the Supreme Court. How can men marry one another? Very awkward. What does it mean for two women to marry? Good a thing that Trump has taken over and all the noise about gay rights will be thrown into the dustbin of history. Be sure that with the conservative majority, Trump will overturn the gay marriage stuff, ban all Muslims from entering America and prepare to expel Islam from the Western world. He is also set to reform Christianity from the White House and jail all the pastors who gave and still give support to the gay rights nonsense of the Obama years. He will set Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. I look forward to Trump bombing the Palestinians and obliterating North Korea. We need a strong no-nonsense man in the White House.

I also suppose that all the hot air about the Russian connection will fizzle out in no time. To hell with all the stupid issues which enemies of progress are pushing in mainstream media! Trump should visit Moscow very soon and have lunch with Putin. While in Moscow he should tell Strongman Putin, Chief Architect of the Clinton defeat, all the top secrets of America. As President, he is allowed to tell anybody anything he wishes to disclose. The Commander-in-chief has the discretionary powers to make deals on behalf of the nation. If the American people think otherwise they will vote him out during the next elections.

I simply admire Donald Trump. While on his first visit as President to the Middle East and Europe, the love between him and his dear wife Ivanka, sorry Melania, was excellently displayed to the world. Some people made a mountain out of a molehill when Melania brushed off his hand in the open glare of the international media. Don’t we sometimes disagree with our wives? The second time, to avoid Trump’s hand, she moved her hand to adjust her hair! That woman deserves to be sacked from matrimony for trying to embarrass her husband, the Imperial President of America in the eyes of the world! I wonder what Trump is waiting for. There are millions of full blooded completely white American women waiting to take over the role of First Lady and suck it the Billionaire in the White House!

I take exception to the German paper which portrayed Trump as a child president on the most powerful seat in the world. I do know that as we get old, we develop child-like tendencies. I remember the character King Lear in the eponymous play by Shakespeare who gave away his kingdom because at seventy, senility had taken over. I also remember the biblical threescore and ten allocation of life to man. If at seventy he begins to show child-like behaviour, it is not enough to ridicule him. Was Ronald Reagan any better?

Trump is a man from outside the smelly field of decrepit politicians. So far he has not groped his usual targets. He is still groping on the world stage. He is an excellent businessman who believes in making excellent deals. He should be allowed to make all the deals which the American electorate elected him to do. He should sell one of the States of America to Russia so that there would be peace in the world! For as you know, once Russia and America agree to drink tea and live in peace there would be world peace and there would be no need for nuclear weapons in the world. And America will be great again!

A Guide To Online Shopping in Nigeria

Online shopping has taken the world by storm.  It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when the thought of buying things online was such an alien concept. Fast forward 15 years, however, and it’s safe to say that a brand risks alienating a huge portion of the global market if they choose not to have some kind of online presence.

While most people have jumped aboard the online shopping train and relish the ease and convenience of shopping from the comfort of their homes, there are definitely some rules that you should abide by to ensure you don’t regret your decisions to shop online. Whether novice or expert, read on to learn some online shopping do’s and don’ts.

Do’s

Set a budget: Whatever your shopping for, make sure you decide how much you want to spend before you go to your site of choice to avoid being tempted by the new arrivals and never-ending discounts.

Have a shopping plan: Whether you’re shopping for shoes, accessories or a Saturday night dress, make sure you have in mind what you’re planning to buy to avoid over spending.

Sort your selection by lowest price first:  By doing this you’ll see all the bargains the store has on offer, whilst ensuring that you’re able to stay within your budget.

Sort your selected category by new arrivals:  This way not only do you get to see all the newest trends and products, but you’re also more likely to get products in your size.

Don’ts

Pay in advance if cash on delivery options are available: It’s far easier for you to reject an order if it’s not suitable rather than having to chase for a refund.

Place an order before checking the sites refund policy:  There’s nothing worse than placing a huge order you intended on choosing from before realising you’re stuck with everything they’ve delivered.

Ordering items from an unknown brand without checking the size chart:  Ensure you understand the sizes of a brand to ensure you understand the product sizes.

Forget to check your site a couple of times a week to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the new arrivals:  You don’t necessarily need to make purchases, but at least you’ll know what’s available should you wish to buy something.

Where to shop?

There are the giants Konga and Jumia that have a wide assortment of clothing, shoes and accessories.  However, there are lots of other boutique sites that have other products made by local designers, and international wholesale brands.

For bubus Grey Velvet provides an always-changing range of fabrics and prints. www.greyvelvetstores.com

If graphic tees are your thing, Garmspot has a huge selection for men at pocket-friendly prices. www.garmspot.com

A hub for all things Nigerian for both men and women is Ochulo, particularly for traditional wear for men.  www.ochulo.com

Slides? Yes, please!  With both black and silver colours available, TNL Designs are the place to visit for both shoes and clothing. www.shoptnldesigns.com –

If you’re looking for smart fashion, Fashpa is the place for you.  Utilising local fabrics in western shapes, it’s the perfect place to get clean and lady like silhouettes. www.fashpa.com