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66% of Nigeria’s tax revenues goes to debt servicing, says IMF

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By Mayowa Tijani

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says 66 percent of Nigeria’s tax revenues is spent on servicing debts, calling on the country to raise taxes.

Speaking at the IMF Fiscal Monitor briefing in Washington on Wednesday, Vitor Gaspar, director of the fund’s Fiscal Affairs department, said he is happy the Nigerian government now sees taxation as a path to development.

“I had the privilege of visiting Nigeria some months ago and I was very happy to understand that for the authorities in Nigeria, fiscal policies in general and tax policy in particular are part of the strategy for development,” he said.

“That is precisely how I believe fiscal policy should be thought in developing countries as part of the development strategy.”

Catherine Patillo, assistant director and chief of Fiscal Policy and Surveillance Division of the IMF, said  Nigeria has needs strong fiscal consolidation and improved taxation, stating that revenue-to-interest ratio is on the increase.

“The Economic recovery and growth programme (ERGP) is very welcomed,” Patillo said.

“It focuses on diversification, private sector-led diversification and in addressing some of the deep-seated problems related to strengthening infrastructure, which is necessary for diversification, as well as building revenues, particularly non-oil revenues.

“So, we very much welcome the ERGP. It is an opportuned time, as you are aware Nigeria went into recession last year, we’ve forecasted recovery, but still very fragile this year and the need to address the fiscal situation is quite urgent.

“Our recommendation is for the continued strong fiscal consolidation, debt has risen, the profile has weakened; one striking statistics I think is the fact that over the past year, the ratio of interest payment to tax revenue has doubled to 66 percent in Nigeria.

“So, two-thirds of all tax revenue is going into interest payment, illustrating the need to raise tax revenue. That would allow the government to implement the social and growth-friendly policies that are part of the objectives of the ERGP.”

 

© 2017, . All rights reserved.

Finance

Stocks end three-day gains, shed N103bn

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The Nigerian-equities market three-day gains were reversed at the close of trade on Tuesday as the Nigerian Stock exchange market capitalisation dropped by N103bn in one session.

The NSE All-Share Index fell 82 basis points to close at 36,669.61 basis points – implying a moderation in the year-to-date return to 36.4 per cent.

A total of 211.873 million shares valued at N4.742bn exchanged hands in 3,890 deals.

Accordingly, investors lost over N103bn as market capitalisation settled at N12.6tn primarily due to losses in Dangote Cement Plc, Nestle Nigeria Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, which plummeted by 1.8 per cent, 3.3 per cent and one per cent, respectively.

Despite the 1.4 per cent drop in volume to 211.9 million units, total value of trades increased dramatically, rising by 73.6 per cent from N2.7bn to N4.7bn.

Sector performance was negative across board as all indices declined. On the back of drops in Dangote Cement and Nestle, the industrial and consumer goods indices were the major losers, both down 0.9 per cent from previous close.

Similarly, the oil/gas index fell by 0.5 per cent owing to a loss in 11 Plc, which declined by five per cent. The insurance index declined by 0.4 per cent following a depreciation in AxaMansard Insurance Plc by 4.6 per cent; whereas the banking index reversed on Monday’s top position to marginally fall 0.1 per cent as against one per cent increase on Monday owing to the drop in GTBANK shares by one per cent.

Despite the decline in performance, market breadth remained positive as 21 stocks advanced against 21 decliners. The best performers were International Breweries Plc, NEN Insurance Nigeria Plc and First Aluminum Plc, which respectively advanced by 5.8 per cent, 4.5 per cent and four per cent.

On the other hand, Red Star Express Plc, Neimeth International Pharmaceutical Plc and champion Breweries Plc lost 9.2 per cent, 8.8 per cent and 5.2 per cent to emerge as the worst performing stocks of the day.

Commenting on the market stance, analysts at Afrinvest Securities, in a post, said, “We attribute the day’s negative close to profit taking on recent gains in the equities market, however we expect an upturn in following sessions due to Q3 2017 earnings releases.”

Meanwhile, at the close of trades, the open buy-back and overnight rates recorded respective declines of 47.50 per cent and 50.50 per cent. The average money market rate, on the other hand, settled at 27.67 per cent.

Sell pressures permeated the Treasury bonds space, as the average bond yield advanced by 0.05 per cent, to settle at 15.13 per cent.  Yield advancements were witnessed on 10 instruments, while the Oct-2019 instrument recorded a marginal decline of 0.01 per cent and five instruments traded flat.

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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Business

1,000 firms bid for 17 contracts at NRC

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Over 1,000 companies bid for 17 categories of projects for the 2017 capital projects of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, the Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, said on Tuesday.

He spoke through the Director of Operations, Mr. Niyi Ali, who represented him at the formal opening of bids for the projects in Lagos.

The event held at Ebute Meta head office of the NRC was witnessed by representatives of firms bidding for the contracts.

Okheria said the open bidding was done in order to get the best firms to execute the projects, which were meant for the 2017 fiscal year.

He said the open bidding process was in line with the Procurement Act of 2004, adding that it would be transparent and promised to be fair to all bidding firms.

He gave some of the projects as the procurement of tools, equipment and materials for emergency repairs and maintenance of tracks; renovation/upgrade of railway stations and other buildings together with associated facilities (nationwide); procurement of locomotives, coaches, wagons, railway inspection vehicles and cranes (narrow gauge and/or standard gauge); procurement/rehabilitation and installation of equipment for mechanical/electrical, security, printing, operations, civil and ICT facilities; and generation of alternative revenue for the corporation, insurance services, among others.

In a related development, the NRC said it had begun the process of easing traffic congestion at the Apapa area of Lagos with the evacuation of containers from the Apapa port by train to Ebute Meta Junction.

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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Inflation drops marginally to 15.98%

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The National Bureau of Statistics has released the Consumer Price Index report, which measures inflation, with the rate dropping year-on-year from 16.01 per cent in August to 15.98 per cent in September.

In the report released on Tuesday in Abuja, the bureau explained that the drop in the nation’s inflation rate in September was the eighth consecutive month that the index would be declining since January this year.

On a month-on-month basis, the NBS stated that the headline index increased by 0.78 per cent in September, in contrast to the 0.97 per cent recorded in August this year.

 The national bureau in its report said, “Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, increased by 15.98 per cent (year-on-year) in September 2017. This was 0.03 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in August (16.01) per cent, making it the eighth consecutive decline in the rate of headline year-on-year inflation since January 2017.

“On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 0.78 per cent in September 2017, 0.19 per cent points lower from the rate of 0.97 per cent recorded in August.”

It stated that the urban index rose by 16.18 per cent (year-on-year) in September 2017, up by 0.05 per cent point from 16.13 per cent recorded in August, while the rural index increased by 15.81 per cent in September, down from 15.91 per cent in August.

“On month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 0.84 per cent in September 2017, down from 0.99 per cent recorded in August, while the rural index rose by 0.74 per cent in September 2017, down from 0.95 per cent in August,” the report added.

Economists and financial analysts stated that the marginal drop in Nigeria’s inflation was attributable to the widespread ease in food commodity prices usually associated with early harvest.

Analysts at the Financial Derivatives Company Limited were, however, of the view that the threat of higher inflation was looming with the commencement of the electoral cycle.

“This is because the incumbent government will roll out a series of people-friendly disbursements and initiatives,” they said in their bulletin on inflation that was made available to our correspondent in Abuja.

They also said, “This sustained but marginal reduction (in inflation) can be partially attributed to the effect of tight liquidity in the system, evidenced by a contraction in money supply by 11.06 per cent to N21.85tn in August. We noticed a widespread ease in commodity prices, usually associated with early harvest.”

© 2017, Sunday Emmanuel. All rights reserved.

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