FG to remove VAT on residential properties, amends company income tax law

The federal executive council has approved two executive orders and five amendment bills to remove value-added tax on residential properties and amend the company income tax law.

While briefing state house correspondents on Wednesday, Kemi Adeosun, the minister of finance, said the amendments will reduce the tax burden on Nigeria and boost ease of doing business.

NAN reports that the two approved executive orders are: Value Added Tax Act (Modification) Order and Review of Goods Liable to Excise Duties and Applicable Rate Order while the five Amendment Bills include the Companies Income Tax Act (Amendment) Bill and Value Added Tax Act (Amendment) Bill.

Others are Customs, Excise, Tariff ETC (Consolidation) Act (Amendment) Bill; Personal Income Tax Act (Amendment) Bill and Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act (Amendment) Bill.

She said the approval is based on a report by the national tax policy implementation committee on tax laws reform.

Adeosun said the new tax policies would remove obsolete, ambiguous and contradictory provisions in the laws, increase government revenue and simplify the process of paying taxes and doing business.

“Majority of the provisions approved today are actually removing the tax burden and clarifying obsolete and ambiguous areas of tax. So for example for VAT there is to be an exemption for residential property, leases on rental, transport for the general public and life insurance,” she said.

“These are areas that previously were VAT-able and what was approved today was that these areas should be removed, then, they shouldn’t be subject to VAT.

“In the short term, of course, that means a revenue loss for the government. But we think in the long run that is the right thing to do is improving ease of doing business and reducing the tax burden on our people which is really one of the objectives of this government.”

She disclosed that the government was proposing an amendment to the company income tax aimed at reducing the Right of Tax on micro, small and medium enterprises (SME) from 20% to 15%.

Adeosun said the council approved N1.6billion for the procurement of 68 anti-smuggling vehicles for the Nigeria Customs Service.

“The operational vehicles currently available for the NCS is grossly inadequate for effective anti-smuggling activities.

“The need to effectively patrol the borders of the country, enhance Customs’ bid to suppress smuggling and increase revenue collection gave rise to the request to purchase 68 operational vehicles.”

The Cable

NMRC issues N11b Series II Bond

• Records 200% over-subscription

The Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) said it has completed its N11billion 13.80 per cent Series 2 Bond Issuance under its N440 billion Medium Term Note Programme. It said it is part of its primary mandate of providing liquidity to the country’s mortgage market.

The net proceeds of the exercise will be used to refinance eligible mortgage loans originated by the participating mortgage lending banks. This is coming on the heels of its inaugural N8 billion 14.9 per cent Series 1 Bond issue in July 2015 – which was fully deployed towards refinancing legacy mortgage loan portfolios of the participating eligible member-mortgage lending banks.

The Series 2 Bonds are unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and thus ascribed an “AAA” rating by both Global Credit Rating Co. and Agusto & Co. The order book was subscribed by over 200per cent. The bonds were subscribed to by domestic investors with the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) representing over 70 per cent of the investors. The bonds were priced at a spread of c.74 basis points above the interpolated 15-year FGN yield of 13.06 per cent as at the opening of book building.

The Managing Director, NMRC, Mr. Kehinde Ogundimu, said: “The bond issuance reinforces our commitment to encourage and promote homeownership in Nigeria by linking the capital markets with the housing sector and establishing an operating and viable secondary mortgage market to support the primary mortgage market.”

He said NMRC remains committed to transmitting the full benefit of the pricing efficiency achieved in its funding cost to home borrowers through the participating primary mortgage lenders, thereby lowering costs and driving activities that will deepen the mortgage market.

Chairman of Dunn Loren Merrifield Advisory Partners, Mr. Sonnie Ayere, stated that the high subscription level for the Series 2 bonds is indicative of the strong investor appetite for the long-tenured asset class and underscores the confidence reposed in the underlying principle and operating model of NMRC.

The Nation

Stakeholders to FG: Compel CBN, banks to fund NHF

Housing stakeholders have tasked the Federal Government on policy that will compel the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), banks, insurance firms and others to provide funds for the National Housing Fund (NHF) as stipulated by its Act.

This is coming barely a week the House of Representatives Committee on Housing led by its chairman, Mr. Ahmed Baba-Kaita, fingered the failure of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), commercial banks and insurance firms to perform their duties as a major shortcoming to NHF inefficiency.

The committee also investigated the non-compliance with the National Housing Fund (NHF) Act and the inability of government to deliver housing to the citizenry.

Speaking with New Telegraph in Lagos, former President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Chucks Omeife, urged the Federal Government to push policy that will compel CBN, banks and commercial banks to make their contributions to NHF.

He said the case has become complicated when the Federal Government that was expected to show interest in the buoyancy of NHF was found wanting, saying this was the main reason the scheme has not been working.

“Government must push policy that will compel stakeholders to contribute certain percentage of their profits to NHF,” he said.

Also, Principal Partner, Kola Akomolede and Co., Chief Kola Akomolede, tasked government on the need for banks and insurance firms to remit their contributions to the NHF scheme.

Decree 3 of 1992 (now an Act), which established NHF, a pool of long-term funds aimed at overcoming the dearth of long-tenured capital, granted FMBN the responsibility to collect, manage and administer NHF.

The Act identifies cheap, sizable and ‘patient’ resources to fund the scheme. These are contributions of 2.5 per cent of the monthly income of all Nigerian workers earning the sum of N3,000 per annum and above.

According to the Act, 10 per cent of the loan portfolio of commercial banks in Nigeria, should be mandatorily invested in the NHF, while 40 per cent of life funds and 20 per cent of non-life funds of insurance companies registered under the Insurance Act, to be mandatorily invested in real property, with no less than 50 per cent invested directly into NHF.

Also, this includes financial contributions of the Federal Government.To this end, the House of Representatives Committee on Housing recommended that such contributors should be compelled to provide funds for NHF as provided in the Act.

Besides, the committee also canvassed that the Federal Government should recapitalise the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to the tune of N500 billion.

This, the committee said, has become necessary to make the bank more vibrant and responsive to its functions for effective housing delivery in the country.

The recommendation to recapitalise the bank was contained in the report of the House Committee on Housing, which lawmakers considered and approved.

The committee also recommended that FMBN be given necessary government support in areas like guarantee, recapitalisation and allocations to empower the bank for maximum productivity.
These steps, the House Committee said, should be taken to review the provisions of the NHF Act to make it more enforceable.

Opposing the creation of another agency, it said: “Existing Federal Government institutions should be supported rather than creating new ones to avoid duplication of functions.”

Chairman, HOB Estates Limited, Chief Olusegun Bamgbade, said the inability of banks to give long-term loans for real estate was one of the major reasons the economy has not really picked up.

He pointed out that the only organisation mostly responsible for real estate development has been FMBN, lamenting that it was unfortunately that the bank had not been effective in this area, especially on Developers’ National Housing Fund (NHF) settlements.

Bamgbade attributed delay, unnecessary charges and high interests on loans as major obstacles to the bank’s performance.

He said: “FMBN would rather keep you as a perpetual EDL client than taking pragmatic steps towards inter-account settlements, thereby charging unnecessary and obnoxious interests on an account that ought to have been cleared many years back.

“FMBN is always in the habit of scheming and blaming the developer for its ineptitudes.”

To really grow real estate development in Nigeria in practical terms, Bamgbade said the mind-set of frustrating genuine real estate developers must be addressed by FMBN.

Until this happens, “there can’t be any serious growth in real estate sector,” he said.

Dayo Ayeyemi

Proposed Estate: Army, residents reach truce

The controversy over access to the proposed Apple Island Estate being promoted by Nigerian Army Properties Limited, NAPL, and residents of Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, was laid to rest, weekend, as the Army promised to look for an alternative road to the 43-hectare project site.

Recall that residents of Banana Island had resisted the promoters of the project to access their site through the recreation area insisting it is not an access road. The project is to be developed adjacent to Banana Island on a reclaimed land from the Lagos Lagoon.

At a peace parley, chairman of Banana Island Residents Association, Mr. Chudi Ubosi, said accessibility to the site, if allowed as being contemplated by the promoters, would affect the exclusive nature of the residential estate and its privacy.

Ubosi said: “Nobody can come here to do a development of this magnitude without letting us know. We are not saying you should not do your development but access to that development is going to be a problem. “Besides, this road is already servicing two estates within. So, allowing another estate use the road will augur well for residents of this estate.”

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, who was on an inspection tour of the project, said: “We will look for an alternative road to the site. We are going to ensure the actualization of the project in such a way that it will not affect the interest of the neighbouring Island.”

Kingsley Adegboye & Gabriel Olawale

Economy: NBS warns of higher unemployment rate with sudden shock

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has warned that Nigeria will record higher unemployment if the economy witnesses any sudden shock.

The Demographic Statistics Bulletin 2017 released yesterday by the NBS showed that majority of the Nigerian population laid between ages 0 to 14, depicting a young population, high fertility rate and dependency.

“It also implies a large population of adolescents entering the labour force in the near future. A sudden economic shock can lead to higher unemployment unless new job opportunities are urgently created,” the NBS stated in the report.

The NBS called for accelerated demographic dividend which can lead to accelerated economic growth, but for that to happen, the population age structure must change with investment in health, education, economic policy and good governance.

“Harnessing demographic dividend will lead to decline in mortality rate, desire for smaller family size and increased investment in family planning which will enable a decline in fertility among women of child-bearing age,” the report stated.

It also makes a case for “substantial investment” in reproductive health and family planning for fertility levels to begin to decline more significantly.

With improved investment in child survival and better implementation of universal health coverage, the proportion of the population at working ages will increase relative to the dependent population who earn little or no income, it said.

Francis Arinze Iloani

Vice President calls for removal of impediments to Land Reform

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged stakeholders to identify and address all problems militating against land administration and management in Nigeria.

Osinbajo spoke on Monday at the opening of a four-day National Stakeholders Dialogue on Land Reform in Nigeria holding in Abuja.

The Vice President said there was “much more to do if we are to fully unlock the immense potential of land in Nigeria,” calling on stakeholders “to work towards using land reform as a tool for the creation of a better and more prosperous future for Nigeria.”

The dialogue, organised by the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform, will among other things, discuss the legal and institutional framework for land reform in Nigeria, effective land administration and management in Nigeria and institutionalising systematic land titling and registration in Nigeria.

Professor Osinbajo said that government was working towards land reform policy to empower the rural poor by making it a medium of exchange.

“To create wealth land must be fungible, like money it must be a medium of exchange especially in its role as collateral. This is the only sure pathway to sustainable economic empowerment for all especially the rural poor. Our economic policy as a government is strongly influenced by the notion that given the size of the bottom of the pyramid in our country we must focus policy especially credit and land ownership on that segment of the populace. This is the path of economic and ultimately social reformation of our country.”

Osinbajo said that there was need for the state to take the lead in initiating and overseeing some form of improvement of the system “even if that reform is one that will ultimately end in less State control.”

He said National Economic Council, NEC, has endorsed the recommendations of its sub-committee on land reforms, which included the Systematic Land Titling and Registration (SLTR) Regulations; Regulations on Registries; Regulations on Mortgages; and Regulations on Sectional Titles.

“I understand that the Committee has since refined these regulations further, in line with NEC directives, and have now submitted them to the Cabinet Secretariat for the consideration and approval of the National Council of State,” he said.

The Chairman of the event and former Chairman of the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform, Professor Akin Mabogunje, said land reform was central to economic development, pointing out that land reforms is “the greatest hurdle standing in the way of rapid economic development of many African countries today.”

Also speaking, the Keynote Speaker, Professor Kayode Idowu of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, South West Nigeria, called for the setting up of National Land Reform Commission in the three tiers of government in Nigeria.

He said the commission would “guarantee the land reform process a firm, legal and sustainable institutional framework.”

Earlier in his address of welcome, the Chairman of the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform, Professor Peter Adeniyi, said land reform was critical in tenure and ownership.

He said Nigeria would be transformed if land is reformed.

Participants at the dialogue came from different parts of Nigeria and some countries in Africa.

Cyril Okonkwo

PROF OSINBAJO RESTATES FG’S COMMITMENT TO LAND REFORM IN NIGERIA

The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to the implementation of the systematic land titling and registration across the country.

The Vice President said this while declaring open the National Stakeholders dialogue on land reform in Nigeria held in Abuja.

The dialogue organised by the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform (PTCLP) had the theme- Land Reform: creating strategic pathway to National Economic Development and wealth creation.

He said the systematic land titling and  registration was part of the recommendations the PTCLP made to the National Economic Council which had State Governors in attendance and noted that the Council endorsed the recommendation.

The Vice President lamented that only 3% of the Country’s land is currently documented and noted that there is a lot of undocumented land in the country.

He added that the country has witnessed some many land disputes in the form of farmers/Herders clashes and the boundary disputes between communities and enjoin all not to bury their heads in the sands hoping for a solution but to put ideological differences aside and support the government’s land reform efforts.

Prof. Osinbajo expressed optimism that the National Council of State will follow suit in endorsing the implementation of the Systematic land titling and registration.

He commended the committee for their work and charged all stakeholders to do more in order to unlock the potential of land in the country.

The Vice President equally charged the stakeholders to work towards the implementation of land reform as a tool for a better future for Nigeria.

In his welcome remark, the Chairman of the PTCLR, Prof Peter Adeniyi enjoined all participants to actively participate in all the sessions of the dialogue. According to him “because we owe it as a sacred duty to ourselves and the future generations to define and design our own land governance system”

He said the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform was inaugurated by the late President Umaru Musa Yar Adua on April 2nd 2009 as a forerunner of the National Land Commission.

According to him” land reform is a purposeful change in the ways or manners in which land is held, administered, managed, used, accessed, exchanged. Etc”

He added that “ the key purpose of land reform is to improve the lot of the majority of the citizenry with a geographically defined political entity by government’s direct intervention through change of rules and forms of ownership, administrative and adjudication processes, pattern of relationships in connection with owners, acquiring and trading in land”

Prof Adeniyi said the mandate of the Committee among others was to collaborate and provide technical assistance to states and local governments to undertake land cadastral nationwide.

He further noted that the Committee was also to determine individual’s possessory rights using best practices and most appropriate technology and to recommend a mechanism for land valuation in both rural and urban areas in all parts of the federation.

The dialogue is expected to hold for four days and is organized around three subthemes: Institutionalizing systematic land titling and registration in Nigeria, Effective land administration and management in Nigeria and legal and institutional framework for land reform.

The dialogue is supported by Dangote Group, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Abuja International Housing Show, The Africa Land Advisory Group, Ford Foundation, GIS Transport Limited. The Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture.

Adeleke Samuel, Housing TV

DON URGES CREATION OF LAND COMMISSION IN NIGERIA

A Professor of Land Economics at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Prof Ezekiel Olukayode Idowu has called for the establishment of a National Land Commission to oversee land matters in the Country.

Prof. Idowu stated this while delivering his keynote address at the National Stakeholders dialogue on land reform in Nigeria held in Abuja.

The keynote address was titled Land reform: Creating Strategic Pathway to National Economic Development and Wealth Creation.

While calling for a comprehensive land policy and a creation of a land commission, he said “individuals, families, cooperatives should be given titles to land. Nigerians would then be able to use their ingenuity to invest, produce, eliminate poverty and create wealth for themselves and the country would develop. All the forms of insecurity would then vanish and the country will experience lasting peace.”

The Don said it is possible for Nigeria to become one of the top twenty economies in the world. He added that ” this can be achieved by proper use of our land resource. Individuals, groups and the state must use their powers in ensuring efficient utilization of the country’s land resources and thereby engender the prosperity of our dear country.

According to him “to achieve this, land relations must be transformed from their current complex and confused judicial forms(that include communal, feudal, family, freehold and other holdings) to a comprehensive land reform.”

Prof Idowu said the comprehensive land reform should be radically different from the present Land Use Act with its attendant multiplicity of interests and ambiguities. He called for individuals, families, cooperatives and corporate bodies to be given titles to land.

He said ” given the level of our land resources estimated at appropriately 92.4 million hectares, no Nigerian should go to bed on an empty stomach and everybody should have a roof over his or her head. the reverse is however the case, poverty is everywhere, both rural and urban”

Prof. Idowu listed the potential and direct benefits of land reform in Nigeria to include promptly investment in land, development of land market operations in Nigeria, prevention and revolution of land use conflicts and the assessment and collection of land tax.

He said land reform is difficult to implement because of the underlying motivation of those initiating the reform. He added  that the true motives for reform may be different from those announced by the reformers.

The dialogue is expected to hold for four days and is organized around three subthemes: Institutionalizing systematic land titling and registration in Nigeria, Effective land administration and management in Nigeria and legal and institutional framework for land reform.

The dialogue is supported by Dangote Group, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Abuja International Housing Show, The Africa Land Advisory Group, Ford Foundation, GIS Transport Limited. The Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture.

Adeleke Samuel, Housing TV

Housing: Sokoto govt allocates 38 hectares to private developers

Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state has approved the allocation of 38 hectares of land to various private developers for the building of houses at the new Sokoto City expansion site in the state.

A statement issued on Monday by Tambuwal’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Public Enlightenment, Malam Abdullahi Danko, said that the allocation was for the construction of at least 2000 housing units.

Danko said that benefiting firms were issued allocation letters and Certificates of Occupancy (CofO) by Alhaji Bello Abubakar, the state Commissioner for Lands and Housing at a ceremony in Sokoto.

According to him, the developers include Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and others.

He said that already, arrangements had been concluded with some of the developers to commence the provision of infrastructure and other amenities at the site.

The media aide added that state government had made 20 hectares of land available to the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing along Sokoto-Achida Road for the construction of another housing estate.

Danko said that the measure was part of the administration’s aggressive effort to provide affordable accommodation for residents of the state.

(NAN)

Nigeria: Julius Berger, Van Oord Picked for Lagos Apple Island Project

Construction giant, Julius Berger Plc and Van Oord have been picked by the Nigerian Army for the development of its iconic Apple Island project in Lagos.

The mixed-used development being promoted by the Nigerian Army Properties Limited is located off the Banana Island, reputed to be the preserve of the rich.Named ‘Apple Island’ because of its shape, the project is expected to comprise about 100 housing units for top military officers, who currently are suffering acute accommodation shortage.

The project expected to be sited on a reclaimed parcel of land from the Lagos Lagoon. The sandfilling of the scheme is yet to commence.The proposed island is to be located 400 meters off the shoreline of the upscale Banana Island in Ikoyi. It would sit on 45 hectares, with a total of 131 plots.

It consists of a shopping mall, Guest House, Police station a mosque and a clubhouse.The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Burutai visited the site of the proposed Apple Island being promoted by the Nigerian Army Properties Ltd.

General Burutai, who performed the traditional ground breaking ceremony said the project will help to alleviate the accommodation problems of the officers.Accompanied by military commanders including General Enebong Udoh, General Officer Commander, 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, he stressed readiness for the project to be completed within time.

The architectural design was handled by Messrs Majoroh Partners. The shape was specifically done to wade off water current as well as obstruct debris.According to the architect, the island consists of 64 plots for the army, with another 24 hectares lay out, while a bridge will be constructed over board.

The firm stressed that the project is expected to have two layout. One layouts for the Army and another for civilian population, who will want to enjoy the security and the ambiance provided by nature.The Business Mmanager, Tauraf International Limited , the appointed developer for the project, Babajide Ayoade, who briefed the Army chief expressed optimism that project will be a delight for Nigerians.

The Guardian gathered that the island was part of the Lagos Master plan created over 40 years and was being designed in line with international best practices.Already prospective buyers are already making enquiries for a plot as the island will have other areas apart from the 100 housing units for top military officers.

Bertram Nwannekanma

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