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China’s Policy Worries World Stock Market

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World markets lost earlier gains on Friday as investors worried about China’s decision to tighten its monetary policy to cool off growth and eurozone growth figures came in well below expectations.

  Some indexes were higher, buoyed by hopes that the ED will provide support to its most heavily indebted member states, but by late morning in European trading that optimism was subdued, pushing the euro to a nine-month low.

  Britain’s FTSE 100 benchmark index was down 0.5 percent at 5,135.57 while Germany’s DAX was up 0.2 percent to 5,515.29. France’s CAC-40 slid 0.3 percent to 3,607.69 and Greek and Portuguese stocks also fell. Stocks were mostly higher earlier.

  Asia had largely closed higher before China announced its move to limit lending, and Wall Street was expected to fall on the open. Dow industrials futures were down 65 points at 10,045.00 and Standard & Poor’s 500 futures were down 7.6 points at 1,069.80.

  In a bid to cool off growth, China raised its reserve rate by half a percentage point, which requires large banks to set aside more cash at the central bank, leaving less money to slosh around the economy.

  Because Chinese growth has been one of the main drivers behind the global economy’s recovery from the downturn, the news unsettled investors.

  Adding to the sour mood were official figures in Europe showing the 16-country eurozone grew by only 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, with weak countries like Greece stifling the region’s recovery from recession. Even the currency bloc’s biggest economy and engine of growth, Germany, disappointed expectations as its GDP remained flat on the quarter.

  “The slowdown in growth at the end of2009 is a blow,” said Jennifer McKeown, economist at Capital Economics.

  She said surveys suggest the eurozone’s recovery will pick up speed again this year, “but with fiscal consolidation threatening to prevent a meaningful pick-up in domestic spending, the downside risks for the region are growing.”

  The euro fell sharply after the data, from $1.36 before the figures to as low as $1.3538, the weakest level in nine months. It traded as high as $1.3693 late Thursday in New York. The dollar rose to 89.93 yen from 89.74 yen.

  Friday’s news dampened the cautious optimism generated Thursday by ED leaders’ pledge to support Greece in case it has trouble handling its debt. Although some investors were disappointed with a lack of detail and concrete measures, the hope is that a finance ministers’ meeting next week will provide these.

  “Yesterday’s announcement feels like only half the job has been completed, leaving the market dangling and hungry for more information,” said Stuart Bennett, analyst at Calyon.

  In Asia, where markets mostly closed before China’s rate announcement, Japan’s market, closed Thursday for a public holiday, led gains, with the Nikkei 225 advancing 1.3 percent to 10,092.19.

  Trading activity has been subdued the past few days ahead of holidays next week for the Lunar New Year in China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

  The Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.1 percent to 3,018.13. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng reversed early gains to close down 0.1 percent at 20,268.69.

  Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kopsi dropped 0.3 percent to 1,593.66 and Australia’s benchmark added 0.2 percent. Markets in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia also rose while Indian markets were shut for a public holiday.

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Customs Intercepts N6, 974m Worth PMS

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Barely two weeks after seizing a tank-full equivalent of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), known locally as petrol, the  Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted 1005 jerry cans of the same product.
The product, amounting to 3000 litres, is with Duty Paid Value (DPV) worth  of N6,974,750.00.
A statement signed by the Command’s Spokesman, DSC Hussaini Abdullahi, and made available to our correspondent in Lagos at the weekend, said the seizure was made during a routine check of the adjoining creeks, beaches, and flash points.
The statement quoted the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Bello Mohammed Jibo, as saying that “as long as unrepentant and undesirable elements engage in acts of economic sabotage and smuggling, so shall officers and men remain a step ahead to counter their illicit trades”.
The statement further reads: “In continuation of our efforts to suppress smuggling of petroleum products within the nooks and crannies of the command, officers and men of the Seme Area Command on a routine patrol along the creeks within Seme and Badagry intercepted another large quantity of petroleum products in sacks.
“After successful evacuation of the said item to the command’s premises where examination was conducted, one thousand and five (1005)x 30 litres of jerry cans of petroleum products each, equivalent to thirty thousand, one hundred and fifty (30,150) litres  were discovered. The Duty Paid Value (DPV) is Six million, nine hundred and seventy four thousand, seven hundred and fifty naira (N6,974,750.00), only”.
While showcasing the seized products, Jibo commended the doggedness, patriotism, dedication and high level of professionalism exhibited by his men, noting that the new Land Cruiser patrol vehicles (Buffalo) recently donated to commands by the Management of the NCS has aided the operation of the command, as the vehicles enhance access to a wider circle.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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NASS, MDAs’ Non-Remittance Of Taxes Cost FIRS N5.8bn …NCAA Tops Defaulters With N2,984bn

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Non-remittance of tax deductions by the National Assembly, comprising the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies has resulted in a loss of tax revenue amounting to N5.8 billion by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in 2019.
Disclosing this in its 2019 Annual Report on non-compliance, internal control, and weakness issues in MDAs of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation said it is for the year ended December 31, 2019.
The MDAs, according to the Report, are the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology, New Bussa; Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria; Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority; Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited; Hussaini Adamu Federal Polytechnic, Jigawa State; Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nasarawa State; Department of Petroleum Resources; National Assembly Service Commission; and Nigerian Correctional Services.
It stated that between 2018 and 2019, the MDAs failed to either remit one per cent stamp duty, value added tax, withholding tax or Pay As You Earn tax deducted from awarded contracts, thereby contravening sections of the Financial Regulations and Treasury Circular issued on December 29, 2015.
The Report further stated that Paragraph 234(I) of the Financial Regulations states that “it is mandatory for accounting officers to ensure full compliance with the dual roles of making provision for the Value Added Tax and withholding tax due on supply and services contract and actual remittance of same”.
Specifically, it quoted Paragraph 235, saying, “Deduction of VAT, WHT, and PAYE shall be remitted to Federal Inland Revenue Service at the same time the payee who is the subject of deduction is paid”.
It continued that the Treasury circular Ref No. TRY/A12&B12/2015 and OAGF/CAD/VOL.II/390, dated December 29, 2015, states that “1% Stamp Duty chargeable on contract awards and the remittance be made to the relevant tax authority (Federal Inland Revenue Service)”.
The Report also stated: “The audit observed that the sum of N5,828,621,715.06 was the amount of taxes not remitted by 12 Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has the highest amount of N2,984,887,250.00, while Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology, New Bussa has the least amount of N1,021,011.13”.

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NCS, Apapa Records N870,39bn Revenue Boost

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The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) recorded an impressive performance in its revenue generation and anti-smuggling campaign in 2021.
Disclosing this recently during a review of its activities in 2021, the Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta, said the sum of N870.38 billion of the N2.24 trillion announced recently by the Service was collected in Apapa Command in 2021.
Giving an insight into the command’s revenue profile, Malanta told newsmen that the  N870.38 billion collected by the command was 68 percent more than what was collected in 2020 which was N518.4 billion.
He stayed that the Command recorded 103 seizures worth N31 billion in 2021.
Malanta identified the seizures as 46.55kg of cocaine, which was concealed on board MV Karteria and MV Chayanee Naree laden with raw sugar; containers of foreign parboiled rice, tomato paste, secondhand clothes, unregistered pharmaceuticals such as captagon pills, tramadol, codeine syrup, etc.
“These were seizures made in accordance with the provisions of sections 46, 47, and 161 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP C45 LFN 2004. These seizures are condemned by a competent court of law and the suspects are still undergoing investigation and interrogation”, the Customs boss said.
He continued that 5.38 metric tons of non-oil commodities were exported through the command as against 1.3 million metric tons in 2020.
According to him, the Free on Board (FOB) value for the exported items rose from $340 million (N140 billion) in 2020 to $641 million (N264 billion) last year.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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