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New Finance Bill To Stimulate Start-Ups, Insurers, Markets

Nigeria plans to amend dozens of its existing tax laws in a move that could see a major transformation of tax administration and compliance in the country.

Yet not much is known about the proposed changes in tax policies that would soon become law.

President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2019 Finance Bill alongside Nigeria’s 2020 budget at a joint session of the National Assembly last month. The bill, which has so far scaled through the second reading at the parliament, aims to promote fiscal equity, reform local laws, introduce tax incentives, support small businesses, and raise revenues for the government, according to the president.

A copy of the Finance Bill seen by BusinessDay shows it contains changes to the Companies Income Tax (CIT) Act, Value Added Tax (VAT) Act, Petroleum Profits Tax Act (PPTA), Personal Income Tax Act, Capital Gains Tax Act (CGTA), Customs and Excise Tariff Etc. (Consolidation) Act, and Stamp Duties Act.

Companies Income Tax (CIT) Act
In the amended Act, Section 9 of the Companies Income Tax (CIT) focuses on charge of tax which was amended to ensure that companies are not taxed twice on the same income stream. The section introduces a specialised framework for securities lending transactions and stimulates activity in the nation’s capital market.

The Federal Government earned N358 billion in CIT in the third quarter of 2019, the highest this year and more than twice the average of N169.5 billion per quarter in the first half of the year, according to a recent report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Meanwhile, in a bid to synchronise taxpayers’ banking and tax databases to improve tax compliance and ease of tax administration, the bill requires all companies to provide their Tax Identification Number (TIN) as a precondition for opening a bank account or in the case of an account already opened before the 30th September 2019, such TIN shall be provided by all companies as a precondition for continued operations of their bank accounts.

This means henceforth request for Tax Identification Number becomes a prerequisite for opening bank accounts for individuals, while existing account holders must provide their TIN to continue operating their accounts.

Section 13 of the CIT focuses on e-commerce platforms and digital economy.

The amended Act expanded the basis for taxing non-resident companies with a significant presence in Nigeria by including digital, electronic services, online adverts & payments and services rendered outside Nigeria to a Nigerian beneficiary – if such trade or business comprises technical, management, consultancy or professional services outside Nigeria to a person resident in Nigeria.

This means foreign e-commerce platforms carrying out business transactions to Nigerians would also be taxed to ensure the country earns a fair amount of revenue from such activities.

To ensure that insurance companies are taxed in a fair and equitable manner relative to other companies operating in other sectors of the economy, section 16 of the CIT removes double tax provision and recognises regulatory cost that will be incurred by such companies in compliance with the conditions imposed by the insurance regulator. This includes, among others, provision for outstanding claims.

It also includes the restriction of deductible claims and outgoings to percentage of total premium, restriction of period to carry forward tax losses to four years, special punitive deemed profit basis for minimum tax computation, restriction of deductible unexpired risk and introduction of time-apportionment basis.

This means insurance companies can now carry forward tax losses indefinitely, deduct reserve for unexpired risks on time apportionment bases while special minimum tax for insurance has been abolished.

Also, to address the excess dividend tax rules which currently result in excess double taxation for corporates, Section 19 of the Act exempted tax on dividends paid out of retained earnings that have suffered tax under CITA, PPTA and CGTA.

This would help eliminate double taxation risks by exempting dividends paid out on retained earnings that have suffered tax under CITA, PPTA and CGTA, profits or income of a company regarded as franked investment, distributions made by a real estate investment company to its shareholders from rental income, and dividend income received on behalf of shareholders.

To further boost investment and remove cases of double taxation, Section 29 addresses loopholes that currently exist under the commencement and cessation period – the beginning and the ending of the reporting period.
The amended Act deletes the old basis for computing basis periods for new businesses and ceasing periods. It further introduces a simplified “actual year basis” for computing basis period during commencement and cessation periods.

According to the Act, where a company permanently ceases to carry on a trade or business in an accounting period, its assessable profit shall be the amount of the profits from the beginning of the accounting period to the date of cessation and the tax shall be payable within six months from the date of cessation.

Section 33 of the Act focuses on payment of minimum tax which would help promote fiscal equity.

Small businesses earning lower than N25 million turnover in any tax year will also benefit from the amendment as any business in that category will be exempted from Company Income Tax which is 30 percent of the profit earned by registered companies in Nigeria.

Similarly, medium-size companies will also have their bites of the government’s tax largesse aimed at helping businesses grow. Companies in this category with revenue running between N25 million and N100 million in any tax year will be required to pay a company income tax rate of 20 percent.

This means non-resident companies will now pay minimum tax.

To create incentives for early payment of tax under the self-assessment framework, Section 77 of the Act proposes a 2 percent and 1 percent bonus for a medium-sized and a large firm, respectively, where CIT liability is paid before 90 days to the due date of filing/payment.

The third schedule of the CIT Act addresses interest on foreign loans with restriction on tax exemption on foreign loans.

The seventh schedule introduces a thin capitalisation rule of 30 percent of EBITDA for interest deductibility. Any excess deductions can be carried forward for five years.

Value Added Tax (VAT) Act
A 50 percent upward review was proposed for the nation’s VAT rate to 7.5 percent from the current 5 percent, while the government introduced an exemption from VAT registration and filing obligations for companies with an annual turnover of N25 million or less.

The definition of goods was expanded to cover intangible products, property and assets but excluding land, among others. A definition for services was also introduced.

Furthermore, the VAT exemption list was expanded to include some other basic food items – defined as agro and aqua based staple food – such as additives, bread, cereals, cooking oils, culinary herbs, fish of all kinds (other than ornamented), flour and starch, fruits, live or raw meat and poultry, milk, nuts, pulses, roots, salt, vegetables, and water.

Other items introduced to the VAT list are locally manufactured sanitary towels, tuition (primary, secondary and tertiary education), and services rendered by microfinance banks.

The increase in VAT rate, which was to enable the government to generate additional revenues to fund its budget, would translate to increase in the prices of vatable goods.

While this could impact negatively on sales and cost of production of companies, the exemption of the companies with an annual turnover of N25 million or less would mitigate the effect of VAT policy review on the masses and motivate Small and Medium scale Enterprises to grow, thereby contributing to the aggregate economic activities of the nation.

Similarly, the introduction of threshold would also align local VAT laws with international best practice and protect the most vulnerable to the exposure to VAT.

Furthermore, the controversy over the definition of “basic food items” which has led to some court cases with the FIRS would be settled. The inclusion of fresh items to the exemption list would mean low-income Nigerians can purchase more items without paying VAT.

Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT)

Section 60 of the Act makes provision for the deletion of exemption for dividend paid out of petroleum profits. This means dividend from petroleum would be subjected to withholding tax.

Personal Income Tax

Personal relief and relief for children and dependent relatives will be deleted from the Personal Income Tax. Currently, individuals in Nigeria enjoy personal tax relief of N2,500 for each child up to a maximum of four children (at most 16 years), and a sum of N2,000 for each dependent relative up to a maximum of two who are widowed or infirmed or incapacitated by old age.

But with the planned amendment, the N2,500 and N2,000 tax reliefs for each child and dependent adult would cease to exist.

Also, the government seeks to ensure every bank user has tax identification number to further enhance tax collection. The bill requires both intending and existing bank users to provide Tax Identification Number for banking transactions, creating a room for tax authorities to track tax evaders and improve tax receipts.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Act

Section 50 of the CGT Act gives clarity on the circumstances under which CGT will apply to transfer of assets during business reorganisation. Also, Section 52 of the Act stipulates compensation for loss of employment below N10m to be exempted from CGT.

Customs and Excise Tariff

On customs and excise tariff, an amendment is sought for the fifth Schedule to the Customs and Excise Tariff Etc. (Consolidation) Act to include “goods imported” into Nigeria in order to incentivise local production. As a result of this, imported goods will be liable to excise duties, thereby getting rid of undue advantage the items have over locally made products.

This could discourage importation of some goods into the country, a move that could reduce the pressure in the country’s foreign exchange market.

Stamp Duties

The government clarified on the mode of stamping instruments. It noted that an impressed pattern, marked by means of an engraved, inked block dye as an adhesive stamp, an electronic stamp, or an electronic acknowledgment for denoting the duty would be regarded as a stamp. This is expected to formalise the way banks charge stamp duty and bolster government revenue.

Furthermore, the government introduced electronic payment option for stamp duty and also increased the stamp duty threshold to N10,000. This implies a one-off levy of N50 will apply to bank transfers on an amount from N10,000 and above.

A bank customer will not be charged stamp duty for transferring funds between his or her accounts in the same bank, while exemption shall be granted for share transfers and payments made in a Regulated Securities Lending transaction.

Source:  Businessdayng

Dubai Named As The Second Best City In The World To Drive In

Dubai is also in the top four of least amount of road rage incidents, according to study

Dubai was recognised as having one of the least expensive petrol prices ($0.59) and also the lowest average car age at 5.2 years.

Dubai has been revealed as the second best city to drive in, according to a study from European car parts retailer Mister Auto.

Only Calgary, in Canada, ranked higher than the emirate, while it was deemed safer than places such as Ottowa, Bern, El Paso and Vancouver. Gothenburg, Dusseldorf, Basel and Dortmund made up the rest of the top ten.

Dubai is the only city from the entire Middle East region to feature in the top 100 cities worldwide. According to the report, Mumbai is the worst city for drivers.

While Dubai registers at number four in the top ten cities with the least incidents of road rage, behind Singapore, Tokyo and Osaka.

The cities with the most incidents of road rage are Ulaanbaatar, followed by Moscow and Karachi.

Dubai was recognised as having one of the least expensive petrol prices ($0.59) and also the lowest average car age at 5.2 years.

Source: arabianbusiness

REDAN President, Chime Tasks Members to Support Govt. in Fighting Real Estate Crimes

The President of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) Ugochukwu Chime has charged its members to cooperate with the government in curbing issues around money laundering and terrorism financing that are executed through the real estate sector.

He made this known to Africa Housing News on Thursday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the training on emerging trends in real estate development in Nigeria organised by the real estate developers association of Nigeria (REDAN).

Chime said that the rating of the real estate sector as a medium high risk area for money laundering and terrorism financing is very dangerous and worrisome. He therefore called on the urgent support and collaboration of all well-meaning Nigerians in curbing the menace.

‘’We must support government in fighting criminality and our members must comply with extant laws. That is why our Code of Conduct is tailored towards ensuring compliance with AMICFT rules.

‘’As Developers, we should be concerned about two things: risk and returns. This training, is to give us insight into the realms of how best to do our business with less stress, risk and to impact positively to the development of the economy. This training event is part of the process of dimensioning and de-risking the real estate value chain and operating environment,’’ he said.

REDAN according to the report of Nigeria National Risk Assessment on Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing 2016, is recognized and referred to as the self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) of the Real Estate Developers in Nigeria. It was further stated that the Real Estate sector in Nigeria is a DNFBPs and regulated by SCUML under the ML. (P) Act 2011 (as amended).

Chime said that the 5th leadership of the body of which he is president believes so much in collaborative efforts and consistent development of the minds and institution for increased productivity.

He expressed his excitement about the formation of the Nigerian Real Estate Data Collation and management Programme (NR-CMP), which initially started as a discussion between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Real Estate Developers association of Nigeria (REDAN towards the collation of Property Price Index.

‘’The understanding of the need for collaboration led to the meeting of fourteen (4) organizations coming together and working lo collate real estate data across the spectrum of the country. These institutions are: Central bank of Nigeria, Federal ministry of Power, works and Housing (FMPWH), Federal mortgage bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria (MBAN), Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Federal Ministry of Health, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Population Commission (NPopC), Building Materials Producers Association of Nigeria (BUMPAN). Value Chain Project Consultants Limited, Pison Housing Company, The World Bank / Growth & Empowerment Project (GEM), Gesellschaftfür lnternationale Zusammenarbeit (GlZ),’’ he said.

The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), serves as the secretariat for the umbrella body – NRE-DCMP.

The aim of the NRE-DCMP involves collation of data in respect of business survey, housing condition survey and general mining of relevant data.

Speaking on what REDAN is doing in the real estate industry, The President said REDAN is involved in capacity building of all practitioners in the sector, ranging from those in the soft (finance process) and hard (construction) business of the housing value chain.

‘’The artisans and other direct home construction personnel need be trained and retrained to increase their competencies in constructing durable homes. This is being done in collaboration with the Construction Skills Training & Empowerment Programme (C-STEmp), the Centre for Housing Studies of the University of Lagos and other institutions to train our Members.

‘’We are engaged with Hydraform to synergise, develop and deploy a strategy for the building of housing units in each of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria. This will help stem the current high rural to urban migration.

‘’REDAN is working with Shelter Afrique. We are also working with Family Homes Funds to develop a financial training hub in the oncoming REDAN house for sustainable development of the skillset of the stakeholders in the sector,’’ he said.

Tangential to the above and to consolidate on the drive to ensure credibility and integrity of housing development in Nigeria, REDAN, according to him, initiated Endorsement program targeted at enhancing the quality of estate products and its processes in Nigeria; also aimed at building public trust on products of its members.

The public, he said, will be guided on the products and estates that have met REDAN requirements In terms of processes, standards and other characteristics, and at the same time create a mutual beneficial scheme for the Association, its members and off-takers.

This process, he said, will instil more confidence in the buyers of such products, guarantee value to purchasers, encourage stakeholders involved in the value chain to ensure and upscale standards, and give credence to the public to patronize such endorsed products.

He advised members who want their products endorsed to formally apply to REDAN, and this applies to both building materials and estates.

He said that the Association and its Members must work with Ministries, Departments and Agencies of governments (at the Federal, State and the third tier-the LGAs) to ensure that housing development has a contiguous development and impact positively on the citizenry or Nigeria.

‘’A part of the strategy to actualize this mandate, we are working on a proposal for our members to use basic Hydraform Technology to build at least 10-50 housing units in all of the 774 local governments of the Federation. This will entail the cooperation of the States and Local Governments to provide lands in well located areas to our members to ameliorate housing deficit in the country.

‘’If we achieve this, and the State Governments also partner with REDAN, we shall have a systematic housing development that will be in tandem with our desire to increasing our potentials in real estate sector for job creation for our youths, enhanced socioeconomic growth, increased GDP/1GR, improved security amongst others, inclusive economic growth, Fulcrum to reversing economic downturn in most climes, to be an engine of growth that propels development in other sectors of the economy.

‘’For effective housing development across the nation, there is the pertinent need for interface between governments who design policies for the economy blend their thoughts with those of us – the real estate practitioners.

‘’I strongly believe that collectively we can change the narrative in the housing and real estate ecosystem in Nigeria.’’

Ogun Signs MoU With Britain on Urban Renewal

Ogun State government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British High Commission towards bringing urban renewal and public transportation up to speed with global best practices.

The governor, Dapo Abiodun, has also commiserated with the victims of the fire incident in Sango Ota on Thursday night.

Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, who signed on behalf of the State Government, and Head of Future Cities Programme of the British High Commission, Guy Harrison, agreed that it had become expedient to be futuristic.

The partnership drive between Ogun and Britain is captured under the ‘Future Cities Nigeria’, a United Kingdom-funded urban renewal programme with a timeline of three years.

According to the programme outline, UK will provide support for the Ogun transport sector. The British government will also fast-track housing and urban developments in Ogun, which is facing the challenge of absorbing spill-over of the population explosion in Lagos.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony at the Governors’ Office in Abeokuta, Mr. Talabi commended the initiative, saying it would complement the various efforts of the state government in its desire to plan for a common prosperous future for the people of the state and for physical infrastructure.

Talabi noted that the present administration was committed to providing the enabling environment for such partnerships to thrive seamlessly.

His words, “We thank the British government and the Future Cities Nigeria for this laudable initiative targeted at planning towards the future in Ogun. This level of support cannot be diminished because the Dapo Abiodun-led administration is determined to change the narrative on how things are done.”

On his part, Harrison said that the team was in the state to support the viable policies of Abiodun, to fully maximise the benefits of urban renewal and transportation available.

He promised that the support of Britain for urban renewal and public transportation in the state would be total.

The primary focus, he noted, would be to develop the capacity of the people and the state at large.

“The British High Commission is extremely delighted with the state government on the various policies on sustainable development, job creation, poverty reduction and many others targeted at giving the people a new lease of livelihood,” he added.

Also, the Team Lead for the Future Cities programme, Simon Gusah, underscored the importance of planning as a prerequisite to nation-building.

However, The Guardian checks yesterday linked the mishap to mechanical deficiency of a truck conveying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

The truck, according to sources, fell around 11.55 pm near the Shoprite mall, and spilled its contents, which spread flames up to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Command office at the old Toll Gate, Ota, destroying
vehicles and other properties.

Aside the two people that were burnt to death, six people were injured, while 17 vehicles, including the truck, were burnt.

Ogun State Sector Commander of the FRSC, Clement Oladele, told The Guardian that two burnt corpses were evacuated to the Ifo General Hospital, while the injured were rescued to Ota General Hospital.

He advised motorists, especially tankers transporting flammable products, to adhere strictly to the 1957 United Nations Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Roads (ADR), which Nigeria recently acceded to.

Housing Development

“This, among others, requires trucks conveying dangerous goods, including petroleum products, to be installed with tanker’s seal valve, which prevents the liquefied contents from spilling its contents in the event of a road traffic crash.

“While the FRSC has commenced investigation of the crash, the contents of the crashed tanker would not have spilled, if the tanker was installed with a seal valve,” he said.

He commiserated with the relations of the victims and urged them to visit the FRSC Command in Ota or the general
hospitals in Ota and Ifo.

Source: guardianntg

Govt Lacks Plan to Provide Housing for Nigerians, Charges NIESV President

The president, Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, NIESV, Rowland Abonta says Nigerians have continued to experience housing deficit because the Government does not have plans to provide housing for majority of its citizens.

Abonta was speaking in Enugu at a one day school based National 50th Anniversary Continuing Professional Development Seminer as part of preparations for the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of the NIESV.


According to him, the issue is even worse as the government of the day does not have the basic data of housing requirements in Nigeria.


He noted that the real estate sector, in its bid to deal with the challenge, have done quite a lot in terms of providing policy statement and advising the government on what to do.


He however regretted that the government has refused to listen to them which is why there continues to be an increase in housing deficit.


He said the government must begin to allow the rightful owners of Real Estate to be the decision makers when it comes to issue of housing as the country will have better housing arrangement when that is done.


”As surveyors, we have the technical knowhow and skill to administer housing in Nigeria. But we go back to history, you would discover that as a body, we have not been given our rightful place in the country” he said.


On other challenges facing the sector, he said there is the issue of the volatility of the Nigerian economy which has made it difficult for long term investment in real estate.


”Real Estate is the bedrock for long term investment the world over but due to instability in our economy, it is difficult for investors to put their money down to wait for a long time before they get their money back” he said.


He further noted that the government, over the years have introduced policies which have adversely affected the activities of the sector.


”Government at all levels have made policies that do not encourage investment in the real estate sector. And because we are the mainstream practitioners in real estate in Nigeria, when such policies come up, they adversely affect the sector”.


He noted that the sector has taken some steps to make sure that the activities of unprofessionals as well as other challenges facing the sector are curtailed.

Source: thisdaylive

Affordable Housing: CBN Addressing High Mortgage Interest Rate, Other Issues

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Director and Director of FMBN, Adedeji Adesemoye has revealed the several interventions by the apex financial institution in increasing home ownership in Nigeria through regulations, funding, mortgages, policy frameworks, partnerships and many more initiatives.

While speaking to Africa Housing News on Thursday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the training on emerging trends in real estate development in Nigeria organised by the real estate developers association of Nigeria (REDAN), Adesemoye said the bank is currently addressing the country’s high level of inflation which has a direct effect on mortgages.

‘’The National Bureau of Statistics has given an inflation figure of about 11.2, and for you to encourage real investment you must be able to have a rate that is above the inflation. That floor rate is already set by monetary policy statutory committee responsible for this.

‘’However, the CBN and the bankers committee are making interventions in this area. They have been able to put money together from the profit of the bank in order to be able to set up what we call mortgage interest drawback. So if you get mortgage loan at 16.5 in the bank today, that loan can actually be drawn back by 40% so that you will be paying 9.9% or below. So it comes back to single digit.

‘’That is to make those who wants to raise money particularly in the area where we have the gap, that is the people who wants to raise just about 5 million and below where we have the deficit, they can raise money today and be able to pay at that single digit than 9%.’’

On the contributions of CBN to ensuring affordable housing in Nigeria, he said that the contribution of the apex bank has been growing over the years.

‘’One of the components of this is the fact that CBN is partnering with key partners in the industry like NMRC for the creation of Nigeria Mortgage Guarantee Company, which is addressing the creditor.

‘’In that particular program, also as part of the advocacy, CBN collaborated with the industry players including NMRC in developing the mortgage model and foreclosure act that focuses on providing enabling legal framework for states to be able to use the opportunity given to them in the constitution as trustees of the lands in the states.

‘’This is also to enable developers to have access to land. That enables mortgages that have been created to be foreclosed if it is not performing. That provides title to people who wants to build their home and use this particular land as a security to get mortgage in the financial institutions.

‘’We want the mortgage model and foreclosure act to go through legislative processes in the states to be passed into law. Today, they are active in states like Lagos, Kaduna, and Ogun, while it is on the way in many other states including Cross-River and Plateau.

‘’We will be working with the Nigeria Governors’ forum to see this is scaled up because for mortgage to thrive we need enabling legal framework that everybody will recognise. It will enable states to have electronic lands registry system and a working mortgage system, so that it will be easy to conduct searches and then when there is need for banks to realise the collateral for non-performing loans, it will be timely.

‘’We need to streamline all these approval processes. And the fee that is being spent needs to be at the rate than you can do business with,’’ he said.

The latest CBN intervention according to him is the mortgage interest drawback scheme which the CBN governor introduced to bring the current double digit interest rate on mortgages to a single digit. This, he said, is in collaboration with the bankers committee.

Fighting Real Estate Crimes: SCUML, EFCC Give Rules to Estate Developers

The Special Control Unit on Money Laundering SCUML, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC have advised all practitioners in the real estate sector to imbibe by its regulations as the bodies work towards curbing money laundry and terrorism financing through the real estate sector.

This was made known by a special representative from SCUML on Thursday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the training on emerging trends in real estate development in Nigeria organised by the real estate developers association of Nigeria (REDAN).

The Representative said the real estate sector is the most vulnerable in the Nigerian economy.

According to the National Bureau of statistics in their GDP report that was released in the second quarter of 2019, the real estate sector is said to be contributing about 6.44% to Nigeria’s GDP.

This according to SCUML is why the sector is very sensitive and must be rid of all illegal and criminal practises.

‘’For us at SCUML, we want to ensure that every operator in this sector is registered with us. It is when you register with us that we can have that effective supervision over you. So for you to also register with REDAN, you must also register with us.

‘’There is very little scrutiny that goes on in the sector and that is why it is adjudged to be most vulnerable to money laundering activities.

‘’There are international measures like financial action task force – the global body that sets standards to combat this issue. Every country is expected to domesticate those standards into their national laws, and so Nigeria has the money laundering prohibition act as well as the terrorism prevention act.’’

SCUML said that their recommendations are that operators must due customer due diligence in their daily operations.

‘’Anybody that wants to buy or sell a property from you must be properly profiled. You must develop a form to extract relevant information from that person like their name, occupation, telephone, address, email and also go a step further to verify these information.’’

SCUML said every country must have the competence to supervise designated non businesses and professions where the real estate fall under. This supervision can be done in partnership with self-regulatory organisations like REDAN.

‘’In SCUML, we ensure that for every sector we encourage them to come together and for these self regulatory bodies so that it becomes easy for us to have that effective supervision, and recently, Nigeria was accessed on measures in place to combat money laundering and terrorism financing by international bodies and REDAN was one of the self regulatory organisations they said they would meet with.’’

Other measures SCUML encouraged practitioners to imbibe in fighting these issues includes transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements.

‘’Any time you are dealing with a client find a way to determine the ultimate beneficial owner of the property in question.

‘’You are also not expected to destroy any records for at least five years.

‘’Everyone must register with SCUML. In the case of a new business, before commencement of business and for existing business within 3 months from the commencement of the money laundering (prohibition) act, 2011 as amended.

‘’Rendition of statutory reports – cash based transaction reports (CBTRs) currency transaction reports (CTRs) and suspicious transaction reports (STRs)

‘’Conduct customer due diligence (CDD) to ascertain client’s identity/beneficial owners in line with FATF recommendations. Keep records; appoint AML/CFT compliance officer; develop and implement written compliance program; report all illegal practices, and there should be higher level of scrutiny called enhanced due diligence when dealing with public officials or their associates.’’

In the event that operators conduct cash transactions of over $1000 or its equivalent, they are under obligation to file that report to SCUML.

Section 10 says if you conduct transaction above N5m for an individual through the bank and N10m for a corporate body through the bank or any financial institution, you are also expected to file that report to SCUML.

Once a real estate company doesn’t comply with SCUML, they immediately escalate to EFFC for investigation and prosecution.

Penalties for non-compliance comes in form of administrative sanctions, fines, imprisonment, withdrawal/revocation of professional license, banning of affected professionals from practicing for a specific period and winding up convicted business.

N20bn Lost Annually to Poor Infrastructure –MAN

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Apapa Branch, has decried the loss of over N20 billion annually as a result of dilapidated infrastructure within Amowu Odofin and kirikiri industrial zones.

Speaking at the 10th business luncheon in Lagos yesterday, the branch Chairman, Frank Ike Onyebu, represented by the vice Chairman, Raphael Damilola, said the activities of trucks and trailers drivers/owners in Apapa axis has crippled economic activities of manufacturers and industrialists.

Onyebu added that, though Nigeria has signed the AFCFTA, it was not yet uhuru for the country because Nigeria still suffers infrastructural and systemic problems that places it in a disadvantage position.

According to him, poor power supply, multiple taxation, security challenges harsh economic weather remains albatross to Nigeria’s economic growth and development.

“A recent research carried out by Center for Trade and Development Initiative, University of Ibadan, stated that; a three -phase liberalization tariff rates from five to zero per cent will likely generate a higher surge of imported manufactured goods to the tune of 159.5 per cent, to 251.4 per cent on the average over the 15- year period.

“Nigeria being one of the least of import penetration from African countries, makes us an export target for many African countries under AFCFTA. Thus; export is expected to surge in all manufacturing sectoral groups, by extension the 77-sub sectors in the third phase of the liberalization.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Bola Balogun, said the state would do anything possible to improve the socio-economic environment through its holistic implementation of T.H.E.M.E.S development which lays emphasis on traffic and transportation, education health,  environment, and technology, to make Lagos a 21st century economy, entertainment and tourism center with security and good governance at heart.

Source: sunnewsonline

How Low Income Earners Can Benefit from Family Homes Funds’ ‘Help to Own’ – Adewole

The Managing Director of Family Homes Funds, Femi Adewole has said that a home ownership scheme developed by the Funds called Help to Own is a great opportunity for many Nigerians, especially those in the low income bracket to own their homes at very affordable rate.

While speaking to Africa Housing News on Thursday in Abuja, Adewole said the objective of Help to Own is basically to contribute to improving the availability of home financing for people on low income.

‘’Help to own scheme of the family homes funds is what we call our fund two. Currently one of the challenges for affordable housing in Nigeria is the fact that the long term financing that is needed for home financing is very few and far between.

‘’The objective of the Help to Own scheme is to provide for people on low income and we define that in our own terms as Nigerians earning less than N100, 000 per month. The fund provides them with a concessionary loan for up to 40% of the cost of the house and on that 40% financial assistance, they have a moratorium for 5 years on interest and principal. That is to say they don’t pay anything on that loan for the first 5 years.

‘’That makes the very early stages of home ownership a lot easier for them. It means that technically the only have to raise financing for 50% of the homes. We think that it will bring a huge number of people into home ownership market, but it is at its early stages and we will keep improving this product. We think that it has significant potential for ensuring that many more Nigerians can afford to live in their own homes,’’ he said.

The Family Homes Funds is a federal government social housing scheme mandated to provide up to 500,000 affordable homes for Nigerians by 2023.

How Land Disputes Stall Property Development

The saying that where there is no love, there is no development is most ripe when we talk about property development especially in Nigeria. Land disputes have cost both government and private investors unquantifiable losses. The losses result from infrastructure denial, destruction and project abandonment. The federal government recently bemoaned the activities of both individuals and communities whose actions have impeded development of infrastructure in their localities. However, the government reacts like that, it has not been able to do what they ought to do to settle communities land disputes. 

Encountering a boundary dispute with an adjacent neighbor is a fairly common issue for landowners. There are many ways a boundary dispute can arise. Sometimes, deed descriptions are inaccurate and have been this way for a long time. Sometimes, though the neighbors all agree that the legal description is correct, one neighbor has been occupying a portion of the land for long enough to claim ownership of it, under a theory of “adverse possession.” Another possible source of dispute is when multiple, unrecorded deeds convey the same property to different people.

Are you encroaching on the neighbors’ land, or are they encroaching on yours? The cause of the dispute, amount of land in question, and available options for resolution vary greatly depending on the facts of the situation. This article will discuss what to do first in the event of a dispute. With a population of over 200 million people and significant reserves of natural resources, Nigeria has the potential to build a prosperous economy and well-functioning cities. However, key weaknesses in the land governance system represent potentially significant constraints on the country’s ability to realize its full economic and social potential.

Although recognition of land rights is high, formal registration of those rights remains extremely low, and the cost of registration is unaffordable for many land users. Nigeria’s vibrant cities lack updated master plans to guide their growth and development, resulting in a proliferation of informal development. The management of public land still suffers from questions of transparency and appropriate compensation for expropriation, and land disputes brought before the court system often take years.

To understanding the boundary issue in when a land is in dispute has more to do with government involvement otherwise, blood will continue to flow like we use to have between communities like Igbakwu and Omor, Aguleri and Umueri, Ife and Modakeke to mention just this few.To settle such cases and have a lasting peace, one whether Government or Committees, one must first, make sure he has a full understanding of the cause and nature of the dispute. If there is court case in respect to dispute and how far the settlements have gone. Was there any verdict in the past, has any committee given any judgement in the past.

What is the relationship or difference between the court judgment and that of the committees. All these will help you to make final judgment linking and aligning with already court and committee judgments. You will need to get a professional analysis of whether you are encroaching on your neighbors’ property or vice versa, and find out how long the encroachment has gone on, how much land is being encroached upon, and whether permission was ever given to encroach.

In the event that such thing is not done, any government development sited in any of the communities in disputes will be sabotaged. This is why government should consider settling such cases to enable development to come and stay. Also government should consider the area and value of land in dispute. This may be small enough that the issue is best resolved by mutual agreement rather than by rushing into court. Litigation costs add up quickly, and can easily exceed the value of the land in question. How you proceed greatly depends on your relationship with the neighbor. Keeping things friendly, or at least civil, is often the best approach.

If your relationship with your neighbor allows, try to speak with him or her about the issue. Perhaps there’s simply a misunderstanding, which can be cleared up between the two of you. Although consulting with your attorney is advisable prior to talking with the neighbor, try to leave the attorney in the background for now – in other words, don’t get the attorney involved in communications with your neighbor, or take any action to file a lawsuit. A personal visit, phone call, letter, or even an email from you will be better received than a letter from your attorney, or actions like filing a complaint or placing stakes or ribbons on the land you claim is yours. That’s especially true if your neighbor doesn’t yet know that you believe there’s a boundary issue. You will figure out shortly after speaking with your neighbor whether attorneys will need to be brought in.

With over 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Nearly half of Nigerians live in cities, and population densities vary widely (from about 41 people/km2 in Adamawa State to more than 2,480 in Lagos State). Nigeria has at least six cities with populations greater than 1 million, making controlled urbanization a significant challenge for the country. Additionally, Nigeria is extremely diverse, with more than 350 ethnic groups. Of these, the largest are the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Ibo, who comprise majorities in the northern, western, and eastern regions respectively.1 The population is almost evenly split between Christians and Muslims, with less than 2 percent adhering to other religions. Nigeria is covered by two major types of vegetation – (i) the forest types found in the south and (ii) the savannah types covering the middle belt and northern part of Nigeria. The total amount of rainfall and the length of the wet season decrease progressively from the south to the northern part of the country. In the north, it has been estimated that that about 351,000 ha of land is lost to desertification each year.2 Thus land management and policies need to reflect the heterogeneity of Nigeria from north to south, not only in terms of population and institutions, but also geography and climate.

Neighbors sometimes get into arguments over property boundaries, which can escalate and cause additional problems. We can’t always prevent these disputes, but the following information will help you resolve issues and avoid problems with your neighbors. Surveys done at the time of any property purchase should reflect the boundary lines. Prior to erecting a fence on a boundary line, an updated survey could be ordered to determine the accurate boundary lines. This may be impossible in some cases, due to the age of the property or the wording of the deed. (Some older deeds can contain legal descriptions such as “52 feet from the bend in the stream” on a piece of land, which now has only a dry riverbed where a stream once existed.) Another alternative in a boundary dispute is for adjacent property owners to agree on a physical object such as a fence which could serve as the boundary line between the two property.

Each owner would then sign a quitclaim deed to the other, granting the neighbor ownership to any land on the other side of the line agreed upon. If the piece of property in dispute has been used by someone other than the owner for a number of years, the doctrine of adverse possession may apply. State laws vary with respect to time requirements. But typically, the possession by the non-owner must be open, notorious, and under a claim of right. In some states, the non-owner must also pay the property taxes on the occupied land. A permissive use of property eliminates the ability to claim adverse possession.

However, whether there is a dispute over a portion or a parcel of land, it is always advisable for two neighbours to have their boundary because that will give credibility to any claim that the institution which government put in there or intends to put in there is put on his/her land. Experts discussing how some ongoing projects are not only stalled but entirely abandoned posit that litigation whether in the law court or within the family circles many a time stops the government from continuing with whatever project it has in mind. Research has also revealed that the completion of all ongoing housing schemes is a major strategy which any state would deploy in meeting its target.

The experts therefore urge investors to complete the projects allocated to them because that is the only way to maximize and in other ways, the urge governments to monitor the contractors or have their contracts revoked. All housing schemes that had been contracted out to private sector partners and joint investors are to be completed within the time frame indicated in the contractual agreements or have them cancelled. This fall within the warnings handed over to private investors and contractors by the Lagos State Commissioner for Housing. Although, investors had been citing encumbrances, disappointments from funding partners and conflicts with various host communities as major difficulties that use to stall timely completion of such projects.

Source: sunnewsonline

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