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Confusion over Whereabouts N20 Trillion Raked in as Stamp Duty

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Uba Sani, chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, has said that the over raked in as stamp duty is not with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as at December 2019.

Confusion over Whereabouts N20 Trillion Raked in as Stamp Duty

Sani, said only about N41 billion had been deposited by banks into the Stamp Duty Collection Account.

“With all things considered, my committee believes that the sum remitted by banks to the Stamp Duty Collection Account with the CBN, from inception in January 2016, would well be around N41 billion as of October 2019,” he said.

The senator explained that his committee was investigating the matter and cautioned against inflammatory and potentially damaging comments on it.

He also said his committee had received petitions on the allegation against the CBN and had, in the past six months, been meticulously investigating the matter.

Sani added that what the committee had uncovered so far was not what some petitioners wanted Nigerians to believe.

He urged members of the public, especially critical stakeholders, not to be in a hurry to conclude that the CBN has actually erred.

The senator, who represents Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, said since he and other members of the committee were sworn in, the issue of alleged non-remittance of Stamp Duty by the CBN had been on the front burner and receiving appropriate attention at the committee level.

He explained that beyond the several depositions by the CBN, the committee had obtained records of other agencies of the Federal Government investigating or familiar with the matter.

Sani said: “It is much more complicated than what most Nigerians know. However, what I can say for now is that from what we have been able to sieve out from documents available to us as well as the depositions we have taken, it is clear that so many forces are confusing Nigerians on this issue.

“With the evidence contained in the plethora of documents the CBN has supplied to my committee, it can easily be deduced that the total Stamp Duty unremitted cannot be over N20 trillion, as being alleged.

“For one, from records available to us, the total deposit in the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in Nigeria as of 2016 was only about N18 trillion. So, how then can Stamp Duties alone be N21 trillion, as being claimed by some petitioners?” Sani queried.

The senator noted that from records available to his committee, Stamp Duty collection started in January 2016 when the CBN issued a circular directing Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to commence imposition of stamp Duty collection and that from the records the CBN and other agencies of the Federal Government have supplied to the Senate Committee, it was glaring that the total number of transactions, including transactions excluded from stamp duty charge, from 2016 to November 2017 is about N518,043,467.

“If you do the simple arithmetic, the stamp duty on these transactions would have amounted to about N25.902 billion. Don’t also forget that Savings Accounts are exempted from payment of stamp duty by law, and they account for about 75 per cent of all bank accounts.

“With all things considered, my committee believes that the sum remitted by banks to the Stamp Duty Collection Account with the CBN from inception in January 2016 would well be around N41 billion as of October 2019. “But like I said, investigations are still ongoing. Rest assured that our conclusive findings would be made available to the public. Nigerians deserve to know the whole truth,” Sani said.


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E-Financial

SEC Insists on Full Disclosures despite Covid-19

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Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC) has reiterated that all public companies must continue to make appropriate disclosures regardless of the movement restrictions in Abuja and Lagos.

SEC Insists on Full Disclosures despite Covid-19

According to the SEC, in light of the global pandemic of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and in furtherance to the Commission’s circular of March 24, the Commission provided additional guidance to the Capital Market.

It said, “All public companies are required to continue to make material disclosures to investors on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on their business operations.”

“They should also continue to disclose the trend and outlook for the company, and updates on implementation of business continuity plans. Public companies are to publish these disclosures on their websites and on other relevant media” it further stated.

SEC further stated that “Public companies who plan to conduct AGMs are required to ensure that the conduct of the meetings comply with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the Investments and Securities Act, the SEC Rules and Regulations, relevant government and health circulars and guidelines issued in this regard.”

SEC said debt issuers are also expected to continue to engage Trustees to ensure that relevant disclosures are provided. Trustees are required to provide updates to the Commission accordingly.

The Commission enjoined all CMOs to continue to monitor the real and potential risks COVID-19 may have on their business operations and the discharge of services to investors and clients, stating that for further guidance, the Commission may be contacted through the dedicated email addresses for filing CMOs returns.


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AfDB Celebrates Milestone with First Social Bond Listing on London Stock Exchange

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The African Development Bank’s “Fight Covid-19” social bond, the largest social bond to date to be issued in the capital markets, listed on London Stock Exchange on Friday 3 April 2020, and is now available through its Sustainable Bond Market.

The listing marks an important milestone as the Bank launches its first bond on London Stock Exchange.

The over-subscribed transaction, which attracted $4.6 billion of interest in the book and raised an exceptional $3 billion, was launched to alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on Africa’s economies and livelihoods.

The three-year maturity bond garnered interest from central banks and official institutions, bank treasuries and asset managers including Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) investors.

Several high-quality ESG investors actively supported this remarkable transaction, including Affirmative Investment Management (UK), Breckinridge, Columbia Threadneedle (USA), the Government Pension Investment Fund, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Pension Boards – United Church of Christ, PineBridge Investments, Praxis Impact Bond Fund, TIAA/Nuveen and the United Nations Development Program.

“The international community must work together to successfully tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The UK, along with partners like the African Development Bank and London Stock Exchange Group, is supporting the most vulnerable countries to invest in their own health systems and avoid economic hardship,” International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said about the listing.

“While we invest in areas like vaccine research to help end the pandemic sooner, this private investment through the AfDB, and our support for emergency lending through the IMF, will also help limit its impact on the global economy,” Trevelyan further noted.

The London Stock Exchange, at the heart of London’s vibrant financial hub, is championing forward-looking initiatives aimed at deepening and diversifying the market. Its dedicated Sustainable Bond Market (SBM) draws innovative issuers and improves access, flexibility and transparency for investors.

Eligible social or sustainability bonds with use of proceeds aligned to mitigating the impact of Covid-19 will be admitted on the exchange with admission fees waived for an initial period of three-months, London Stock Exchange has announced.

Such social and sustainability bonds fund essential services such as healthcare, water and sanitation, supporting employment, or with a link to the relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Nikhil Rathi, CEO, London Stock Exchange plc and Group Director of International Development, said: “We welcome the first bond from African Development Bank to list on our market and support them in their vital efforts to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 across Africa. This bond highlights the important role that social and sustainability bonds can play in directing funding to those countries, sectors and people across the world heavily impacted by this pandemic.”

The Bank established its Social Bond framework in 2017 and raised the equivalent of $5 billion through issuances denominated in US dollars, Euro and Norwegian krone.

The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, said: “We are proud to announce that our first listing on London Stock Exchange is a social bond. This is only the beginning of a stronger partnership between the African Development Bank and London Stock Exchange. We will mobilize all we can on the capital market to fight the coronavirus in Africa.”

The Bank’s previous activity in the social bond market has seen financing to build hospital capacity, boost access to health and healthcare services, strengthen health systems, provide improved access to water and sanitation, and create jobs across the continent.

Commenting on the listing, Martin Scheck, CEO of The International Capital Market Association or ICMA, said: “We believe Social and Sustainability Bonds can provide an immediately actionable channel for the market to finance projects that directly contribute to alleviating the social and economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.”

Swazi Tshabalala, Acting Senior Vice President, African Development Bank Group, said: “The African Development Bank is at the forefront of helping African countries fight this pandemic with innovative financing solutions. We welcome this partnership with London Stock Exchange which will help us expand the horizon of investors that are interested and committed to Africa’s sustainable development.”

Hassatou N’Sele, Treasurer, African Development Bank Group, said: “We appreciate the partnership with London Stock Exchange as we strive together to move the African continent forward. Today more than ever, Africa and the world need to stand as one to ride out the Covid-19 crisis.”


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NAICOM Urges Insurance Firms to Maintain Sanctity of Policy Contracts During Restrictions

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The National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, has directed insurance firms in the country to maintain sanctity of insurance contracts entered into with clients.

In a circular titled RE:  EFFECT OF COVID-19 ON INSURANCE OPERATIONS:  referenced NAICOM/DPR/CIR/27/2020 and  NAICOM/DPR/CIR/28/2020  dated  24  and  27 March 2020 respectively, the regulator granted firms some measure of leeway as part of business continuity measures and to, as much as possible, ensure availability of insurance services and protections of insurance policy holders during the COVID-19 movement restriction.

The NAICOM in the circular granted that Where Approval-In-Principle for the preceding insurance period had been granted, all renewals or extensions of the foreign reinsurance proportions that become due during COVID-19 movement restriction are permitted for renewal on existing basis.

It also said that where  Approval-In-Principle  for  the  foreign  proportion  of  a  new  insurance placement is required during the COVID-19 movement restriction, it shall be treated on the basis of “Use and File” subject to prior exhaustion of in-country capacity, adding that for the avoidance of doubt, after utilizing available local capacity, the lead insurer is permitted  to  reinsure  the  excess  of  the  risk  offshore  and  submit  relevant documentations to the Commission thereafter.

Also granted is that all Post Placement Reports, Reinsurance Treaties and other related special risk foreign reinsurance documentations due for submission during the pendency of theCOVID-19 restrictions are to be submitted when movement restrictions are lifted.

The regulator in the document signed by Pius T. Agboola, Director, Policy and Regulation, also noted that all insurance/reinsurance placements shall be done in accordance with other relevant extant insurance laws, regulations and guidelines while all submissions to the Commission including hard-copies sequel to the above forbearance shall be donenot later seven (7) days from the end of COVID-19 Movement Restrictions.

It advised firms to be diligent, circumspect and supportive of Government in its efforts to tame the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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