Ride-hailing companies operating in Lagos will face a new set of regulatory road bumps as the state government has said operators will pay a levy of ₦20 known as road improvement fund on each trip their drivers make in a day starting from 27 August. According to a release signed by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Gboyega Akosile, the Commissioner for Transportation, Frederic Oladehinde, said the state government and the operators had unanimously adopted the new regulations, after all, parties jointly reviewed and fine-tuned some of the contentious items in the framework. This was made known at a meeting between the state government and representatives of the ride-hailing operators held Friday, with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in attendance. Both parties were said to have reached an agreement on the controversial service tax, which is to be known as a road improvement fund. The government said the enforcement of the new regulations which will now take off from 27 August instead of 20 August and the new rules were not intended to extort operators and drivers but to regularise ride-hailing operations in line with security measures. The commissioner said the governor offered a duty incentive to the operators, reducing statutory operational licencing and renewal fees by 20 percent, which implies that each e-hailing firm will now pay ₦8 million per 1,000 cars for a fresh licencing and renewal, instead of the earlier ₦10 million. Back in 2016, the state government first attempted to regulate ride-hailing startups by requiring taxi companies to register each operator with the state at the cost of $320 per car.
The World Bank has asked the 36 states in Nigeria to implement tax relief programmes for individuals and business owners as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This, according to the lender, is a condition for the states to access its reward of $2.5 million in performance-based grants for each state by 30 September 2020. According to the media and public affairs head at the Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the decision was made during a virtual meeting held on 14 August under the states’ fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability programme for results, jointly organised by the World Bank and NGF, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget And National Planning. The tax relief programmes include an extension of filing and payment dates; tax moratoriums; waivers or reduction of penalties, and interests over the extension period. The NGF official said state governments are currently experiencing a liquidity crisis of their own; and with limited capacity to borrow, it has become imperative that they find a balance between granting tax reliefs and maintaining revenues at a sustainable level. The extent to which government revenues will be impacted by these reliefs will depend on the type of relief that they grant and their ability to raise their tax efforts simultaneously, including offering incentives for greater tax compliance, Bello-Barkindo said. These efforts are being incentivised by a new Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLI) under the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) World Bank $750 million States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Results.
The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading said power distribution companies in the country failed to remit a total of ₦173.35 billion to it for the electricity sold to the Discos in the first four months of 2020. The government-owned NBET which buys electricity in bulk from generation companies through Power Purchase Agreements and sells through vesting contracts to the Discos, which then supply it to the consumers reiterated that some of the Discos had yet to meet up with the approved minimum remittance. Data from the NBET showed that the Discos were given a total invoice of ₦224.84 billion for the energy received in the period captured but only paid ₦51.49 billion or 22.90 percent to NBET. The breakdown showed that the 11 power distributors received a total invoice of ₦52.13 billion in January; ₦52.01 billion in February; ₦52.62 billion in March; and ₦68.08 billion in April. But they paid ₦14.96 billion or 29 percent in January; ₦13.04 billion or 25 percent in February; ₦6.07 billion or 12 percent in March; and ₦9.84 billion or 14 percent in April. NBET on its part, according to report, failed to pay the power stations on the national grid a total of ₦181.39 billion from January to April this year. This is even as power distribution companies in the country saw their revenue collection rise a record ₦127 billion in the first three months of the year. The payments to the Gencos are based on receipts from the Discos, the NBET said.
The Ghanaian trade ministry has rejected claims of unfair treatment by Nigerian traders in the country during the enforcement of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council regulations, insisting that the traders must pay the required taxes and other fees imposed on them by the authorities. This is despite the intervention of the presidents of Ghana and Nigeria through ECOWAS. A Nigerian trader whose shop was forcefully locked up by the Ghanaian security officials had recorded a video of the incident in which they asked him to pay a $1 million registration fee. The victim had shown the officials his business registration certificate and other documents but the enforcement team was adamant and insisted on shutting his premises. Speaking on the incident on a Ghanaian radio station, Starr FM, Prince Boakye Boateng, a Ghana trade ministry spokesman, said that Nigerian traders had failed to honour an ultimatum to meet the requirements. Boateng recalled that the shops were locked last December and later re-opened following the intervention of President Nana Akufo-Ado. According to him, the traders complied but have not regularised their documents for verification. Boateng explained that the law being enforced gave the Ghana Union of Traders Association the right to be the sole traders in the local market. Nigeria’s foreign ministry’s spokesmen, Ferdinand Nwonye, said the Nigerian mission in Accra was yet to send a formal report on the harassment of the traders to the ministry.