Manufacturers Ask FG To Remove 7.5% VAT On Diesel 

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the Federal Government to urgently remove the 7.5% Value Added Tax on diesel.

President of  MAN,  Mansur Ahmed made the call on Thursday at the 25th Annual General Meeting of the Kaduna State branch of the association.

He also asked the government to create a national strategic response to the disruptive impact of the ongoing Russian – Ukraine war on the global supply value chain and its debilitating impact on Nigeria’s economy.

Ahmed stated that such a strategic response will help to identify viable options to ameliorate the negative impact of the disruption, assuage other pain points in the business environment and activate innovative solutions to familiar and emerging macroeconomic and Infrastructure challenges as well as provide a lead way for resilience in the economic ecosystem.

Represented by the chairman of MAN, Bompai branch in Kano State, Sani Saleh, the President said the removal of VAT on diesel should be pending the normalisation of the international supply system as well as resolve the complexity surrounding the seamless implementation of the eligible customer initiative in order to enable manufacturers to take of the advantage of stranded electricity.

Over the years, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector has been acknowledged as the highest contributor to job and wealth creation, skill development and technology transfer.

However, the sector has in recent times been confronted with several challenges ranging from insecurity,  inconsistent and unfavourable government policies and global economic crisis among others.

At the 25th joint AGM, the Kaduna branch of the association said the impact of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war on the country’s economy is leading to the high cost of petroleum products,  high cost of raw materials,  inconsistent government policies, high regulatory compliance and inadequate infrastructure top the agenda for deliberations.

Iran Executes Man Arrested For Murder At Age 17

The Iranian flag

 

Iran executed a man Wednesday who was arrested for murder at the age of 17, the judiciary said, despite appeals to spare his life by rights groups including Amnesty International.

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Arman Abdolali was executed at dawn in Rajai Shahr prison near Tehran, in line with the “qesas” eye-for-an-eye style justice demanded by the victim’s family, said the judiciary’s Mizan Online website.

Amnesty International had appealed on October 11 for Iran to halt the execution of the 25-year-old who was arrested in 2014 and later convicted of murdering his girlfriend.

The London-based rights group said he had been sentenced to death twice but that the execution was stopped both times following an international outcry.

It said Abdolali had first been sentenced to death in December 2015 after “a grossly unfair trial” by a court that “relied on torture-tainted ‘confessions'” following his girlfriend’s disappearance the year before.

It said Abdolali was sentenced to death again in 2020 in a retrial, as the court ruled that the teenager was responsible for the acts in the absence of evidence to the contrary, Amnesty reported.

UN human rights experts also appealed to Iran to halt the execution.

“International human rights law unequivocally forbids imposition of the death sentence on anyone under 18 years of age,” said the Geneva-based UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In 2020, there were 246 executions in Iran, according to Amnesty International.

Iran has often faced international criticism for executing people convicted of crimes committed when they were minors, in violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that has been ratified by the Islamic republic.

AFP

 

 

EFCC Arraigns Man For Alleged N2.7m Fraud In Delta

 

The Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 arraigned Odobor Chukwunalu before Justice Okon.Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Warri, Delta State.

Chukwunalu was arraigned on a two-count charge for allegedly obtaining the sum of Two Million Seven Hundred Thousand Naira (N2,700,000) only under false pretence.

One of the counts reads: “that you Odobor Chukwunalu on or about 24th day of May, 2019 in Warri, Delta State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud obtained the sum of Two Million Seven Hundred Thousand Naira Only (N2,700,000 ) from Ese Oniovosa Festus which was paid into account number: 6012022195 domiciled at Keystone Bank Plc operated by you with the false pretense that you have a 100KVA transformer to supply to him which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act , 2006 and punishable under section I (3) of the same Act”.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.
In view of the plea of the defendant, the prosecution counsel Isa .K. Agwai prayed the court for a trial date. However, counsel to the defendant, Lawrence .Ayewa pleaded with the court to grant the defendant bail, adding that the defendant has been on EFCC’s administrative bail.

Justice Abang granted the defendant bail in the sum of N4million with one surety who must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and possess a landed property with Certificate of Occupancy.

Justice Abang ordered that the defendant be remanded in Nigerian Correctional Service’s custody, pending the fulfillment of the bail conditions, and adjourned the matter till July 29, 2021, for trial.

Manufacturers Call For Review Of Border Closure

The federal government ordered a partial closure of the nation's land borders in August 2019.
The federal government ordered a partial closure of the nation’s land borders in August 2019.

 

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Thursday said the federal government should review its border closure policy and allow the resumption of normal trade activities.

Nigeria partially closed its land borders in August 2019 and halted all trade via land borders in October 2019.

The closures were triggered by the government’s frustration with the smuggling in of rice and illicit exports into exports of locally subsidised petrol to neigbouring countries.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, MAN’s President Ahmed Mansur said while the closure was necessary at the time, it was time for the government to now review its decision.

READ ALSO:  ‘Attack On Borno Farmers Is Satanic’

“We are suggesting that the border should be reopened,” he said. “The closure of the borders we believe has been far enough.

“When the border was closed, there were good reasons for it. Food importation and substandard products made it difficult for our rice farmers, for example, to succeed.

“But after one year, we are of the view that to actually ensure these malpractices, particularly trade malpractices are arrested, the relationship between us and our neighbouring countries which indeed to a large extent has contributed to the problem, should have been resolved. And therefore we believe that the normal thing will be to reopen the borders and allow normal trading to take place.”

Mansur said opening the borders would be in compliance with ECOWAS’ trade liberalisation treaty, which Nigeria is a part of.

Poor Electricity, Multiple Taxation Top List Of Challenges Facing Manufacturers In Nigeria

EKEDC Restores Power To Ikoyi, Environs After Fire Outbreak
File photo

 

The manufacturer’s CEOs Confidence Index (MCCI) has identified inadequate electricity supply and the duo of multiple taxation and overregulation amongst others, as challenges confronting operations in the country.

The report which captures the third quarter of 2019 is created by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to gauge the pulse of the economy on a quarterly basis.

It also listed other challenges to include High-interest rate, Poor accessibility to ports, Poor economic infrastructure and Difficulty in sourcing Forex.

On multiple taxations, the report showed that the majority of MAN CEOs interviewed (89 percent) agreed that multiple taxes and levies depress production in the manufacturing sector.

“Record shows that manufacturers pay over 30 different taxes, levies, and fees to Agencies of the Federal, State and Local Governments on account of increased revenue target.

“Consequently, there is the need to streamline the observed multiplicity of taxes and ensure that only approved taxes/levies/fees are charged.”

READ ALSO: Electricity Unions Cannot Use Power Play To Punish The Country, Says Ngige

It added that there had been an improved level of access to ports operation following the on-going Government reforms.

“Notwithstanding, poor access, heavy traffic and undue congestion at the ports are still prevalent. This assertion was corroborated by the responses of MAN CEOs interviewed in the current MCCI viz-a-viz previous responses in the first and second quarter of the year.”

Despite the Federal Government’s Executive order on the patronage of locally made goods, the report said that 62 percent disagreed that patronage of Nigerian manufactured products has improved as a result of the implementation of the Executive Order 003.

“This response clearly shows that the Executive Order 003 which mandated all Government establishments to make Nigerian manufactured goods first choice in public procurement processes has not been conscientiously implemented.”

It recommended that “there is a need to properly review the implementation processes of Executive Order 003 to ensure that Government patronage of goods manufactured in Nigeria improves to boost the performance of the Nigerian manufacturing companies for increased contribution to national output and increased employment opportunities.”

Meanwhile, the aggregate Manufacturers CEO’s Confidence Index for the third quarter of 2019 of 51.7 points, presented a marginal increase of 0.8 index point over 50.9 index points recorded in the second quarter of the year.

The report lauded the slight increase in the index, stressing that it depicts uptick in the performance of the manufacturing sector and shows that manufacturers’ confidence in the economy improved in the third quarter.

The manufacturer’s index recommended that an urgent resolution of the Nigeria-Benin border dispute should be done, so as to resuscitate Nigeria’s export trade within the ECOWAS region.

“Although the Third Quarter index point indicates marginal improvement in the economy over the preceding quarter, it is far below projections and expectations of MAN and the majority of the member-companies operating in the sector. Therefore, we urge the Government to urgently address the challenges identified and give priority attention to the general recommendations in this report.”

See the ranking of manufacturing sector challenges below:

Poor electricity and gas supplies/Non-reliability of gas supply/Scarcity of Diesel/High cost of LPG1st
Multiple taxation/levies/Frivolous Demand Notices by Government Agencies 

2nd

 

Over Regulation/Too many Government Agencies/Hostile regulatory regime
High-interest rate/Difficult condition in accessing loans in Nigeria/High cost of funds3rd

 

Poor accessibility to ports/Gridlock at the national ports/High Demurrages
Poor economic infrastructure/Bad roads/Poor rail transport systems4th
Difficulty in sourcing Forex/Multiple Forex widows/No Special treatment of manufacturers in sourcing Forex               5th
Low patronage/Poor patronage from the Government/Low turnover 

 

6th

Counterfeiting/influx of sub-standard products/Too many uncertified products in the market
High inflation/High cost of raw materials
High cost of spare parts/High cost of machines7th
High Government Bureaucracy / Closure of Borders 8th
Lack of skilled labour/Expensive skilled labour9th
Insecurity across the country   10th
High cost of Production   11th
Poor Environmental Management System                12th

 

Formation Of Economic Advisory Council Is ‘Timely, Commendable’ – MAN

Chukwuma Soludo                                                                                                               Bismark Rewane

 

 

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has lauded the constitution of an Economic Advisory Council (EAC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement on Tuesday by its Director-General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, MAN described the news of the formation of the council as “timely and commendable”.

President Buhari had set up the Council chaired by Professor Doyin Salami, with Dr Mohammed Sagagi as vice chairman and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Development Policy, Dr Mohammed Salisu, as the secretary.

A former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Chukwuma Soludo, and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr Bismark Rewane, and three others members.

READ ALSO: Soludo, Rewane, Others Appointed To Economic Advisory Council

In his reaction, the MAN DG said, “This, by far, is a clear demonstration of the determination of Mr President to re-energise the management of the economy in his second term in office.

“Nigerians, and indeed the private sector, are highly desirous of an effective and knowledge-driven team that will lead on the economic front.”

According to him, the beauty of the team, apart from the pedigree of its members, is its composition of private-sector citizens who they believe will operate independently and effectively.

Ajayi-Kadir is confident that the team would not be shackled with the bureaucracy of government and political interference.

He insisted that the members were more likely to be receptive to a wide range of opinions and innovations, even if deferring from the norm.

“MAN, therefore, propose that the team in partnership with the private sector should carry out a critical and comprehensive review of the current policy initiatives that drive the actions of government and urgently harmonise the outcomes to craft an agenda that will guide the management of the economy going forward,” the MAN DG recommended.

He added, “Already on ground are policy initiatives such as the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), the 2020-2022 Medium Term Fiscal Framework and Fiscal Strategy.”

Ajayi-Kadir said it behoved the Council to recommend pragmatic programmes that would improve the achievements already made in some areas such as Ease of Doing Business in the country.

He noted that the EAC came on the heels of the promised National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The AfCFTA, according to the MAN DG, is unarguably the most pressing preoccupation of continental economic actors in Africa.

He, however, believes the right composition of the committee will augur well for the needed synergy with the Council to boost Nigeria’s chances of being net gainers in the continental free trade area.

While they look forward to the prospect, Ajayi-Kadir was hopeful that the EAC’s monthly technical sessions and scheduled quarterly meetings with the President would guarantee the attention of government and implementation of its advice.

He said the organized private sector, particularly MAN, would eagerly engage the Council in a bid to achieve the desired growth and development of the nation’s economy.

AfCFTA: MAN Urges FG To Adopt Technology-Based Border Policing

 

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the Federal Government to adopt technology-based border policing and surveillance in addressing the issue of the country’s porous border which has encouraged smuggling of foreign goods.

According to MAN, the move will check abuse of the intra-Africa Trade protocols and trade malpractices, following the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement by MAN’s Director-General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, the government should enhance the capacity of the manufacturing sector and other economic actors to take advantage of the opportunities in the continental free trade area.

“In addressing the issue of the country’s porous border which encouraged smuggling of foreign goods, there could not have been a better time to adopt technology-based border policing and surveillance to check abuse of the intra-Africa Trade protocols and trade malpractices.

“Of urgent attention is for the Government to initiate policies that would encourage startups in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprise, this sector contributes over 80% of the Gross Domestic Product, and if properly incentivized and supported could be able to ramp up production and total exports of the country.”

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On the side of the private sector, MAN called on the government to provide a conducive environment, tackle infrastructure challenges and initiate policies to aid regional competitiveness.

“We shall work together to prevail on the Government to do its own bit by providing the conducive atmosphere. The infrastructure challenges such as poor electricity supply, deplorable road network and lack of adequate transportation system (rail network) etc. that constitute the supply constraints should be removed.

“Needed policies to improve the macroeconomic environment should be put in place and existing ease of doing business initiatives strengthened, especially to lower cost and grow existing capacities.

“To aid the competitiveness of local manufacturers, the government should strongly address the issue of multiple taxations and over-regulation of the production sector which has added to the existing myriad of challenges.

“For an open trade arrangement of this nature, we recommend that Industries that would be negatively impacted by the influx of goods should be supported to invest in new areas and displaced labour retrained to take on new employment or vocation.”

Manufacturers List Poor Electricity, Multiple Taxation As Major Operational Challenges – Survey

Manufacturers List Poor Electricity, Multiple Taxation As Major Operational Challenges

 

Manufacturers have listed poor electricity, multiple taxations, high-interest rates, and poor accessibility to ports as parts of challenges affecting the operational capacity of companies in Nigeria.

This is according to a quarterly Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index (MCCI), conducted by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to measure the pulse of the manufacturing sector.

The survey which captured the First Quarter of 2019, had over 200 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of MAN member-companies across the six geo-political zones of the country and the ten Sectoral Groups of the Association, respond to questionnaires in a bid to identify key areas that need review.

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The result from the first quarter survey showed that manufacturing stood at 51.3 points, slightly above the minimum 50 points threshold of good performance.

This implies that the Manufacturing sector is still struggling as operators have a seemingly low confidence level but a high expectation that manufacturing performance will improve.

On Capital Expenditure, the majority of respondents did not agree that Government implementation encouraged productivity in the sector.

The Association affirmed the survey by highlighting the available poor economic infrastructure such as inadequate power supply, bad road network, high cost of abstracting water, low patronage and many more.

Meanwhile, 92 percent of the CEOs interviewed, agreed that multiple taxes and levies depress production in the manufacturing sector.

They also agreed that poor access to national ports and the associated gridlock negatively affects productivity in the manufacturing sector.

Although, 44 percent of respondents, agreed that the level of local sourcing of raw-materials has improved in the manufacturing sector. While 37 percent disagreed, and the remaining 19 percent were not sure if local sourcing of raw-materials has improved in the sector.

Effect of Executive Order 003 was also examined and 40 percent disagreed that patronage of Nigeria manufactured products has improved based on the order which mandated all Government establishments to make Nigerian manufactured goods first choice in their procurement processes.

The manufacturers recommended that the Government must make conscious efforts to repair and expand the roads leading to Lagos Ports, make other ports outside Lagos, functional so as to address the gridlock challenges and the associated cost.

They also asked that Forex should be made available for the purchase of manufacturing inputs and there should be a continuous improvement on the power supply and the general upgrade of the nation’s infrastructure.

The survey highlighted that the Capital Expenditure component of the National budget should be conscientiously implemented to bridge the infrastructure gap in the country.

MAN, LCCI Fault Governor Yari’s Claims Of Possible Recession

private sector, deregulation

 

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), have disagreed with the prediction by the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Abdulaziz Yari on the looming recession.

Mr Yari, had told the newly-elected governors on Monday, to prepare for another cycle of possible economic recession by mid-2020.

The recession, according to Yari, who is also the Zamfara state Governor, may not end until the third quarter of 2021.

READ ALSO: Ensure Immediate Implementation Of New Minimum Wage, NUPENG Tells Employers

The Organised Private Sector group, in a reaction on Tuesday, questioned the basis on which Governor Yari made his prediction about another cycle of recession from 2020 to mid-2021.

According to the MAN president, Mansur Ahmed, “although the economy is not growing as fast as expected, it is growing nonetheless and all the projections from the world bank and other international bodies say that it will keep growing.”

The Director-General, LCCI, Mr Muda Yusuf, said “he could not agree with Yari because he was not speaking in the capacity of an economist and did not put parameters forward to back his projections.”

VAT Increase: Economy Will Be More Vulnerable, Manufacturers Warn Nigerian Govt

VAT Increase: Economy Will Be More Vulnerable, Manufacturers Warn FG

 

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has asked the Federal Government to tread with caution in the drive for improved revenue.

The Director-General of MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said this in a statement on Wednesday while reacting to the plan by the government to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT).

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance had defended the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) that VAT be increased by 50 per cent during a presentation in the Senate.

READ ALSO: ‘They Have Taken Us Hostage,’ Agric Minister Decries Nigeria’s Rate Of Food Imports

Ajayi-Kadir, however, said such policy was not ‘manufacturing friendly’, adding that implementing it would have a negative effect as a result of the planned increase in minimum wage.

“As plausible as the recommendation to increase VAT may look, implementing it at this time would boomerang because the timing is inappropriate, especially at a time when the minimum wage of N30,000 was just agreed upon,” he stated.

The MAN DG added, “This could send a wrong signal that the government is not sensitive to the plight of the low- and middle-income earners, who are clearly in the majority. The Nigerian economy will be in a more vulnerable state if VAT is increased.

“No controversy, the burden of the tax would be shifted to the Nigerian consumers that are already struggling, the economy would certainly experience demand crunch, inventory of unsold items would soar, profitability of manufacturing concerns would be negatively impacted, many factories will witness serious downturn or wind down operations.”

Ajayi-Kadiri, therefore, advised the government to widen the tax net rather than increase the rate in order to meet the growing need for more revenue to address the development objective of the country.

He also appealed to the government not to increase the VAT at this time but consider the implementation of the afore-mentioned tax specific recommendations.

The MAN DG asked the government to continue to ramp-up support for the manufacturing sector in the best interest of the people.

Lion Mauls Man To Death After Scaling Zoo Wall

file copy

 

An Indian man was mauled to death by a lion after he scaled the wall of a zoo in northern Punjab state, officials said Monday.

The man climbed the 20-foot (six-metre) wall of Chhatbir Zoo, home to four lions, on Sunday and entered the restricted area where he was attacked.

Hearing his screams, the staff rushed to try and rescue the man.

“He was an intruder in the zoo. We took him to the hospital but he succumbed to his injuries,” said Roshan Sunkaria from the state forest department.

The animal that attacked the man was an Asiatic lion — a critically endangered species and a major tourist draw.

Only around 500 exist in the wild, all in the Gir sanctuary in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

The authorities have not yet been able to contact the victim’s family.

The zoo has stepped up warnings inside the premises and advised visitors to travel with an escort and keep vehicles locked.

AFP

Court Jails Man For Sending Death Threats To Ministers

Alleged Bribery: Witness Testifies As Rickey Tarfa’s Trial Continues
File photo

 

A Swedish court on Friday jailed a 43-year-old man for seven years for sending death threats and an unidentified white powder to 21 cabinet ministers, including the prime minister.

The man, identified in court documents as Michael Salonen, was also found guilty of attempted murder for sending a letter bomb to a bitcoin selling company called Cryptopay in London last year. The bomb did not explode and no one was injured.

In August 2017, Salonen sent an envelope containing white powder and a letter saying “you will soon be dead” to each minister’s home address, including Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist, court documents showed.

He also sent similar letters to several other public figures in Sweden.

Analysis of the powder concluded it was harmless.

While the court determined that Salonen had sent the letters, it found him not guilty on several counts of unlawful threats.

In those cases, including that for Prime Minister Lofven, the addressees did not open the letters themselves and therefore did not experience the intended threat, the court ruled.

Salonen, who has been held in police custody since May, had denied any involvement in the crimes.

Sweden is one of the world’s most transparent nations, where income tax information, home addresses and telephone numbers can easily be accessed online.

Elected officials can often be seen out in public running errands and going about their daily lives, sometimes without security.

Sweden’s former foreign minister Anna Lindh died in 2003 after she was stabbed in broad daylight at a Stockholm department store without a bodyguard present.

And former prime minister Olof Palme was shot dead while walking home from a Stockholm cinema in 1986, also without a bodyguard. His murder remains a mystery to this day.

AFP