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FG working towards 100th position on ease of doing business

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Nigerians to pay more taxes in 2022- Finance minister hints

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed says the Federal Government is working on operational, regulatory and legislative interventions to move the country to the top 100 in the world on ease of doing business ranking.

Ahmed disclosed this at a news conference on the forthcoming 25th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Monday.

She explained that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had taken steps toward making the country investment friendly and competitive.

She said part of this was the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), to address constraints to businesses and the Executive Orders focusing on Ease of Doing Business.

According to her, this order will ensure the increasing local content that have been signed to support the diversification efforts.

The Minister added that the implementation of these policies enabled Nigeria to move 24 places to 146th from 169th position on the ease of doing business ranking of the World Bank.

Ahmed said: “We have also established a Competitiveness Advisory Council and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the six geo-political zones, as a vehicle for partnering with the private sector.

“The initiative is in line with modern trend of providing infrastructure to business clusters to improve and boost economic activities in such zones as found in China and other fast growing economies.

“We believe that these initiatives will improve trade balances, investment and create jobs.

“Government is also working toward launching a broad range of sector–specific activities to attract investment and drive growth through improving regulatory efficiency.

Also read:  NASS warns MDAs: Desist from diverting revenue accruing to FG

“In this respect, the Solid Mineral Development Fund (SMDF)is being refocused to de-risk value chains in the mining sector and diversify national income streams.”

Ahmed disclosed that, to expand transportation and other infrastructures that would make the country competitive for investment, government was willing to work with the private sector in commercially viable projects.

She said the greatest challenge facing government was inadequate revenue to execute the numerous projects and other initiatives it intended to implement.

According to her, new sources of revenue is being identified and enhanced ,while coordination and cohesion among revenue generating agencies, is being improved.

The minister noted that this year’s summit is expected to present a unique opportunity for discussion among leaders and citizens to set an agenda for Nigerians to deepen discussions on issues and challenges facing the country.

She expressed hope that the summit would also assist in proffering solutions on how to maximise the large workforce, reap the demographic dividends and achieve a competitive economy that was inclusive, leading to improved standard of living and economic prosperity for the citizenry.

NAN reports that a report on Sept. 12, which was presented at the lecture, Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business score improved by 1.37 points from 51.52 distance to frontier in 2018 to 52.89 in 2019.

 

Economy

NGX Opens Week Weakly, As Market Sheds N1.82trn

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Stock Market Gains N18bn; FTN Cocoa Processors, Prestige Assurance lead Losers’ Chart 

 …MTN and Dangote Cement lead the Losers’ Table 

Transactions resumed on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX), on Monday, on a negative posture with the market indices declining by 3.15 percent due to selloffs.

Specifically, the market capitalisation which opened at N57.849 trillion, shed N1.82 trillion or 3.15 percent to close at N56.028 trillion.

Similarly, the All-Share Index(ASI) also dropped by 3.15 percent or 3,330 points to settle at 102,393.23, compared to 105,722.78 achieved on Friday.

As a result, the ASI Year-To-Date (YTD) return fell to 36.94 percent.

The market was dragged down due to selloffs in the shares of MTN Nigeria, Dangote Cement, and Zenith Bank.

On the losers’ table, MTN and Dangote Cement led in percentage of 10 each to close at N247.50 and N686.70 per share, respectively.

NGX Group trailed by 9.76 percent to close at N22.20, NEM insurance dropped 9.74 per cent to close at N6.95, while Tantalizers lost 9.52 percent to close at 38k per share.

On the contrary, Juli Plc led the gainers table by 9.52 percent to close at N1.61.

Dangote Cement followed with an increase of 8.64 percent to close at 88k per share.

Sunu Assurances garnered 6.74 percent to close at N1.90, while ABC Transport gained 6.67 percent to close at 96k per share.

Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) also appreciated by 5.86 percent to close at N30.70 per share.

On the activity chart, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) led with a trade of 28.85 million shares valued at N1.13 billion.

Also, Transcorp sold 20.14 million shares worth N275.93 million, while Access Holdings traded 15.90 million shares worth N359.5 million.

FBN Holdings sold 15.87 million shares worth N450.74 million and Zenith Bank transacted 15.84 million shares valued at N568.04 million.

Analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled lower relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions down by 7.58 percent.

Meanwhile,  273.85 million shares valued at N7.44 billion were exchanged in 9,688 deals, compared to 342.52 million shares worth N8.05 billion in 8,395 deals on Friday.

Meanwhile, the market breadth closed negative with 36 declining stocks and 16 that appreciated.

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Economy

FG Threatens To Open Borders for Cement Importation Over Price Hike

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Palpable fear has gripped cement manufacturers following the Federal Government’s threat to throw open the nation’s borders for cement importation if the product manufacturers fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper

Bags of cement

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

He expressed his displeasure at the position of  Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold  its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James, Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola  Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

He, however, identified some areas of concern and appealed to the government to look into them to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

At the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

The three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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Economy

Cement Price Can Be Lower Than FG, Manufacturers’ Projection — Association 

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…Warns that high price could lead to corner-cutting and building collapse

The National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON) says the agreement between the Federal Government and three major cement manufacturers that a 50kg bag of cement, for now, is not supposed to sell for more than N7,000 to N8,000 is faulty.

The National President, Mr Adesegun Banjoko, said this on Tuesday in Lagos.

Recall that the parties, at a meeting on Monday, said that the ideal price of  a 50kg bag of cement for now should be between ₦7,000.00 and ₦8,000.00 depending on location.

They agreed that the current higher prices of cement in parts of the country were abnormal.

The main manufacturers of cement in the country are Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc.

According to Banjoko, there is no reason for the price of cement to be sold even at the projected prices, since limestone, which is a key ingredient, is readily available in Nigeria.

He expressed fears that the high price would lead to corner-cutting and building collapse.

The NABMON president expressed the belief that the government and manufacturers could do better and offer lower prices.

Bags of cements

He suggested a reduction or elimination of customs duties on other imported materials used in cement production, adding that this would incentivise manufacturers to lower their prices.

He, therefore, proposed a target price of ₦3,500 to ₦5,000 per bag.

Banjoko said, “There are three issues that make me disagree with the government and the main manufacturers.

“First, limestone is sourced in Nigeria; agreed they have some few other materials they bring in from abroad.

“But if the government is really concerned about life and property lost to building collapse, they should either remove custom duties on such items or reduce them by half to encourage the manufacturers to come down to between N3, 500 and N5, 000.”

He also advised the government to temporarily halt road construction projects that use cement.

Banjoko said that this would free up available cement for vital projects and potentially reduce demand, leading to lower prices.

The NABMON president warned that the high price of cement had added to the existing tensions in the country.

He urged the government to act cautiously with essential commodities like cement, emphasising its impact on public well-being.

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