The Nigerian government has announced a fresh €500 million loan from Credit Suisse AG and a syndicate of international lenders to finance industrial activities and agriculture plans of the Bank of Industry. The loan would be used to support industry; revitalise agro-industrial processing zones and to facilitate the creation of 1.2 million new jobs in the country, the Minister of State, Budget/National Planning, Clement Agba said. Agba said the loan, which is basically to finance major industrialisation projects and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises value chain in Nigeria for up to five years’ tenure at affordable rates is for the Bank of Industry, guaranteed by the FG and to be executed through the Ministry of Finance. This, he said, is expected to increase the income of farming communities and promote the inclusion of SMEs and small-holder producers in the industrial value chain and the deployment of transportation infrastructure that connects farming communities to processors and markets. However, the loan, he added, would be swapped to naira to reduced exchange rate risk, and make it affordable to SMEs.

Nigeria is planning to launch a new oil licensing round for both offshore and onshore blocks in mid-2020 in a bid to reach its three million barrels per day output target by 2023. The bidding round, according to the NNPC’s boss, Mele Kyari, will be launched after the FG concludes talks with foreign oil companies on new fiscal terms for oil exploration following recent amendments to the law. He noted that deepwater exploration activities in the country need to be escalated. Early this month, Nigeria increased taxes on companies operating in its deepwater blocks. Kyari stressed that “despite the amendments, there is room for negotiations and the government hopes to conclude these negotiations by mid next year.”

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communication Commission Umar Danbatta has said that about 150 million Nigerians risk being defrauded in the financial system. Recent data released by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access shows that these people are included in the financial system. The NCC boss stressed, during the inauguration of a multi-sectoral committee on e-fraud in Abuja, that the integration of mobile applications with online payment platforms and other financial resources had made Nigerians more prone to financial fraud. Dembatta advised that to effectively combat electronic fraud, customer service and fraud operations teams in banks and the mobile network operators need to tighten up their processes and guidelines on how to detect potentially fraudulent activities. The NCC is in a partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and other relevant agencies to fight e-fraud, Danbatta said. He also stressed that a committee on Electronic Banking is currently working towards implementing technical and operational solutions to fight the menace posed by e-fraud.

The Senate has approved President Buhari’s request to increase the value-added tax from 5 percent to 7.5 percent. The Senate approved the request after Solomon Olamilekan, chairman of the finance committee, presented a report on a bill entitled ‘Nigeria tax and fiscal law’. The federal executive council had in September this year approved an increase in VAT and sent a bill to the national assembly for consent. The Senate passed the Finance Bill during Thursday’s plenary after it scaled through the third reading on the floor of the Senate. The Senate also approved the amendment of six tax provisions and make them more responsive to tax reform policies. In addition, it seeks to amend the Customs and Excise Tariff Act to encourage local manufacturers. The legislation under the bill includes Company Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Customs and Excise Tariff, Capital Gains Tax Act, Petroleum Profit Tax, Personal Income Tax, and Stamp Duties Act. Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, and Senators Ifeanyi Ubah, Gabriel Suswan and Abba Moro, however, raised objections to the bill, saying that the increment in taxes would further compound the sufferings and pains of Nigerians.