Nigeria is in talks with the World Bank for a fresh tranche of concessionary lending of about $2.5 billion, the financial institution’s Vice President for Africa Hafez Ghanem has said. The country received $2.4 billion from the World Bank last year, as it seeks to fill the revenue gaps. Nigeria has been faced with revenue shortfalls as the output and price of oil fell in the past five years. President Buhari’s administration has increased borrowing to finance government spending, with domestic debt at $55.6 billion and foreign loans at $25.6 billion. The country has sought more credit with low interest and long repayment periods from institutions including the World Bank and the African Development Bank to ease the mounting debt burden. The World Bank’s focus in Nigeria is to lift about 100 million Nigerians, half of the population, out of poverty, with special emphasis on women’s education, expanding digital opportunities and solving a power crisis that hobbles economic activities.
Bank customers are to pay more for Point of Sale transactions following an order from the CBN on the strict implementation of Merchant Service Charge, which would impose more charges on all POS transactions. This came a few days after the regulator announced new charges on withdrawal and deposit of funds above ₦500,000. The new policy stipulates Stamp Duties Payment of ₦50 on individual transactions that occur on POS, rather than previous plans where charges occurred on aggregate transactions. The circular signed by CBN Director, Payments System Management Department, Sam Okojere, authorised banks to unbundle merchant settlement amounts and charge applicable taxes and duties on individual transactions as stipulated by regulators. The Merchant Service Charge was also reviewed downward from 0.75 percent, capped at ₦1,200 to 0.50 per cent, capped at ₦1,000. The CBN and Nigeria Interbank Settlement System are working closely, including setting emittance processes that ensure the stamp duty charges for PoS is collected. The NIBSS said the new stamp duty payment plan is in line with the provision of the Stamp Duties Act and Federal Government Financial Regulation 2009. The policy was aimed at ensuring strict adherence to the CBN guideline communication on the subject, collection and Remittance of Statutory Charges on receipts to Nigeria Postal Service under the Stamp Duties Act dated 15th January 2016.
Data from the NBS showed that between Q1 2018 and Q2 2019, Nigeria spent a total of ₦1.03 trillion to import used vehicles and motorcycles into the country. Used cars and motorcycle importation into Nigeria grew by 325 percent in the periods captured, the NBS reports have shown. Analysis has shown that the country’s import bill has been on the rise, largely reducing the net trade balance. The country’s foreign trade report released for Q2 2019, by the NBS showed that the country’s trade performance was largely due to the stronger growth in the value of imports far outpacing the value of exports which rose only marginally. Specifically, in the Q1’18, used car importation reached ₦29 billion, while motorcycles importation was estimated at ₦38 billion. Meanwhile, in Q2’19, used cars and motorcycles imported into the country stood grew to ₦177.3 billion, and ₦111.9 billion respectively. According to the report, Nigeria’s trade balance dropped from ₦831.6 billion in Q1 to ₦588.7 billion in Q2’19, which implies that the net trade balance reduced by ₦242.9 billion in just three months. Considering Nigeria’s import of ₦4 trillion in Q2’19 suggests that used cars and motorcycle importation accounted for about 7 percent of the country’s total import, making used cars’ importation ranked the second most imported goods into Nigeria.
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the forfeiture of assets belonging to the Process and Industrial Development Limited to the FG after two representatives of the company on Thursday pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and tax evasion instituted against them. This is in respect of the contract leading to the recent controversial judgment of a British court empowering the firm to seize about $9.6 billion worth of Nigerian assets. Muhammad Kuchezi, a commercial director of P&ID incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, and Adamu Usman, representative of the company in Nigeria, pleaded guilty to an 11-count charge of economic sabotage and money laundering. Kuchezi was found guilty of counts one to 10, while Usman was convicted of counts one to 11. They were accused of, among others, fraudulently claiming to have acquired land from the Cross River State Government in 2010 for the gas supply project agreement.