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We are determined to build robust tax system – Adeosun

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Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said Federal Government was committed to implementing any policy that would boost the country’s tax system and ensure ease of doing business.

Adeosun said this on Friday in Abuja while receiving a Progress Report by the National Tax Policy Implementation Committee on tax law reforms.

She said that the government was laying emphasis on tax because it was the only reliable source of revenue to achieve its developmental goals.

“I want to underscore that this government led by Muhammadu Buhari, came in at a time when oil price was as low as 28 dollars per barrel.

“This led us in search of a revenue base that is sustainable, predictable and can deliver development and succour to the masses.

“One of the functions of the tax system, which many people overlook, is that it is the most reliable tool for government to use to redistribute wealth from rich to poor.

“Many of the programmes we are undertaking will do exactly that, whether it is fixing our roads, or our social interventions like N5, 000 Conditional Cash Transfer to the poorest.

“There is also the N30, 000 to some of our unemployed graduates or the school feeding programme.

“These are all methods of redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor and that is one of the functions of a good tax system,” she said.

Adeosun reiterated government’s willingness to take the recommendations of the National Tax Policy Implementation Committee, which she explained, would not only boost revenue but also improve ease of tax payment.

She said that the recommendations would be submitted to the Economic Management Team, National Economic Council, Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly for ratification.

Earlier, Mr Taiwo Ayedele, Vice President of the National Tax Policy Implementation Committee, had said that the committee identified the tax laws that were obsolete and making the country’s tax system inefficient.

He said that the committee recommended that Company Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Customs Excise and Tariff, Personal Income Tax, Pension Contribution, Industrial Development Income Tax Relief and Tertiary Education Trust Fund be reviewed.

“The proposed changes to the tax laws are expected to increase government revenue, simplify paying taxes and doing business and promote Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

“It will also remove obsolete, ambiguous and contradictory provisions in the law and protect most vulnerable persons in the society,” Ayodele said.

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How GIS Aided EEDC in Mapping Electricity Network in S/East

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The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) says it has recently mapped the entire electricity network in South-East using Geographic Information System (GIS) to improve its operations.

The Manager of GIS in EEDC, Mr Uche Anyalewechi, said this on Saturday while speaking on activities by the EEDC to commemorate this year’s edition of GIS Day.

The GIS Day, observed every Nov. 14, is an annual event to celebrate the technology of Geographic Information System and its enormous benefits to modern development and science.

The theme for this year’s GIS Day at EEDC is: “Driving Efficiency in Power Distribution through GIS.”

Anyalewechi, therefore, explained how the company was taking advantage of the GIS technology to improve the reach of network within its service areas.

He said that “with the aid of GIS technology, we have efficiently mapped our entire electrical network system, updated our customer database and captured all electrical assets within our network with each part of the infrastructure registered on the map.

“The project is expected to improve decision making in the organisation’s operations.”

The manager recalled that EEDC commenced the GIS project early last year and the effort had attracted commendation from National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), noting that the commission described it as “benchmark which other Discos will be required to emulate.”

He explained that “the GIS project, which is of immense benefit to both EEDC and its customers, also aimed at facilitating comprehensive metering of electricity customers and for easy identification of electrical assets and their state.

“The project will also help in identification of existing customers and make adequate planning for potential customers and network expansion.

“Others benefits include: improved power supply and quick response to faults; effective power distribution and monitoring through remote sensing; prompt identification of damaged and non-functional equipment for replacement, as well as improved customer service delivery.”

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AFDB Approves $40m Infrastructure Fund

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved its third equity investment of $40 million in Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund (AIIF3).

AIIF3 is a closed-ended pan-African infrastructure fund managed by South Africa-based Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM).

AIIM is one of Africa’s most experienced infrastructure fund managers.

The Fund will focus on acquiring positions of significant influence on roads, airports, rail links, bridges, ports, logistics, power generation, utility distribution, as well as telecommunication assets.

AIIF3 boasts an extensive pipeline of bankable or near-bankable infrastructure projects.

Having reviewed hundreds of potential investments, AIIM has narrowed down a pipeline of circa $ 500 million, including key projects such as Bugesera Airport, Libreville Bypass, and Kampala-Jinja Expressway.

The proposal represents the Bank’s third investment with this fund manager, following a 1996 investment in SAIF and a 2010 investment in AIIF2.

With this, the African Development Bank stands to have a positive additional role through this investment, given that the fundraising market continues to be very challenging, leaving an important role to be played by DFIs.

Commercial and institutional investors are likely to view the Bank’s investment as a positive demonstration effect.

The Bank’s investment will also ensure the highest environmental and social standards are applied to AIIF3.

In terms of development outcomes, AIIF3 will create a quantifiable and measurable social and environmental impact by supporting energy and transport infrastructure access across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Fund will support the creation of over 1,500 jobs at the project level and enhance capacity building and skills transfer.

In his presentation to the Board, the Bank Group’s Director of Infrastructure and Urban Development, Amadou Oumarou, said that private equity in Africa remains a nascent sector.

“The recent downturn in global commodity prices and a reorientation away from private equity in Africa by a few DFIs have lowered fundraising expectations across the board.

“This is negatively affecting the availability of equity capital for Africa’s infrastructure space. In this sense, the Bank would play a counter-cyclical role through this investment,” he said.

AIIF is Africa-based and features five regional offices in South Africa, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, and Kenya. This translates to on-the-ground knowledge and strong relationships to source infrastructure investment opportunities.

This Equity Investment is fully aligned with the Bank’s operational priorities and the High 5s, particularly ‘Industrialize Africa,’ ‘Light up and Power Africa,’ and ‘Integrate Africa’. It will sustain the development of Africa’s infrastructure market.

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Brent Crude Slips To $65

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It is certainly not cheering news for oil exporters such as Nigeria as Brent crude oil prices extended a steep slide on Wednesday on the back of worries about weakening world demand and oversupply.

Brent crude, the type that Nigeria majorly exports was down 0.35 percent at $65.24 per barrel.

Brent crude price had tanked 6.8 percent on Tuesday and set an eight-month trough of $64.61.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dived 7 percent the previous day, suffering their biggest one-day loss in more than three years. The contracts last stood at $55.30 per barrel CLc1 for a loss of 0.7 percent, following a descent to a one-year low of $54.75 overnight.

Brent had soared to a four-year high of $86.74 early in October as the market braced for U.S. sanctions on Iran, but prices have sunk roughly 25 percent since then.

Concerns about global growth pushed MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.5 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng .HSI dropped 0.55 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC retreated 0.9 percent.

Australian stocks fell 1.75 percent, South Korea’s KOSPI lost 0.3 percent and Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.16 percent.

Spreadbetters expected European stocks to open lower, with Britain’s FTSE losing 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX slipping 0.3 percent and France’s CAC shedding 0.5 percent.

The Dow and S&P 500 ended slightly lower on Tuesday as lower oil prices took a toll on energy shares, offsetting a small gain in technology stocks and renewed hopes for progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

“While the plunge in WTI will no doubt act as a relief for emerging markets and the global consumer, U.S. real rates continue to climb, underwriting the dollar’s strength,” wrote Sean Darby, chief global equity strategist at Jefferies.

“The competition for capital is coinciding with a sharp slowdown in China and emerging markets, putting pressure on 2019 earnings.”

Riskier assets have come under strong selling pressure over the past two months as worries about a peak in earnings growth added to international trade tensions and signs of slowing in global investment and growth.

The oil plunge underlined cracks in the global economy. In Japan, data confirmed the world’s third-largest economy contracted in the third quarter, adding to growing signs of weakness globally, with China and Europe losing momentum. Germany is expected to report later in the day that its economy also shrank last quarter.

“The markets would have reacted more positively to U.S.-China trade and Brexit-related headlines a few months ago,” said Makoto Noji, chief currency and foreign bond strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo.

“But currently there is more focus on the possibility of both the U.S. and Chinese leaders maintaining their tough stance, with a compromise eluding them, and Brexit bogging down. Market sentiment is clearly cooling down.”

The United Kingdom and European Union agreed on the text for a Brexit divorce deal on Tuesday. Prime Minister Theresa May will present the draft withdrawal agreement to her senior ministers on Wednesday for discussion and then decide on the next steps.

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