Connect with us
JUMIA TECH WEEK

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Eben Joels Suggests Government Monetary Measures Should Be Carefully Calibrated To Strike Balance.

Published

on

*Eben Joels

Long-term economic growth requires a comprehensive strategy that addresses inflation, exchange rates, and security concerns. Eben Joels is the Managing Partner at Stransact Chartered Accountants and Audit, an RSM correspondent firm in Nigeria. In this interview with ROLAND OGBONNAYA, he assesses the 2024 budget, inflation, naira devaluation, socio-economic growth, and suspension of social investment programmes anongst others.

 

Nigeria loses $26 billion annually due to gaps in its tax system. Perhaps if those gaps are filled and the money lost is reinvested back into the economy it will go a long way. But does this figure sound normal?

They may be considering the total pot of incentives available to Nigerian companies rather than individual losses. It is similar to a chicken and egg scenario in that the government provides you with an incentive and tax-free period during which you are expected to invest heavily in Nigeria. Some of Nigeria’s largest companies benefit from these incentives. During the time they receive these incentives, you are expected to observe the effects of their actions on the labour market and the economy.
While the government may not receive the cash, the value added by these companies to the economy should outweigh the loss of tax revenue. The challenge is that most of these tax breaks are not given to deserving businesses, which is where the government should focus.

If you say they are not going to the right companies, are you implying that it has not been as effective as it could be, which is why the gap has cost us so much?

Advertisement

This is related to recent comments by the FIRS Chairman regarding the road construction tax credit scheme.
But many people support that scheme, and it is supposed to help our infrastructure deficit.
Yes, but given the corruption that exists within the system, this has become extremely dangerous for us as a people.

How do you assess the value of a road built by a single company?

 

There will be a lot of subjectivity involved. A dishonest businessman may be required to pay up to N100 million in taxes. He can build a N20m road and claim N100m in tax credits. Let us also forget that the road construction tax credit scheme is somewhat risky because I can sell that credit to another company by simply stating that I have the tax credit for constructing this road.

Is it the businesses or the tax system that needs to be transparent?

Advertisement

The issue is with us as Nigerians, not the tax system. Many of us complain that the federal government is doing the right thing, but aside from indirect taxes, I hope you are aware that we do not pay personal taxes to the federal government. We pay personal taxes to the state where we live. Several years ago, a former Senate President in this country reported a total tax of N88,000. As a first-level employee at an accounting firm at the time, I was responsible for my taxes.

So, what is the issue with the system there?

That is a fundamental issue. Consider large federal systems, such as Nigeria’s. The United States of America is one of the largest federal systems against which we can compare. There is a personal income tax to be paid to the central government. In some cases in America, that is the only tax you pay. Based on that, the centre collects data on everyone and then issues cash refunds to the underprivileged and elderly based on the information provided on your tax returns.
The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development suffers from monumental corruption due to a lack of central data.

Tax industry stakeholders agree on the importance of technological adoption. Is it not widespread enough, or is the conversation merely lip service?

In terms of taxes, technology adoption in Nigeria is still in its early stages. It began about four years ago. This is one of the areas where we should comment on the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), as they built the current platform that we use.
Now, each state has its internal revenue service, which is not all at the same level. Aside from the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, most internal revenue services in Nigeria have very basic operations and standardisations. Some have worsened since 10-15 years ago. Instead of professionalising the Internal Revenue Service, most states now run it through politicians.

Advertisement

But is that just for states?

Yes, but remember what you said: the majority of people pay their state taxes.

And the complaints about multiple taxation are coming from the state level?

Some states do not standardise their income schemes. They use crude tactics that ultimately do not benefit the bottom line. However, the collection is made easier by using the same thugs who help them win elections.
It sounds like the country is not even ready to clean up its tax system.
It is a work in progress. Nigerians are not isolated from their home country. The tax system will be fixed as the country is. Taxation is ultimately a trust-based business. It is built on trust. If citizens do not trust you, they will be unwilling to pay taxes.
Maybe that is where to start because if you talk to ten Nigerians, I bet nine of them do not trust the system. Perhaps the onus is on the government to gain the trust of the people. Yes, that is why I mentioned it was a work in progress.

Is there a work in progress or do you believe so?

Advertisement

I would like to believe so.

 Are there any indications of that?

I would rather repeat the words of a Managing Partner from one of the Big Four those days. According to statistics, Nigeria will have the largest population in the world in 75 years, surpassing only China and India. We will be close to a billion people. To achieve our desired outcome, we need to have a critical mass of individuals who are thinking in the right direction.

How would you evaluate Taiwo Oyedele’s work as Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms?

First and foremost, he has raised awareness about fiscal policy and tax reforms. As a result, more people are familiar with the concept of taxation. Specifically, he selected university students to join his committee advocating for tax reform.
However, the committee’s impact remains to be seen. I understand that it will take time for us to see it. I am not sure how widely he has been consulted, but I believe he was chosen because he can deliver. I also know he devotes time to whatever he is committed to doing. I hope it works out well.

Advertisement

Several groups have advocated for broadening the tax base. There is a requirement for trust and technology.
You are correct; the most difficult part is trusting others. They say it is easier to destroy trust than to build it, and trust has been consistently abused since 1914. For Nigerians, no government has built trust. Developed countries, despite having abundant resources, recognise the importance of caring for both the elderly and children. You pay for young children, but the state takes care of those over 60. Senior living facilities in America are a major employer, with many people emigrating. We do not have that here. We leave the elderly to be cared for by relatives, but we forget that demographics have changed.
In recent years, we have seen fewer committed people returning to the village to care for their elderly parents. If we decide to focus on that industry as a national strategy, we must first establish trust.
Second, it is an industry that employs thousands across all 774 local government areas, as opposed to simply giving people money as humanitarian aid. People can take their old ones to facilities that the state pays for. These are some of the things the government can do to boost trust, and the tax base will naturally grow.

What is your economic forecast for the rest of 2024?

The economic outlook for 2024 is dependent on proactive economic policies and global trends. A comprehensive strategy that addresses inflation, exchange rates, and security concerns is critical for guiding the country towards long-term economic growth. Overall, I believe that the economy will improve this year, albeit not dramatically. The local economic environment will be better than in 2023, owing to the gradual removal of the current impact of petrol subsidies and FX reforms on the non-oil sector, as well as higher crude oil production relative to 2023 levels amid supportive oil prices.
If the CBN can improve its control over inflation and exchange rates, the economy will benefit. If inflation continues to fall globally, it will benefit the economy by reducing the extent to which imported inflation affects local prices.
According to some experts, the Nigerian economy will face tighter fiscal policies and increased monetary policy restrictions.

What are your hopes and expectations?

Expectations for tighter fiscal policies and peak monetary restrictions are consistent with the need for stability. Balancing these policies to control inflation while encouraging economic growth will be critical for the economy.

Advertisement

How do you perceive the risk to the inflation outlook?

Global economic conditions, oil prices, and supply chain disruptions all have a significant impact on inflation expectations. Mitigating these risks requires a comprehensive approach that combines prudent fiscal measures with effective monetary policies.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Bank Of Industry, Imo Partner To Enhance Citizen’s Businesses

Published

on

Gov. Uzodimma

The Bank of Industry (BOI) has expressed an interest in working with Sen. Hope Uzodimma’s government in Imo State to improve citizens’ economic well-being and businesses.

 

The Bank committed on Thursday in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, during a working visit to Governor Uzodimma in Government House by BOI Managing Director/CEO Dr. Olasupo Olusi and his key officials.

 

While receiving Dr Olusi and his team, Governor Uzodimma assessed the role of the Bank of Industry in reviving the country’s economy, particularly the challenge posed by unemployment and a lack of jobs among the country’s teeming young men and women, noting that he could not help but accept the Bank’s offer to partner with him.

Advertisement

 

The Governor stated that the BOI’s various policies help to stimulate the country’s economy, create jobs, and provide an enabling environment for lowering the cost of goods.

 

He commended the Bank’s management for their excellent work and urged them to ensure that Imo State benefits from the Bank’s diligent contribution to the national economy.

 

Advertisement

Governor Uzodimma stated that he is confident they are “willing partners,” and that the state will cooperate with them.

 

“The State can never say no to the initiative that you have launched, which appears to be the solution to the country’s cancer of unemployment, to lower the crime rate and all other forms of criminality.”

 

He stated that the Bank’s visit will be a new partnership, and Imo State will gladly accept it, but only based on which they will operate.

Advertisement

 

Governor Uzodimma specifically told Dr Olusi that “Imo State wants to benefit from the empowerment programmes,” given that “manufacturers are crying over the high cost of production, just as middle and low-income earners are crying.”

 

“So, anything that acts as an incentive to lower the cost of accessing money will be a very welcome addition.”

 

Advertisement

The Governor emphasised the Bank’s role in boosting the local economy. He stated that the government will provide guarantees and indemnities to help private-sector business owners access funds.

 

“What the people need is encouragement, guidance, and proper documentation, like the artisans,” he exclaimed, adding that “BOI is like the password to open the business system in the State,” which he described as being teeming with human and material traffic, including boisterous tourism potential.

 

As a demonstration of his commitment to the partnership proposal, the Governor directed Dr Chika Abazu, Commissioner for Commerce, Trade, and Investment, to work with the team to ensure that some of the Bank’s available and affordable requests are addressed immediately.

Advertisement

 

Earlier, Dr Olusi informed Governor Uzodimma that he had come with his management team to “explore the opportunities in Imo State and help drive the State’s economic growth.”

 

He stated that there are mutual areas of collaboration that he believes they should identify, as well as discuss opportunities for future engagements with the state.

 

Advertisement

According to him, the BOI wants to be a strong development partner for Imo State.

 

He stated that doing so requires the Bank’s strong base in Imo, hence the visit to discuss and be assured of where they can position their operation in Owerri, having seen and recognised Governor Uzodimma as a strong ally.

 

He thanked the Governor for making Imo State an ideal environment for private businesses to thrive, as well as his promise to provide reasonable marching funds to willing genuine businesses.

Advertisement

 

Barr Nnamdi Anyaehie, Chief of Staff, was joined by Dr. Chika Abazu, Commissioner for Commerce, Trade, and Investment, and other government officials during the visit.

 

 

 

Advertisement
Continue Reading

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Over 5,000 Benefit From Gov. Oborevwori’s ‘MORE Grant Scheme.’

Published

on

Delta State Governor Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has launched the MORE Grant Scheme for petty traders, artisans, and female entrepreneurs with 5,426 people from the state’s poorest and most vulnerable households benefiting.

Governor Oborevwori spoke at the formal launch of the M.O.R.E Grant Scheme at Asaba’s Event Centre, describing the initiative as a comprehensive support system that would empower 5,426 Deltans, including 1,600 petty traders, 1,826 artisans, and 2000 female entrepreneurs across the state.

He described Delta State as being rich in talent and ambition and praised the artisans, traders, and entrepreneurs for being the unsung heroes of the state’s local economies.

He stated, “Your hard work, creativity, and perseverance are the driving forces behind the vitality and resilience of our local communities. As we recognise your invaluable contributions, I want to reiterate the state government’s commitment and willingness to support your efforts.

“The MORE Grant Scheme is a beacon of hope and a catalyst for positive change, as it provides critical resources to help you grow your businesses and improve your livelihoods.

Advertisement

“To our petty traders from low-income and vulnerable households, despite the daily challenges of life, you have continued to work for a better future for your families and communities through your small businesses.”

“As a demonstration of faith, the MORE Grant Scheme will continue to provide you with the financial assistance you require to improve your businesses, as we remain committed to transforming small businesses into thriving enterprises, thereby improving our people’s quality of life and contributing to the state’s economic growth.”

He challenged artisans to use their skills, craftsmanship, and dedication to preserve the state’s cultural heritage and promote sustainable living.

The Governor went on to say, “The grant being given out today will help you acquire better tools, access quality materials, and reach wider markets, which will, in turn, propel our people’s rich traditions to new heights.

“To our female entrepreneurs, you represent strength and innovation. Despite facing numerous challenges with courage and determination, you have continued to break down barriers and establish new standards. I am very proud of you.

Advertisement

“This grant programme is designed to provide you and other young women with the resources and mentorship they need to grow their businesses and inspire other women to follow in your footsteps.

“Your success is critical to our state’s progress, and we are committed to supporting your entrepreneurial journey every step of the way.”

Governor Oborevwori assured the beneficiaries that the state would provide workshops, training sessions, and mentorship programmes to help them gain the knowledge and skills required to succeed in today’s competitive market.

“We want to build a community of empowered individuals who collaborate, innovate, and support one another,” the governor stated.

In her welcome remarks, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Community Support Services, and Girl-Child Development, Orode Uduaghan, stated that the project was divided into three phases, each carefully designed to empower specific segments of the state and benefit over 5,000 people.

Advertisement

Uduaghan revealed that the first phase of the project ‘targets the heartbeat’ of the state’s local economy, the petty traders, who, she claims, contribute immeasurably to the state’s tapestry of communities.

According to her, the state government’s MORE Grant Scheme aimed to revitalise their businesses, saying, “We are aware of how impactful even a small additional capital can be for these petty traders who work tirelessly to make a living.”

Weyinmi Eribo and Nneka Okekearu, the event’s keynote speakers, affirmed that human capital development was a platform for breaking the cycle of poverty and praised the governor for providing resources to grow small and medium-sized businesses.

They pledged to work with the state government through their agencies to mentor young entrepreneurs from the MORE grant scheme on how to grow their businesses into large-scale enterprises.

Some of the beneficiaries, including Mr Paul Onwochei (Delta North), Ogemuno Endurance (Delta Central), and Shodipe Gbubemi Sarah (Delta South), thanked Governor Oborevwori for providing funds to help them expand their businesses and urged him to continue the programme so that more Deltans could benefit.

Advertisement

The symbolic presentation of cheques to some of the more than 5,000 beneficiaries was the event’s high point.

 

Continue Reading

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

How To Verify Certificate Of Occupancy In Lagos By Dennis Isong

Published

on

Lagos metropolise

In Lagos, Nigeria, a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is a crucial document for landowners. It proves legal ownership of land under the Land Use Act of 1978. With the rising cases of land fraud, verifying the authenticity of a C of O has become essential. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to verify a Certificate of Occupancy in Lagos.

Understanding Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is a legal document issued by the Lagos State Government to landowners and property buyers as a legitimate proof of ownership. This document specifies the rights of the individual or entity to the property and land.

Steps to Verify a Certificate of Occupancy

Step 1: Visit the Lagos State Lands Bureau

Advertisement

Physical Verification: The first step in verifying a C of O is to visit the Lagos State Lands Bureau. This agency is responsible for land administration and registry in Lagos State. They have the complete database and records of all issued Certificates of Occupancy.

Step 2: Submit a Verification Request

Request Submission: At the Lands Bureau, submit a request for the verification of a C of O. You will be required to provide details such as the plot number, block number, survey plan number, and the C of O number. It’s essential to have all these details accurate to facilitate the verification process.

Step 3: Pay the Verification Fee

Payment of Fees: Verification of a C of O comes with a fee. Ensure you inquire about the current fee and make the payment accordingly. Receipt of payment will be required as part of the verification process.

Advertisement

Step 4: Verification Process

Processing Time: After submission and payment, the Lands Bureau will conduct a thorough verification of the C of O against their records. This process may take some time, ranging from a few days to weeks, depending on the volume of requests being processed.

Step 5: Collect Verification Report

Collection of Report: Once the verification process is complete, you will be issued a verification report. This report will indicate the authenticity of the C of O. If the document is verified to be authentic, the report will serve as added proof of the legality of your property’s ownership.

Why Verify a Certificate of Occupancy?

Advertisement

The importance of verifying a C of O cannot be overstated. Here are some reasons why it’s essential:

Prevents Fraud: Verification helps to prevent falling victim to land scams and purchasing properties with forged documents.

Confirms Authenticity: It assures the buyer or current owner of the land’s authenticity and legal standing.

Facilitates Transactions: A verified C of O is often required by financial institutions for loan approvals against land or property.

Common Certificate of Occupancy Frauds in Lagos

Advertisement

While the Certificate of Occupancy is a critical document for property owners in Lagos, it is also a focal point for various fraudulent activities. Being aware of these common frauds can help property buyers and owners stay vigilant and protect their investments.

Forged Documents

Counterfeit C of O: There are instances where fraudsters create counterfeit Certificates of Occupancy. These documents may look remarkably similar to the original but lack the legal backing and verification from the Lagos State Lands Bureau.

Double Allocation Fraud

Multiple Owners: This occurs when a single plot of land is sold to multiple buyers, each provided with a seemingly legitimate C of O. This fraudulent practice not only leads to legal battles but also questions the authenticity of the C of O issued.

Advertisement

Land Grabbing

Illegal Seizure: Land grabbers, also known as “Omo Onile” in local parlance, might forge a C of O to claim ownership of lands they do not legally own. They exploit unsuspecting buyers by selling these lands and providing fake certificates as proof of ownership.

Bribery and Corruption

Inside Job: Some fraudulent activities involve insiders within the land administration system. Unscrupulous officials might collude with fraudsters to issue or endorse fake Certificates of Occupancy for personal gain.

How to Protect Yourself from C of O Frauds

Advertisement

To safeguard against these frauds, consider the following precautions:

Verify Before Purchase

Always verify the C of O through the Lagos State Lands Bureau before proceeding with any land purchase. This step cannot be overstated in its importance.

Legal Counsel

Engage a reputable legal practitioner or a property verification expert to conduct due diligence on the property and its documents.

Advertisement

Research the Seller

Conduct thorough research on the seller or property developer. Check their reputation, past projects, and reviews from previous buyers.

Insist on Transparency

Demand transparency in every step of the buying process. Any reluctance to provide detailed information or rush the process should raise red flags.

Report Suspicious Activities

Advertisement

If you encounter any suspicious activities or individuals during your property transaction, report them to the authorities. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police are competent authorities to handle such cases.

I hope you learned something new. Kindly scroll down to save my number and send a message.

*Isong is a TOP REALTOR IN LAGOS. He Helps Nigerians in the Diaspora to Own Property In Lagos Nigeria STRESS-FREE. For Questions WhatsApp/Call 2348164741041

 

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending