Daily Watch – Dangote to protect family silver, Customs hits vehicle retailers

2nd October 2019

President Buhari has said that the revenue-generating agencies of the government will face severe consequences for not achieving agreed targets. The warning came some weeks after the presidency queried the chief executive of the FIRS, Babatunde Fowler, over worsening tax collection since 2015. Buhari was not specific about any agency or official during his Independence Day broadcast. Some of the revenue-generating agencies that could be affected include the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria Customs Service, and the Department of Petroleum Resources. Buhari said the FG’s commitment to achieving macroeconomic stability and economic diversification has been underscored by the merger of the Ministry of Finance with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, and so the combined Ministry has the important mandate to enhance the management of domestic and global fiscal risks; coordinate policies with the trade and monetary authorities; raise and deploy revenues to fund budgeted expenditure, and integrate annual budgets and medium-term fiscal strategies. Due to this, the revenue-generating and reporting agencies will come under much greater scrutiny, going forward, as the new performance management framework will reward exceptional revenue performance, while severe consequences will attend failures to achieve agreed revenue targets.

The FG has said it would not be able to meet the demands of unions on the percentage for consequential adjustment of the ₦30,000 new minimum wage due to dwindling revenue. The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, conveyed the government’s position during a courtesy visit by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress. He said the FG felt there was a need to be sincere on the poor state of the economy. However, the government said it would appoint a new team to represent it in the committee negotiating the consequential adjustment. Ngige said the delay in concluding the committee’s assignment was due to budget insufficiency of the government’s team as he and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning had to withdraw from the committee at the end of the last administration.

Owner of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, is looking to expand cement capacity in Africa by 29 percent to 62 million tons, entrenching his flagship company’s position as the continent’s biggest producer of the construction material. The investor told Bloomberg that he plans to add six million tons in Nigeria next year, taking volume in Dangote Cement’s home market to 35 million tons. The rest of the expansion is planned mainly in West Africa, including Niger and Cote d’Ivoire. Dangote, who is building one of the world’s biggest refineries in Lagos, in addition to investments in gas and petrochemical plants, told shareholders in June the company plans to open plants in Nigeria that will allow it export clinker to grinding plants in Cameroon and West Africa. He expects total group revenue to grow to about $30 billion from $4 billion when the plants start operations in the next two years. The billionaire is also planning to invest about 60 percent of profit outside Africa, including the U.S. and the U.K. Dangote Cement reported a 6 percent increase in profit for the six months through June to ₦119.5 billion ($331 million), even as revenue fell 3 percent to ₦467.7 billion.

The Nigeria Customs Service in a major crackdown Monday shut down some car marts suspected to have smuggled vehicles into the country through the land borders. Members of the Comptroller General of the service’s strike force and officers attached to the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’, Ikeja stormed major car dealers’ premises across Lagos in search of smuggled vehicles and subsequently shut down the car marts until further notice. According to ThisDay, the car marts were closed on the orders of the Comptroller General of the Service, Hameed Ali, for allegedly retailing smuggled vehicles in the shops. However, the Customs spokesman, Joseph Attah, said those car dealers who were not involved in selling smuggled cars were not shut down in the operation and added that within the week, Customs would take a look at the records of each vehicle in these car marts and appropriate actions will be taken. Attah who also confirmed that no arrests were made added that the action was to ensure that the FG got its due revenue.