Despite extremely tough challenges of the global economic meltdown and the Nigerian banking credit and liquidity squeeze, Aquila Capital Limited the diversified financial services group, has secured a further $5 million in long-term debt financing for its leasing subsidiary, Aquila Leasing Limited, from the Belgian Investment Organisation (BIO), based in Brussels.
BIO chronicied its investment in Aquila Leasing, among others, of $5 million for a period of five years via a long term loan for on-lending/leasing to SMEs.
BIO is a Development Finance Institution (DFI) owned by the Belgian government and private institutions.
It is aimed at supporting SMEs through the banking sector/financial institutions, especially in developing countries.
BIO’s commitment to funding projects currently stand at about 203 million euros with actual investment of 127 million euros that cut across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The Aquila capital group has continued to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country in general and the leasing sector in particular despite the extremely tough operating environment.
This clearly indicates the confidence that Bio has in the management of Aquila and the potential latent within the Nigerian economy irrespective of the current economic challenges.
Aquila had secured various capital inflows previously, including equity from Afri-investment and Tunis-based private equity firm, as well as the successful issuance of its euro denominated convertible bond offering, all in 2007.
In 2009, Aquila secured a $10 million long term dual currency loan deal from the Netherlands Development Financing Bank (FMO) for on-lending/leasing to SMEs.
Aquila capital has been in operation since July 2005 and its management is led by Mr Chuka Onwuchekwa, a professional with diverse experience in both the Nigerian and African banking industry.
The company is focused on fleet management consumer leasing and SMEs.
Refinery’s Rehab: PHRC Boss Seeks Host Communities’ Support
The managing director of Port Harcourt refinery company (PHRC), Ahmed Dikko, says the support of host communities will contribute to the success of the rehabilitation of the refinery.
In May, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) commenced the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery in Rivers state.
This was after the federal executive council (FEC) approved the sum of $1.5 billion for the rehabilitation.
The repair, which will be executed by Tecnimont SPA, an Italian company, will be done in three phases of 18, 24 and 44 months, respectively.
Dikko, who said the PHRC is already engaging the host communities, expressed optimism that they will support the project.
“Host communities’ engagement is one of the key priorities for the success of this project and PHRC management recognises this right from the earlier days of the award of this contract and has done a lot in this regard through the public affairs,” he said.
“The first is to put out the information correctly about this project, and the second is to manage the expectations of the communities.
“The approach that we are using is to get the communities to buy into the project and be part of it. So much has been covered and I’m delighted with the way we are going. We are going to have the support of the communities.
“The contractors themselves have nominated a community representative that is working closely with our public affairs team in the manner to ensure that the right information is given to the communities.
“Everybody is part of the rehabilitation project, and in whatever department you are, you must contribute your own to make sure that we truly succeed.
“Whether you are in the human resources, engineering, or admin department; there is a role for you in the project, and I’m happy that the staff have taken it on, and are looking forward to the actual commencement of activities physically.
“We have gone further again to keep knowledge sharing so that everybody will understand clearly what the project is about, and also the scope of work that we want to do. That way, we’ll have a role to play as it goes on.”
Dikko also said the rehabilitation of the refinery will be completed as scheduled, adding that the contractors have been given what they need to get the project done.
“It is not a small thing knowing full well that all specs of all the equipment and everything therein that will make the contractor succeed have to be given; all the documentation that we have. So, we have done that; we’ve given thousands of documents to the contractor,” he said.
Godwin Emefiele: Bad Bank Debtors Frustrating Loan Recovery
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, said that recalcitrant debtors have exploited the lack of prioritisation of credit recovery matters by the Nigerian judicial system to frustrate debt recovery efforts of financial institutions in the country.
Emefiele stated this at a workshop for judicial officers on recent reforms of the banking financial services sectors in Nigeria held in Abuja.
The Governor was represented by the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN, Aisha Ahmad.
According to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), out of a total of N4.158trn bad loans, it has so far recovered over N1.48trn.
It still has 7,902 outstanding obligors with a total outstanding loan of above N3.1trn, while 350 obligors alone account for over N2.053trn, with more than 70 per cent of the total outstanding amount.
Emefiele disclosed the plan by the CBN to engage stakeholders in the Judiciary to enforce The Special Tribunal for the Enforcement and Recovery of Eligible Loans.
The Special Tribunal which is a provision of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act was introduced to accelerate credit recovery processes and enforcement of collateral rights.
Speaking on the significance of the BOFIA 2020, the apex bank boss said that the Act is expected to reinvigorate the Nigerian banking sector as it will engender a sound and stable financial system that will support sustainable growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
He said that the BOFIA 2020 also strengthens the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism Framework by mandating regulated entities to comply with AML/CFT and cyber security regulations.
Emefiele also pointed out that the BOFIA contains provisions to effectively manage unclaimed funds or abandoned property in dormant accounts maintained with banks, specialised banks and other financial institutions, as well as recovery tools for failing banks.
BOFIA 2020 also provides enhanced recovery and resolution tools for failing banks.
Diversification Of Nigeria’s Economy On Course – FIRS
The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, has argued that the diversification of the Nigerian economy is on course.
Speaking at the ‘Public Presentation And Breakdown Of The Highlights Of The 2022 Appropriation Bill’, Nami, stated that 4.2 trillion Naira had been collected so far in 2021 in revenue, with about 3.3 trillion Naira, that is over 77 percent of the total collection from the non-oil sector.
“To address the issue of Nigeria not diversifying its economy, from a tax perspective, you will discover that we are actually diversifying the economy,” Nami stated.
“The total collection we have up to 31 September, which we have not fully reconciled with the CBN and the Nigerian Customs is about 4.2 trillion Naira, and from this amount, oil-related taxes accounted for only 22 per cent which is 950 billion Naira only, while the non-oil taxes we have generated within that period is 3.3 trillion Naira.”
Recall that President Buhari had acknowledged during his 2022 Budget presentation speech to the National Assembly that, “On a positive note, we surpassed the non-oil taxes target by eleven (11) per cent in aggregate. The sustained improvement in non-oil taxes indicates that some of our revenue reforms are yielding positive results. We expect further improvement in revenue collections later in the year as more corporate entities file their tax returns and we accelerate the implementation of our revenue reforms.”
Muhammad Nami noted that though the potentials of the country’s non-oil revenues were being harnessed, it was however not adequate.
“To discuss about the taxes that are being paid in the country and to say whether they are adequate or not, I want to believe one, they are not adequate.
“We assume that we are a rich country, I don’t think that is correct. We only have the potential to be rich, because we have a very huge population of about 200 million”, Nami stated
The FIRS Executive Chairman emphasized that the best way to fund budgets globally was through payment of taxes by citizens particularly personal income tax which is a direct tax as against indirect taxes; he further noted that personal income taxes in other countries account for over 50% of the funds available to their respective governments for funding expenditure.
“The number of billionaires in Lagos alone are more than the number of billionaires in the whole of South Africa but yet what Lagos State generated as Personal Income Tax was just less than N400bn in 2020.
“So if we don’t pay these taxes, there is no way the government will be able to provide the social amenities required, the critical infrastructure required for the wellbeing of the country,” Nami stated.
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed Shamsuna, in reply to a question noted that there was a social contract between tax payers and authorities and that government revenue that was generated was being applied to funding its expenditure at all the three tiers of government.
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