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Focus on Aluminium Extrusion Industries Plc and its Declining 2019 Performance

For Aluminium Extrusion Industries Plc, which happens to be the only aluminium manufacturer currently listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, 2019 has not been such a good year. Although the company has not exactly recorded a loss thus far, its profits declined drastically, according to latest earnings report seen by Nairametrics. Based on this underperformance, it is not surprising that a lot of investors chose to ignore the stock.

On this week’s Nairametrics Company Profile, we take a closer look at Aluminium Extrusion Industries Plc. As always, we shall be focusing on the company’s business model, its target audience, and prospects. We shall also be examining some of the possible challenges (such as competition) which might be impacting negatively on the company’s growth.

About Aluminium Extrusion Industries Plc

Incorporated on October 26th, 1982, the company specialises in the manufacturing and sales of extruded aluminium profiles. The company is located in the eastern Nigerian city of Owerri in Imo State. It is a subsidiary of Tower Aluminium Plc which, interestingly, is the largest aluminium manufacturing group in the country. In specific terms, Tower Aluminium owns 67.76% stake in the company.

 

Aluminium Extrusion Industries Plc was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on October 26, 1982. Information made available to the public indicates that the company’s share outstanding is 219,956,000. This, multiplied by the company’s share price of N8.10 gives a market capitalisation of N1.7 billion. Note that the share price has remained mostly unchanged throughout 2019.

The company’s products

At the core of the company’s business operation in Nigeria is the production of extruded aluminium materials and roofing sheets, all of which are essential in the construction industry. The company says that it sources for raw materials mainly from scrap aluminium which are purchased from scavengers, then recycled/processed. This, therefore, shows that this company’s business model equally contributes towards saving the planet.

The target market for Aluminium Extrusion Industries Plc

As a major producer of extruded aluminium profiles in Nigeria, the company has a large target market, particularly in the building construction industry. For example, the company targets homeowners and estate developers/construction companies with its aluminium roofing sheets. Its extruded aluminum profiles are also widely used across the country for the construction of doors and windows.

 

The company’s competitors

As you may well know, there is hardly a company that operates without at least one competitor. This is the case with Aluminium Extrusion Industries Plc, whose main competitor is First Aluminium Nigeria Plc. Much like Aluminium Extrusion, First Aluminum (which delisted from the NSE in August), equally manufactures aluminium roofing sheets as well as other products. Other competitors may be considered to include the likes of Tower Building Products, Queens Aluminium Company Ltd, PGN Limited, etc. All of these companies are subsidiaries under Tower Aluminium Plc which equally functions as the parent company of Aluminium Extrusion Industries Plc.

Housing Development

Overview of the company’s board

Aluminium Extrusion Industries Plc has about 70 full-time employees on its payroll. Out of this number, seven individuals make up the board of directors. They include the following:

  • Dr Pascal G. Dozie: Chairman
  • Mr Veeraraghavan Ganesh: Managing Director
  • Vivek Goel: Non-Executive Director
  • Dr. John Nwaiwu: Non-Executive Director
  • Mr. Ramesh Chandra Biswal: Non-Executive Director
  • Barr. Peter Mgbenwelu: Non-Executive Director
  • Dr Jinesh C Dugad: Non-Executive Director

 

The company’s recent financial performance

According to the company’s latest earnings report for the nine months ended September 30th 2019, revenue grew by 3.2% to N2.1 billion, up from N2 billion during the comparable period last year. However, there were increases in cost of sales, administrative expenses, and income tax. Profit for the period was reported at N24.3 million as against N61.5 million during the first nine months of 2018, thereby marking a 60.4% decline.

Source: nairametrics

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

Accra to Have First Sky Train Station in August

The concession agreement for the construction of the Accra Sky Train Project has been signed on the sidelines of the ongoing African Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The signing of the agreement means feasibility studies, spanning a period of nine months to determine the bankability of the project will commence, with the investors assuring that the first station for the Accra Sky Train project will be opened in 9 months.

At the signing ceremony on Monday, November 11, President Akufo-Addo described it as “a happy day for Ghana and her good people”, adding that it is a “critical step towards the consummation of this project”, and a vivid testimony of the value of the African Investment Forum.

The President thanked the SkyTrain Consortium for putting together the wherewithal that is allowing this project to go forward.

The Accra Sky Train, according to him, “is meeting an important infrastructural need, and hopefully the step that is being taken today, that is signing the concession agreement, is bring the project to much nearer conclusion. That is what we are hoping for, so that the people of Ghana benefit from the progress and the relief that a modern system of transport in our capital city is going to bring.”

SkyTrain systems are pre-fabricated using precision moulded, pre-stressed reinforced concrete components that are capable of being installed at a very rapid rate, meaning that there is minimal disruption and congestion in the urban area that is undergoing installation and commissioning.

The proposed SkyTrain initiative in Accra provides for the development of five routes, four of which are comprised of radial routes that originate at the proposed SkyTrain Terminal, at the heart of Accra, at a newly developed Kwame Nkrumah circle, and one (1) route that provides and intra-city commuter loop distribution service, also emanating from Circle.

The Project envisages a total track length across all routes of 194 kilometres.

Source: 3News

95pc of Kenya’s Financial Analysts Fail CFA Examination

Only 5 percent of Kenyan financial analysts seeking accreditation from the global body were awarded charters after most who took its gruelling examinations, considered one of the sector’s hardest, failed.

This is according to the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Society of East Africa that last week awarded 38 Kenyans charters for 2019 out of more than 700 analysts who had enrolled in the programme.

The performance is an improvement from 2016 when only 20 Kenyans received charters out of more than 500 individuals who sat the multi-level exams. That same year, only six analysts in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda got the charters out of 160 who were in the programme.

A chartered financial analyst is a globally-recognised professional designation given by the CFA Institute. It certifies the competence and integrity of financial analysts.

The dismal performance, however, comes as demand for CFA charters in Kenya has grown over the years. This is because the charter is considered an asset for anyone seeking a career and senior roles in investment management.

“Of late, we have seen a rise in demand for the programme by investment managers and financial analysts from investment companies, mutual funds, brokers’ investment banks, research analysts, financial advisers and risk managers,” said Patricia Kiwanuka, CFA East Africa president.

East African’s pass rate is currently at 30 percent, up from 10 percent in 2016. This is slightly lower than the worldwide pass rate of about 40 percent.

Ms Kiwanuka attributes the high failure rate to the programme’s high cost and rigour.

“For one to receive a charter, one needs to commit a minimum investment of about 1,000 hours and more than Sh300,000,” she said.

The CFA exam has three levels. The tough exam asks questions from an array of topics including ethics, financial reporting, portfolio management and economics.

Source: businessdailyafrica

Senate Committee Chairman on Housing to Open REDAN Training Program on Thursday

As part of continuous professional development program, the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), is organizing a training on emerging trends in real estate development in Nigeria.

The training which is a basic and relative training for all stakeholders in housing and real estate will include capacity building, unveiling emerging laws, policies and practice issues in the real estate sector, advocacy programs, and will be declared open by the Senate Committee Chairman on Housing, Senator Sam Egwu in Abuja on Thursday.

According to an official statement from the association, the trainings are scheduled to hold in Abuja at Top Rank hotel Utako on the 14th of November, in Lagos at The Haven AVMC Compound Ikeja on November 20, and Owerri at Graceland Event Arena, Owerri on November 22, 2019 from 9am-5pm.

The program is inspired by the need to have basic and relative training for all stakeholders and practitioners in the housing and real estate value chain; develop capacity to reduce waste, ensure time utilisation and lead to enhanced mass delivery of houses.

Ensuring that developers are aware and capable of handling the multidimensional and multi-disciplinary challenges involved in real estate industry; unveiling to real estate developers emerging laws, policies and practice issues in the real estate sector, in the realm of finance, land administration, technology, money laundering.

To ensure coherent and coordinated advocacy programs with potential for high positive impact on affordable housing delivery with all levels of stakeholders institutions; need for optimal utilisation of resources to ensure cost effective construction; effective and seamless communication of opportunities between stakeholders.

The registration fee is 50, 000 naira covering for 2 participants per organisation, and payable to REDAN AGM ACCOUNT, Zenith Bank – 1012691172.

Participant will be provided with all training materials.

For enquiries please call, 08034562550 or 08037300893 or visit www.redanonline.org.ng.

Jaiz Bank: How Islamic banking differs from the conventional type

Hassan Usman, the chief executive officer of Jaiz Bank, says the basis of the services offered by the bank is based on moral principles derived from all the religions.

Explaining the bank’s services to journalists at a media parley, Usman said the emphasis of their services is the avoidance of interest.

“When you come to the Islamic bank, we take current account just like any conventional bank would take, we also take deposits that are for tenures which do not just demand deposit. To that extent we are similar,” he said.

“We take these deposits, we don’t just keep them, we take these deposits to finance. We try to avoid the word loan, instead, we say we finance business. We use loans technically; it’s not supposed to be a business in Islamic finance. So, we avoid the word loan and rather use the word finance.

 

 

“We don’t give loans in the traditional sense, but we finance projects, we finance needs and services of our customers based on either a sales contract with a customer with a deferred payment, or a lease contract with a customer to be paid or we sometimes do sharing contract which means we give capital to the customer and then we share his profit.

“When you look at the conventional bank, all of the money they generate, they don’t sit on it. The central bank will take the reserve ratio, they’ll keep a little, but most of it will be spent on treasury bills.

“An Islamic bank cannot do this; it has to generate different types of debt instruments, which the central bank ought to have provided through the Debt Management Office when we were starting. We had to keep enough money with us to ensure that we had smooth operations.

“The conventional banks, they are about 20+ so they have counterparts, so you don’t have to always see that you are self-sufficient in liquidity; you can take money from your counterparts, you’ll buy money from them and you pay.

“So that’s what your treasury department would be doing on a daily basis, looking at your needs and making sure that you’re square (foreign exchange needs, withdrawal needs). Imagine that within that period, JAIZ had to be self-sufficient in all of this, that means it is always liquid and always ready to meet it’s customer requirements.”

Speaking further, Usman said Jaiz Bank is now a national bank and has its sights set on deepening its activities in other regions of the country.

He also said that the bank has a charity arm through which N2.3 billion has been spent on various activities.

DBN To Build MSMEs’ Capacity To Access Cheap Loans

The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has announced plans to build capacity of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises  (MSMEs) to enable them acess its cheap loans through the Participating Financial Institutions  (PFIs).
This is part of the bank’s new strategy to boost the growing network of MSMEs which the wholesale bank is financing across the country and also extend its reach to underserved areas.
Already, DBN has in the current year disbursed over 100 Billion Naira to over 95,000 MSMEs cutting across various sectors of the economy. 70% of the loans went to women-owned/managed businesses while 51% so far were disbursed to youth owned businesses.
 Tony Okpanachi, DBN’s Chief Executive Officer says the bank”s new strategy has become important because “a major challenge faced by the MSMEs is their inability to structure and put together a bankable business plan which makes banks view them as high risk and therefore unwilling to finance them.”
To fix the problem and make MSMEs attractive to DBN’s participating financial institutions (PFIs), Okpanachi said that the bank’s “Chief Operating Officer will work with relevant departments within DBN to put together an immediate capacity building plan that will involve assembling a number of MSMEs in Borno State and making them go through an extensive capacity building programme.”

As part of this renewed focus, DBN is taking several measures including the expansion of its capacity building programmes in the North East, South East and North West which have witnessed comparatively lower rates of disbursement.

The objective is to boost the capacity of local entrepreneurs to meet its requirements and qualify for inclusion for DBN support.

At the bank’s first DBN MSME Summit held in Maiduguri, Borno State, Okpanachi said this in line with the bank’s mandate to support the stimulation of diversified and inclusive growth and alleviate specific financing constraints that hamper the growth of domestic production and commerce by providing targeted wholesale funding to fill identified enterprise financing gaps in the MSME segment.

DBN commenced lending operations in November of 2017 with two microfinance banks namely, LAPO and NPF with a pilot loan amount of N200 million to about 300 MSMEs.

In its first full year of operation in 2018, the bank increased disbursements to about N30 Billion and reached 35,000 MSME’s in the country. 

Source: Businessdayng

Ndegwas Create Largest Fund Manager in Stanlib Buyout

The Philip Ndegwa family is on course to run the biggest fund, managing more than Sh278 billion once it completes the buyout of asset manager Stanlib Kenya.

The family’s ICEA Lion Asset Management has signed an agreement to acquire Stanlib Kenya in a deal whose value is estimated at more than Sh1.5 billion.

Rankings of fund managers as of December 2018 indicate that ICEA and Stanlib, combined, will be in contention to replace Sanlam Investments East Africa Limited (SIEAL) as the largest asset manager.

A survey by pension administrator Zamara shows that SIEAL was managing a total of Sh277 billion as of December 2018 when Stanlib was overseeing Sh135.2 billion.

ICEA, according to a separate source, was running a total of Sh143 billion at the same time.

This means that ICEA and Stanlib were managing Sh278.2 billion combined, slightly higher than SIEAL’s Sh277 billion.

For the Ndegwas, the deal serves to build scale in asset management besides offering an opportunity to enter the listed property fund business.

The transaction, expected to be completed early next year, will also see ICEA inherit from Stanlib the role of managing property fund Stanlib Fahari I-Reit, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

“The transaction is meant to enhance capacity in asset management and offer clients new property investment opportunities,” one of the sources involved in the deal said.

ICEA will earn fees of more than Sh80 million per year to manage the property fund. The transaction has sparked speculation that the Ndegwas could sell some of their buildings to the Reit in exchange for shares.

Others are assuming that the family could also buy out the property fund manager, which is trading at less than half of its net asset value per share of Sh20.2.

The Reit’s shares hit highs of Sh9 on Friday after the deal was announced.

Sources privy to the deal told the Business Daily that ICEA currently has no plans to acquire shares in the Reit.

“Buying or selling shares in the Reit is not part of this transaction,” a source said, adding that current owners including Stanlib (with a 10.2 percent stake) could still sell their holdings to any party in the future.

Source: businessdailyafrica

IMF Says Benin’s Economy is Stronger Despite Nigeria’s Border Closure

The Republic of Benin has continued to post a strong economic performance despite the closure of the border the country shares with Nigeria. This is according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Luc Eyraud, who led the IMF team during their visit to Benin was quoted by the Fund in a press release saying, “Real GDP is expected to grow by 6.4% in 2019, mostly driven by the agriculture and transport sectors. Growth should accelerate in 2020 and remain sustained over the medium term, buttressed by vigorous cotton production, construction, and port activities.

“Consumer price inflation, affected by the high agriculture production, has been on a declining trend, falling by 1.4% in the first nine months of 2019, relative to the same period one year earlier.

“It is expected to remain well below the 3.0% regional ceiling in 2019 and 2020. The fiscal deficit for 2019 is estimated at 2.3% of the recently rebased GDP.

“Performance under the IMF-supported program has been very satisfactory so far this year. All end-June 2019 quantitative performance criteria and the end-September structural benchmark program were met.”

This is contrary to the words of the Director, African Department of IMF, Abebe Selassie, who said that the continuous closure of the Nigerian borders was hurting economies of Benin and Niger Republics.

Selassie spoke about the adverse effects the border closure had on the neighbouring countries like Benin republic but did not offer any solution. He urged the countries to come together and discuss in order to resolve the challenges caused by illegal trade and smuggling.

While Selassie understood the impact of the illegal trade, he hoped that there would be an amicable resolution in which both Benin republic and Nigeria (which he referred to as Benin’s big brother) would benefit from.

Source: nairametrics

Soludo Tasks Nigerians in Diaspora on Investment

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and member, of the National Economic Advisory Team (NEAT), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has told Nigerians in the Diaspora that it is in their interest to contribute to the prosperity of their country.

He argued that it is wrong to regard investment in the homeland by Nigerians abroad as an act of charity.

In his keynote address yesterday at the second Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Soludo said racism and xenophobic attacks abroad had made it imperative for Nigerians in the Diaspora to have a prosperous country they could return to when the need arose.

He recalled that the Jews learnt their lesson in a hard way during their persecution which culminated in the Holocaust.

Soludo however urged the government to ensure the security of such investments, noting that the ease of doing business policy should be vigorously pursued.

“Diaspora synergy would be a decisive strategy for sustainable prosperity. In today’s world, a prosperous homeland is not just a choice, it is a duty.

“The diaspora is not just some group of people somewhere we are begging to come to Nigeria and do us a favour. My view is that the diaspora constitutes a strategic part of Nigeria and therefore, the development of Nigeria is not a choice, but a duty. But for this to happen, organisation is key.”

He disclosed that that the diaspora remittance estimated at over $2.6 billion would overtake crude oil earnings in the
future.

Soludo lauded the Chairman of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, saying her efforts were worthy of commendation.

In his speech, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, said the agency would mobilise Nigerians in the Diaspora to champion the recovery and repatriation of stolen assets back to the country.

He advised Nigerians abroad to invest in the country, noting that the anti-graft agency was working to rid the nation of corrupt elements.

Source: thisdaylive

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