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Buhari Assures Chinese Special Envoy on Agreements

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Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Zhou Pingjian
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…President Jinping Urges APC to Adopt Communist Party’s Ideology

By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja 

Flowing the bilateral agreement signed in 2018 during the China-Africa Business Forum, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that Nigeria is ready to provide counterpart funding on all agreements reached with China for the provision of infrastructure that directly improves the livelihood of Nigerians.

The President said this on Thursday when he received Yang Jiechi, Special Envoy of the President of China, Xi Jinping, at State House, Abuja.

Buhari expressed deep appreciation for what he described as ”China’s sustained and genuine efforts” to improve Nigeria’s infrastructure development, especially in the sectors of road, railway, aviation, as well as power and water resources.

‘‘Now that we have a government in place (with the Ministers), we know the provision of infrastructure is very important. It (Infrastructure) provides job opportunities and economic sustainability which are very important for political stability,’’ the President said.

Underlining Nigeria and China’s cooperation at the international arena, President Buhari said: ‘‘At the international level, we appreciate the support we give to each other and very importantly this must be sustained.

‘‘Nigeria is determined to play its role wherever China’s interest is concerned,’’ the President said while appreciating China’s support for Nigeria’s presidency of the 74th UN General Assembly.

On Lake Chad, the President emphasised the need for sustained support from China on the recharging of The Lake, noting that Nigeria and countries in the region have a lot to benefit from Chinese expertise and technology on inter-basin water transfer.

‘‘China has the technology, the people and the resources to help Lake Chad Basin countries because not many people in the region appreciate our problem of being near the Sahara desert and its influence on our population and  climate change, which is affecting over 20 million people living there,’’ he said. 

President Buhari also welcomed the offer by the Special Envoy for close partnership between Nigeria’s governing party, the All Progressives Congress and the Communist Party of China.

Delivering the message of President Xi, the Special envoy, who led a high-powered Chinese delegation to the meeting, assured President Buhari of China’s readiness to improve strategic partnership with Nigeria and effectively implement the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit in 2018.

‘‘China firmly supports Nigeria in pursuing a development path that supports Nigeria’s national conditions. We have every confidence that under Your Excellency’s able leadership, Nigeria will achieve even greater success in its national development.

‘‘During Your Excellency’s trip to China for the FOCAC Beijing Summit, we had bilateral meetings and reached important agreements on our bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest.

‘‘I highly value China’s ties with Nigeria and stand ready to work with Your Excellency to enhance our political trust, jointly pursue Belt and Road Cooperation, effectively implement the outcomes of FOCAC and strengthen our coordination in regional and international affairs so as to further enrich the strategic partnership between both countries,’’ President Xi said.

The Chinese leader once again congratulated President Buhari on his re-election.

With President Buhari at the meeting were Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Power, Transport, Aviation, Industry, Trade and Investment and Foreign Affairs.

The meeting discussed the status and implementation of several on-going projects being undertaken by Chinese firms in the country including railways, free trade zones, Mambilla Hydro-Power plant and four airport terminals, among others.

Economy

Domestic Securities Market a Major Source of Funding for FG – DMO

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The Debt Management Office (DMO), says the Nigerian domestic securities market remains a major source of funding for the Federal Government.

The Director-General of the DMO, Patience Oniha, said this on Monday in Lagos at an interactive session with primary dealers in the Federal Government securities market.

According to Oniha, during COVID-19, when the international markets were closed, we were able to raise the full amount needed to fund the budget.

“Last year, we raised seven trillion Naira as new domestic borrowing. It speaks to the size of the domestic market, its resilience, and its sophistication, unlike we have in many African markets,’’ she said.

Oniha said that the 2024 budget had a deficit of six trillion Naira to be financed through new domestic borrowing.

She said that the National Assembly also approved N7.3 trillion Ways and Means for securitisation.

“Out of the new domestic borrowing of six trillion Naira, we have raised N4.5 trillion. For the Ways and Means, out of seven trillion approved for securitisation, we have raised N4.905 trillion.

“The financial sector has come a long way, and this is another strategic meeting to chart a way forward,’’ Oniha said.

Mrs Nadia Zakari, the President, Financial Market Dealers Association (FMDA), said that the Nigerian business environment was evolving and unique, necessitating such interactive sessions.

According to Zakari, such sessions are critical for both market operators and the Federal Government for them to be able to make decisions as they plan for the rest of the year.

“We stand as financial intermediaries, and we are in a very important position of interacting with other market operators, the end investors and the DMO,’’ she said. (NAN)

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CBN Unveils Strategy to Boost Remittances, Grants AIP To 14 New IMTOs

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has activated plans to double foreign-currency remittance flows through formal channels by granting 14 new International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) Approval-in-Principle (AIP).

This was disclosed in Abuja on Wednesday, by the Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mrs.

Hakama Sidi Ali, who stated that the initiative will help increase the sustained supply of foreign exchange in the official market by promoting greater competition and innovation amongst IMTOs to lower the cost of remittance transactions and boost financial inclusion.
 

She said, “This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira.

“It will be recalled that the CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, had recently declared: “We’ve set ourselves a target to double remittance flows into Nigeria within a year, a goal I firmly believe is within reach. 

“We are wasting no time driving progress to remove any bottlenecks hindering flows through formal channels permanently. We have a determined pathway and a sequenced approach to tackling all challenges ahead, working hand in hand with key stakeholders in the remittance industry,” she stated.

Continuing, Sidi Ali, said that the CBN viewed increasing formal remittance flows—one of the major sources of foreign exchange, accounting for over 6% of GDP—as a means of reducing the historical volatility in Nigeria’s exchange rate caused by external factors, such as fluctuations in foreign investment and oil export proceeds.

The increase in the number of IMTOs is one of the primary actions initiated by the CBN’s remittance task force, overseen by Governor Cardoso as a collaborative unit pulling together specialists to work closely with the private sector and market operators to facilitate the ease of doing business in the remittance ecosystem in Nigeria. 

The task force was established as a direct result of an executive learning session with IMTOs during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings held in Washington DC, United States of America, in April 2024. The task force will meet regularly to implement strategy and monitor the impact of its measures on remittance inflows.

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Economy

FG Vows To Ensure Continuous Flow of Tax Revenue – Madein

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Federal government is committed a tax culture that will ensure the continuous flow of revenues into government coffers, the Accountant General of the Federation, Dr Oluwatoyin Madein has said.

Madein stated this at the 26th Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) in Abuja, with the theme: “Sustainable Tax Culture and Economic Roadmap for Nation Building”.

Madein said, “Like the CITN, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation is committed to a sustainable tax culture that will ensure the continuous flow of revenues even at an improved level.

“Tax revenue as at today is the highest source of revenue accruing to the federation.

Therefore at the Federation Account Allocation Committee meetings we eagerly await the numbers coming from the FIRS because the performance keeps on increasing and brings succour to all tiers of government.”

She charged tax practitioners to work harder in getting more revenue from taxes, stressing that tax revenue is currently the highest income source for the federation.

The government noted that based on the current high revenue from taxes, members of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee were always looking forward to the figures from the Federal Inland Revenue Service every month, in order to have funds to share to the three tiers of government.

“Tax revenue as at today is the highest source of revenue accruing to the federation. Therefore at the Federation Account Allocation Committee meetings we eagerly await the numbers coming from the FIRS because the performance keeps on increasing and brings succour to all tiers of government”, she added. 

FIRS exceeded its 2023 revenue target by N816bn, as its total actual revenue collection for last year stood at N12.37tn, outperforming the N11.56tn target.

This is contained in a presentation by Amina Ado, Coordinating Director of Special Tax Operations Group at the FIRS.

The accountant-general tasked tax practitioners to step up efforts in collecting taxes, so as to shore up more revenue for the government to provide infrastructure and other amenities.

Madein said, “Let us remain steadfast in our commitment to building a better future for all. Together we can harness the transformative power of taxation to create a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable world.

“Like I said earlier, at FAAC we eagerly look forward to tax numbers because at the moment revenue from non-oil has been a great revenue source to the federation.

“Therefore, to tax practitioners, you are doing so well, but we need more of this to be able to deliver on all the areas that the citizens are looking forward to, because for even infrastructure development, it is only through funds that we can get it done.”

She further stated that it was her strong belief that “the conference will go a long way to deepen the collaboration between our organisations in building capacity for all the professionals, experts and tax payers for better understanding of the tax laws, rules and regulations.”

In his remarks, the President/Chairman of Council, CITN, Samuel Agbeluyi, pointed out that the withdrawal of subsidies on fuel and electricity had reduced the purchasing power of the masses.

He noted that raising electricity tariff for a selected band after fuel subsidy was withdrawn “is going to reduce the purchasing power of the masses. So we urge govt to consider these actions on the masses.

He, however, stated that the institute was happy to know that President Bola Tinubu had asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to slow down on the recent cybersecurity levy that was approved by the apex bank.

“We will continue to advise the govt on its policies, considering how these polices affect the citizens,” Agbeluyi stated.

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