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VAT report, PH-Aba train services… 7 business stories to track this week

VAT report, PH-Aba train services… 7 business stories to track this week
March 04
08:33 2024

Here are the seven top business stories you need to track this week — March 4 to March 8.

NBS REPORTS ON VAT, FOREIGN TRADE

The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is expected to release reports on electricity and company income tax for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023.

Also, during the week, NBS will publish a report on the sectoral distribution of value-added tax (VAT) for Q4.

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In addition, a report on the country’s foreign trade in goods as well as data on road transport for Q4 and full-year 2023, will be published by the bureau.

PORT HARCOURT-ABA TRAIN SERVICES TO BEGIN IN MARCH

The federal government has announced that train services on the Port Harcourt-Aba route will commence by the end of March.

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Fidet Okhiria, the managing director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), disclosed this on Saturday after leading a delegation to test-run the reconstructed eastern narrow gauge rail line in Port Harcourt.

The rail line is a section of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railroad project initiated by ex-President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

MPR HITS 22.7%

The monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the monetary policy rate (MPR), which benchmarks interest rates, from 18.75 percent to 22.75 percent.

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Olayemi Cardoso, CBN’s governor, announced the rate adjustment at a news conference on Tuesday after the committee’s meeting in Abuja.

The CBN governor said the committee raised the MPR by 400 basis points to 22.75 percent, and adjusted the asymmetric corridor at +100 and -700 basis points from +100 basis points and -300 basis points around the MPR.

He said the committee also increased the cash reserve ratio (CRR) from 32.5 percent to 45 percent, while retaining the liquidity rate at 30 percent.

CBN WITHDRAWS OVER 4,000 BDC LICENCES

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The CBN on March 1, 2024, revoked the licences of 4,173 bureau de change (BDC) operators for failing to observe regulatory provisions.

The apex bank said the BDCs failed to observe at least one of its regulatory provisions, such as payment of all necessary fees, including licence renewal, within the stipulated period in line with the guidelines.

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Some of the affected BDCs are; Mountaintop BDC Ltd, Movement BDC, Pointless Forex BDC Ltd, Protected BDC Ltd, Reading BDC Ltd, Roundtable BDC Ltd, Shares of Time BDC Ltd, Stop Over BDC Ltd, Surging BDC Ltd, Valid BDC Ltd, Unical BDC Ltd, Turnover BDC Ltd, Couple BDC Ltd, Happy Ends BDC Ltd, Village Way BDC Ltd, Welcome BDC Ltd, and Oyinbo BDC Ltd.

CBN BEGINS SALES OF FOREX TO BDCs

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In a related development, the CBN announced its approval for the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to BDC operators.

The agency announced the development in a statement on Tuesday, reversing its decision to halt FX sales to the BDCs in 2021.

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The move comes amid attempts by the regulator to achieve an appropriate market-determined exchange rate.

PETROL IMPORTATION REDUCED BY 50%

The federal government says petrol importation into the country has dropped by 50 percent since the removal of the subsidy.

Mohammed Idris, the minister of information and national orientation, spoke at the third edition of the ministerial press briefing series in Abuja on Wednesday.

Idris attributed the progress made to the removal of the petrol subsidy by the federal government led by President Bola Tinubu.

Additionally, the minister said local oil production has risen from 1.22 million barrels per day (bpd) in the second quarter (Q2) of 2023 to about 1.55 million in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023.

BINANCE VS FG SAGA

On February 27, 2024, Cardoso said $26 billion passed through Binance Nigeria from unidentified sources in one year.

Within 24 hours after the statement, Nigeria’s government reportedly detained two top executives of Binance on February 28, 2024, over allegations of price manipulations.

The development came amid a crackdown on crypto exchange platforms — including Binance — by the federal government.

On March 1, the federal government said it is demanding at least $10 billion as retribution from Binance for profiting from “its illegal transactions” in Nigeria.

In an interview with the BBC, Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser on information and strategy to President Bola Tinubu, said the cryptocurrency platform is causing massive losses for “fixing exchange rates”.

He said the federal government is seeking such retribution from Binance for also fixing FX rates on its peer-to-peer platform.

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