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Envoy Extols Dangote’s Contribution to Senegal’s Economy

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By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

Dangote Cement Plc’s huge investment has been described as one of the major contributors to the development of the Senegalese economy. Besides, the Cement plant located in Pout, 60 kilometres away from Dakar, has greatly assisted in strengthening the business relationship between Senegal and Nigeria.

Dangote Cement Senegal currently holds a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year, producing higher quality cement to meet the country’s demand as well exporting to neighbouring countries around Senegal.

Charge D’Affaires, Embassy of Nigeria, Senegal, Mr.

  A.K Zanna, who spoke on the contributions of Dangote Cement’s investment in Senegal at his office in Dakar, called on Dangote and other interested investors to explore the investment opportunities available in the Senegalese Salt Mining and Real Estate industry.

According to him, Dangote’s Cement investment in Senegal is contributing significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), through its export revenue from neighbouring countries and social investments in the country. “I think the company has done a lot in strengthening the existing relationship between Nigeria and Senegal,” he added.

Zanna stated, “As one of the biggest foreign investors in the Senegalese economy, Dangote Cement is contributing significantly to the country’s economic development. We are proud to associate with the company as a Nigerian brand. The company has done a lot in Senegal since its establishment in 2015. It has created huge employment for the Senegalese; it has created both direct and indirect employment opportunities for many people in Senegal.

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He said Dangote Cement is contributing significantly to the relationship between Nigeria and Senegal. “Unfortunately, most of the trade relations between Nigeria and Senegal are in the informal sector. However, with the ways things are going, there is going to be improvement in economic activities between both countries. Already, we have two Nigerian banks operating in Senegal. And Many Nigerian companies have signified interests in investing in the Senegalese economy. This will further improve the business relationship between the two countries,” he said.

The Envoy also commended the company for contributing to the well- being of its host and surrounding communities in Pout, Senegal.

“Dangote is involved in corporate social responsibilities programmes. The company has done a lot for the communities where it is located. The company’s community development in Senegal is assisting the government’s responsibilities to its citizens.

“I know that the company has built maternity clinics, health centres, schools, awarded scholarships to students, and created avenue for poverty eradication in the country. The company is also fully involved in women empowerment. Dangote Cement’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes are having direct positive impact on the host communities. So, by extension, the company is shouldering some of the responsibilities of the Senegalese government.”

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He also urged investors from Nigeria to invest in Senegalese Real Estate industry. “Senegal is becoming a vibrant economy and the country building a new city at Diaminadio. There is opportunity for investment in real estate in the Senegalese economy. Apart from that, maybe by 2023, Senegal will start production of crude oil and many opportunities will be available for Nigerians with technical expertise in the oil sector.

Country Manager, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Luk Haelterman attributed the success of the company in Senegal in the past five years to the company’s investment in quality production and introduction of what is commonly referred to as the ‘Senegallisation’ Policy.

According to him, the company’s introduction of 42.5-degree brand of cement to the major market in Senegal upon entry has enabled the company gain the desired market share in the country. 

“The success of Dangote Cement is coming from quality planning based merely on the improvement on the quality of cement to 42.5R that was not available everywhere and certainly not to everybody at affordable price in Senegal. Introducing this into the market was a guarantee for us to gain the market share that we needed,” he stated’

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No Tax Waivers for Local, Foreign Investors-FIRS

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By Joseph Chibueze, Abuja

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has said it had no policy that grants tax waivers to any local or foreign investors in the country as its enabling Act did not empower it to grant such tax breaks.

 


Executive Chairman, Mohammed Nami disclosed this Abuja on Friday in during his appearance before the House of Representatives’  Public Accounts Committee investigating alleged tax waivers granted to three foreign firms operating in the country.


 The firms are Indorama Petrochemical, Indorama Fertilizer and Petrochemical Ltd and OIS Indorama Eleme Port-Harcourt.


“The FIRS does not have the power or responsibility of facilitating or implementing incentives to local investors or investors coming through the Foreign Direct Investment platform, which is the sole prerogative of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)”, a statement from FIRS by Director of Communications and Liaison, Dr Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad quoted Nami to have told the panel.

 Nami pointed out that “the investigation of the three foreign firms, Indorama Petrochemical, Indorama Fertilizer and Petrochemical Ltd and OIS Indorama Eleme Port-Harcourt, started way back in 2015. The committee in charge of the investigation has consistently been furnished with all required documents by the FIRS”. 

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He further stated that the companies under consideration “have been variously granted pioneer status between December 15th, 1997 to 2016 for the Indorama Petrochemical Ltd and between 2017 – 2020 for the Indorama Fertilizer and Chemicals Ltd respectively”. According to him “upon expiration of the pioneer period and conclusion of post pioneer Audit, the Indorama Petrochemical Ltd company’s tax file was returned to the Large Tax Office (LTO) Port Harcourt.

Thus far, the company has filed its annual returns up to 31st December 2019 with relevant Self-Assessment and paid its attendant liabilities”.


He, therefore,  pleaded with the Public Accounts Committee “to always avail itself of the opportunity to work closely with the custodians of FIRS records, such as the Coordinating Directors, Directors and Tax Controllers as do other House Committees like the Committee on Finance, to enhance its investigation at any time.”


Recall that the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts had written a letter of invitation dated 27th May 2021 to the Executive Chairman of the FIRS to appear at its public hearing slated for 9 June 2021 on alleged revenue leakages involving the three foreign firms. However, the FIRS Executive Chairman could not honour the Committee’s summons on that date due to other pressing engagements which included Board meetings.

READ  FG Pledges Support to $12bn Dangote Refinery


Appearing in person on the rescheduled date,  Nami noted with satisfaction the cordial relationship between the FIRS and the legislators since he assumed office in December 2019.
 He seized the opportunity to reiterate that “the mandate of the FIRS is to assess, collect and account for tax revenue.” This mandate, he stressed, “is clear and unambiguous.”


  Nami used the opportunity to call for a continuous cordial working relationship between the National Assembly and the FIRS  “especially in this critical time when tax revenue has become crucial to the operations of the three tiers of government.” He assured that the FIRS under his watch “is very keen on collaborating with the Honourable Members of the Committee and other critical stakeholders in the National Assembly on the Automatic Exchange of Information on tax evasion, tax avoidance and other related issues.”


  Nami concluded his remarks by emphasising that he remained focused on the task of revenue collection which the Federal Government had assigned him to undertake. This task, he noted, “has its challenges, more so with the ravaging impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses and the overall economy. The Management of FIRS is working assiduously to achieve the revenue target set for it by the Federal Government and is not relenting in that objective”.

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Nexim Bank Launches $50m Export Programme for Women, Youths

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CBN Plans to Recapitalize the Banking Sector Soon – Emefiele
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By Joseph Chibueze, Abuja and Haruna Aliyu Usman, Birnin -Kebbi

The Nigeria Export Import (NEXIM) Bank has lauched a $50 million
export lending programme for women and youths in Kebbi State.


Managing Director of the bank, Alhaji Abba Bello in his speech at the
launch which took place at Birnin Kebbi on Thursday said apart from
providing funds for the beneficiaries, the bank was also going to
provide training for them.


He said Kebbi State is the second place the bank was launching the
programme after Abuja. According to him, the choice of Kebbi was
because of the enthusiasm shown by some group of young enterprenuers
whom he said already had their business plans ready.


He explained that women and youths have been denied opportunities like
this because of lack of capacity to prepare bankable business plan.
The NEXIM Bank boss said the scheme which is a collaboration between
Nexim and Afriexim banks have made available $50 million dollars to
build capacities of potential exporters to make them becomes export
gurus.

He noted that, they intend to cover the entire country but with more
emphasis on women and youth who already forms almost 85 per cent of
the country’s population.

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“When the country is fully covered Nigeria will witness a huge export
boost within the next few years,” he said adding that every citizen
especially youths and women who can come up with reasonable business
plan, Nexim bank is ready to provide the needed financing.


He challenged the youths and women to come forward with bankable
business ideas to access the available funds.

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Nigeria to Earn $700m Annually from Sugar – Dangote

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Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has said Nigeria could earn 700 million dollars foreign exchange annually through implementation of the Backward Integration Policy (BIP) from sugar production.

Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery, Aliko Dangote, said this at the company’s 15th Annual General Meeting yesterday in Lagos.

Dangote said that allowing for distortions in the sugar masterplan framework would adversely affect the target of the nation attaining self-sufficiency as projected.

He said the policy would not only reduce imports of raw sugar but save the nations enormous foreign exchange used for importation.

Expressing his delight with the BIP, Dangote, however, noted that if the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan was fully implemented and the players adhered strictly to the rules, Nigeria would save between $600 million and $700 million annually as foreign exchange.

“The backward integration policy of Dangote Sugar Refinery is recording appreciable progress and we will remain committed to the policy,” he said.

Addressing shareholders, he said, in spite of the disruptions in the economy occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced an increase in production volume which rose by 13.7 percent to 743,858 tonnes in the review period from 654,071 tonnes in 2019.

Dangote noted that the company posted a group turnover of N214.3 billion against  N161.1 billion in 2019.

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He added that the sugar group posted a 6.9 per cent increase in sales volume from 684,487 tonnes in 2019 to 731,701 tonnes in 2020.

Hence, the board of the company declared a total dividend payment of N18.22 billion to the shareholders, amounting to N1.50 per ordinary share of 50k each.

He explained the improvements were attributable to operations optimisation strategy in spite of the disruption caused by civil unrest in last quarter of the year.

“Our growth continued to benefit from the sustained efforts to drive customer base expansion and several trade initiatives and investments.

“Gross profit increased by 40.4 percent to N53.75 billion, compared to N38.29 billion in 2019 while group profit after tax for the year increased by 33.2 percent to N26.70 billion against N22.36 billion in 2019, reflecting management’s unrelenting goal to deliver consistent shareholder value,” he said.

Dangote said the company had revised its sugar production target to 550,000 metric tonnes achievable by 2024 in line with the revised plan of the BIP by the Federal Government.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ravindra Singhvi, speaking on the results said the sugar group continued the growth path with commitments to improve performance and generate value for all stakeholders.

READ  FG Pledges Support to $12bn Dangote Refinery

Singhvi explained that this was reflected in the sales volume delivery of 731,701 tonnes, and production of 743,858 tonnes being 6.9 per cent and 13.7 per cent increase in volumes over the comparative year 2019. (NAN)

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