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April inflation, cybersecurity levy… business stories to track this week

April inflation, cybersecurity levy… business stories to track this week
May 13
07:54 2024

Here are the seven top business stories you need to track this week — May 13  to May 17.

APRIL INFLATION

The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is expected to release the consumer price index (CPI) and inflation report for April 2024.

In March, Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 33.20 percent — from 31.70 percent in February.

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The bureau also intends to publish reports on liquefied petroleum gas (cooking gas) and premium motor spirit (petrol) for April 2024.

CBN DIRECTS BANKS TO CHARGE 0.5% CYBERSECURITY LEVY ON ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks and other financial institutions to implement a 0.5 percent cybersecurity levy on electronic transfers.

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The directive was issued to commercial, merchant, non-interest and payment service banks, as well as mobile money operators.

The CBN said the policy would take effect in two weeks and charges would be described as ‘Cybersecurity Levy’.

‘95% OF INFORMAL SECTOR SHOULD BE EXEMPTED FROM TAXES’

Taiwo Oyedele, chairman of the presidential fiscal policy and tax reforms committee, says the federal government is working on a system that will provide tax relief to 95 percent of the informal sector.

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Oyedele spoke at the closing session of the committee in Abuja on May 12.

Oyedele said the plan is to exempt businesses earning N25 million a year or less, from the various taxes hindering their progress over time.

‘’So, we think that 95 percent of the informal sector should be legally exempted from all taxes; withholding tax, company income tax, even payee on their staff,” he said.

NIGERIANS TO PAY FOR MULTIPURPOSE NATIONAL ID CARD 

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The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) says Nigerians will have to pay to get the new multipurpose national identity card.

Abisoye Coker-Odusote, director-general of NIMC, made this known at a press conference in Abuja on May 10.

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She said applicants for the card will have to request with their NIN through a self-service online portal or the banks.

NIMC boss added that applicants will have to pay through the banks to acquire the card.

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Coker-Odusote also said as at May 10, 107,338,004 Nigerians have enrolled for the national identification number (NIN) database.

She said the number increased by over three million compared to the 104.16 million data recorded in December 2023.

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STATES SEEK SUSPENSION OF FOREIGN DEBT DUE TO FX ISSUES 

Ekiti, Cross River, and Ogun states have proposed the suspension of their foreign debt repayments.

The proposal comes amid a severe foreign exchange (FX) volatility, which state officials claim has significantly hampered their ability to service existing debts.

According to minutes obtained by TheCable from the March 2024 meeting of the federal account allocation committee (FAAC), representatives from these states raised concerns about the rising cost of foreign loan repayments due to the weakening naira.

They said the cost of foreign debt servicing has drastically reduced their share of the federation account — a pool of funds distributed to states from the federal government revenue.

CBN REVIEWS REPATRIATION OF EXPORT PROCEEDS BY IOCs

The CBN has also reviewed its directive on the repatriation of export proceeds by international oil companies (IOCs).

In a circular on May 6, CBN said IOCs can repatriate 50 percent of their export proceeds immediately or when required, while the remaining 50 percent can be used to settle financial obligations in Nigeria.

The regulator said the transfer of funds by the IOCs has an impact on liquidity in the domestic FX market.

The financial regulator directed banks to only transfer 50 percent of repatriated export proceeds, on behalf of the IOCs, to their parent companies’ offshore accounts — with the remaining 50 percent repatriated after 90 days.

CAC SETS DEADLINE FOR POS TO REGISTER 

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and financial technology companies (fintechs) have agreed to a two-month timeline to register their merchants, and agent bankers — better known as POS operators.

The commission, issuing a deadline of July 7, said the registration aligns with legal requirements and the directives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The agreement was reached when Hussaini Magaji, registrar-general of the CAC, met with some fintech companies in Abuja on May 6.

The meeting had the representatives of Opay, Monba, PalmPay Ltd, PayStack, FairMoney MFB, Monipoint, and Teasy Pay.

On May 8, the corporation launched a centre for the “bulk registration” of point of sale (POS) operators.

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