3
Sep

TAX STRATEGIES FOR SMEs -Synopsis from Covenant Capital Annual Tax Seminar, July 29, 2017

By Audu Monday and Sunday Okpeh

Covenant Capital’s Annual Tax Seminar held on 29 July 2017 was an insightful session. We had seasoned tax professionals share their knowledge on the tax environment in Nigeria. One of the speakers, Mr Wale Ajayi, a Partner at one of the ‘Big 4’ Accounting Firms in Nigeria took us through the Nigeria tax regime for SMEs. We have summarized below the insights he shared at the Seminar.

1. What are taxes?

Taxes are the compulsory levies imposed by the government on people, entities, properties and transactions. According to Frederick the Great (18th Century), “no government can exist without taxation. This money must necessarily be levied on the people; and the grand art consists of levying so as not to oppress.”

A tax is not a quid pro quo payment by the people to the government. English speakers often use the term to mean “a favor for a favor”. The government is obliged to provide public goods, however, it is not meant to be a direct response to payment of taxes.

2. Overview of Nigerian taxes

Even though taxes are payable by individuals and corporate bodies, such taxes are not levied or imposed on such individuals and corporate bodies. Rather, taxes are levied on the incomes and transactions of these individuals and corporate bodies.
Taxes may be direct or indirect and may be imposed on individuals’ incomes, corporate entities’ incomes, assets and transactions.

3. Tax administration in Nigeria

The administration of taxation in Nigeria is vested in various tax authorities depending on the type of tax under consideration.

Broadly, there are three categories of tax authorities; the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the States Internal Revenue Service and the Local Government Revenue Committee. The enabling law in respect of each type of tax will normally contain a provision as to the body charged with the administration of the tax.

4. Overview of SMEs

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form the core of majority of the world’s economies. The National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises defines Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) as “An entity with between 10 – 200 employees and with an asset value (excluding land and buildings) of ₦5million – ₦500million”. They represent 50% of the GDP and employ about 84% of the labor force in Nigeria.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) was established in 2003 to facilitate the promotion and development of a structured and efficient Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector that will enhance sustainable economic development in Nigeria.

5. SMEs Tax Incentives

There are a lot of incentives available to SMEs in Nigeria. Some of them are:

(a) Small business incentive

Companies within the SME bracket are charged to company’s income tax at the rate of 20% instead of the conventional 30% for their first 5 years, which can be renewed for an additional 2 years subject to certain conditions.

(b) Free Trade Zone/Export processing zone Incentives

Section 23(1s) of CITA also exempts a company that is established in an EPZ or free trade zone from payment of taxes. In addition, Section 35(i) – (v) provides that, the profit or gain of a 100% export oriented undertaking established within or outside an export free zone shall be exempt from tax for the first three consecutive assessment years subject to certain conditions.

(c) Agricultural business incentive

Companies carrying on agriculture trade or business will not be subjected to minimum tax. There is also exemption for interest on loans granted by a bank to companies engaged in agricultural trade or business, fabrication of any local plant and machinery and providing working capital for any cottage industry established by the company.

(d) Pioneer Status incentive

A company granted pioneer status will not pay income tax for the period stated in the pioneer certificate. The company will however, pay VAT and also render WHT returns. The pioneer company would however file normal income tax returns which would state ‘NIL’ tax liabilities. The Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) is statutorily empowered to grant and issue Pioneer status under parameters laid down by the FG. The NIPC grants pioneer status ranging from 3 to 7 years and is conferred on a product(s) and not a company. Tax holiday begins on the date certified as production day.

(e) Gas Utilization Incentives

A company engaged in gas utilization (downstream operations) shall be granted an initial tax free period of three years, and which may be subject to the satisfactory performance of the business, be renewed for an additional period of two years.

6. Strategies for Managing Taxes

Taxes can be managed by an SME using three approaches. These are:

(a) Business process

● Proper Record Keeping – It is required by law to maintain good records. This among other things will discourage the tax authorities from raising best of judgment assessment which most times will be more than what a taxpayer would have paid if records were properly kept.

● Treat FIRS Correspondence/Tax documents as priority – This must be taken seriously and attended to promptly and professionally.

● Business Financing Method – Financing businesses with loan/debt is cheaper than using equity. Interest on loan is tax deductible. This option should be taken advantage of. Care should be taken however that loans are promptly repaid as and when due.

(b) Accounting and Tax Strategy

● Invest in basic tax knowledge. If you want to run a successful SME, then a little knowledge in tax should be considered.

● Engage tax expert. The use of auditors/tax adviser is not an option when preparing and filing returns. This will save the business a whole lot of money

● Take advantage of tax planning opportunities and incentives. Some examples of these incentives has been discussed above.

(c) Voluntary Tax Compliance

● The cheapest form of tax compliance is voluntary/self-compliance. The FIRS operates a self-assessment regime where a taxpayer can assess himself to tax and file returns on that basis.

● Use of tax amnesty. For example, the recent Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) initiative by the Federal Government.

Conclusion

We should always remember that nothing is certain except for death and taxes. Taxes are here to stay, they won’t go away. It is not a punishment but our responsibility as citizens. So let’s brace up.

17
Jul

How to take advantage of Federal Government’s Tax Amnesty

The Federal Government recently announced a tax amnesty programme known as the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS or “the Scheme). The Scheme is expected to run for nine months starting 1 July 2017 and is for all categories of taxpayers in default of taxes. An Executive Order for the administration of the Scheme has also been signed by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

All entities are eligible to participate in the Scheme however in order to participate, business owners must have a full picture of the Scheme in order to take advantage of it. In this article, I have analysed things to know before, during and after participating in the Scheme.

Before participating……

1. If you have never registered for taxes or you have registered and paid taxes in some years but then stopped paying, or you have been paying less than you ought, this is your opportunity to pay your liabilities and walk away free from penalty, interest and prosecution. Those currently undergoing a tax audit and non-resident individuals and companies are also eligible to apply.

2. You must make full and frank disclosure of your tax liabilities. In this instance, if you are not aware of how much you have accumulate in tax debt, get your tax manager or a tax professional to assist with determining your liability. The tax authorities are also available to assist in this regard once you fill and submit your declaration form.

3. You can make declarations for any prior 6 years of assessment (i.e. 2010 to 2015 financial years) for any tax, as the Scheme covers all federal and state taxes including companies income tax, personal income tax, petroleum profits tax, capital gains tax, value added tax, stamp duties, tertiary education tax and NITDA levy.

4. There will be sensitization for professionals and taxpayers in general. About 7,500 Community Tax Liaison Officers (CTLO) are being recruited and trained for this purpose. Try to attend one of these sessions.

5. Read the FAQs section on the website, www.vaids.gov.ng to ensure that you are fully and completely aware of what is required of your business before participating.

……During participation

1. You must make use of the declaration forms on the Scheme’s website at www.vaids.gov.ng to make your declaration. There are forms for companies and individual (i.e. sole proprietorship and partnership) respectively.

2. If you have never registered for taxes, simply walk into any tax office (state or federal) and obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Use this to fill out the declaration form and the relevant tax authority (RTA) will take it up from there. Please note that TIN is free. You do not have to pay to obtain one.

3. If your business is a business name, your declaration form should be submitted to the State Internal Revenue Service closest to where your business is located. For a company, your form should be submitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service’s office closest to your business or your usual FIRS office for filing tax returns.

4. Taxpayer have the option to spread the payment of outstanding liabilities over a maximum period of three years subject to any agreement reached with the relevant tax authority. However, any default of an agreed payment plan may result in interest and penalty.

5. Information provided on the forms will be verified by the RTA and they may call for further document and information. There may also require you to submit an amended declaration form if the need arises. Therefore, you must ensure that you are ready to completely expose your business activities to the tax authorities as this is what will be required of you under the Scheme.

Afterwards

1. The Federal Government (FG) has stated that any eligible taxpayer who fails to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Scheme, shall upon its expiration, be liable to pay in full, the principal tax liability due, penalty and interest thereon. The taxpayer may also be subject of a comprehensive tax audit exercise and prosecution.

2. Taxpayers are expected to be fully complaint after the Scheme or they may forfeit the benefits granted under the Scheme. Therefore, be sure that your business is ready to be tax complaint after the Scheme so that your latter is not worse than your former.

3. Be assured that all information provided by the taxpayer under the Scheme shall be treated with utmost confidentiality in accordance with the provisions of the relevant laws.

We encourage you to take advantage of the Scheme to regularize your tax record as this may be a once in a business lifetime opportunity.

You can attend the Annual Tax Seminar, organized by Covenant Capital, which is holding on Saturday, 29 July 2017 at The Covenant Place, Iganmu to discuss this and other tax matters. There would also be a tax clinic run by tax professionals to attend to tax matters on a one-on-one basis.

19
Jun

How to make SMEs Effective in Nigeria

Obinna Ukachukwu
@Ukachukwuwrites

Objective statistics shows that SMEs are over 90 per cent of the businesses in Nigeria and they contribute up to 45 per cent of GDP. This is despite being underfunded and unstructured.
When you consider that the current value being derived from SMEs is substantial despite the fact that most of them are subsistence/micro businesses, then you can begin to imagine how big this opportunity will become if they scaled up just one level.
The biggest challenge in terms of financing SMEs in the country is the fact that SMEs do not have the ability to scale to an extent where bank debt will make a meaningful impact. This prevails because of lack of proper financial education of SME operators, Lack of good corporate governance and business structure and Lack of access to equity – our markets for equity is not very developed.
A few SMEs recognize the challenge, whilst many of them believe that the banks should solve their problems, this is mostly because they do not understand that the nature of bank loans do not accommodate an appetite for funding start-ups or for giving loans that behave like equity. Despite increased attention and support for SMEs by banks and the CBN, most SMEs out there still have this perception that the banking industry is not favourably disposed to SMEs. In other to correct this impression, SMEs need constant education on how the economy runs. If the banks lower their appetite for risk and fund the businesses with poor structure and governance, the loans will go bad, shareholders’ funds will be eroded, and the cycle will hurt SMEs even more.
There are however alternative solutions for SMEs which can be facilitated by banks or any other stakeholder in SME ventures. SMEs can be assisted through business trainings/capacity building programs, business incubator can be set up to cater for handholding businesses, a mentoring platform can be created for entrepreneurs so as to open them up to business best practices as well as provide market access.
In addition to the above, there is however still a need to work at developing alternative sources of funding apart from commercial bank debts. Banks collaborating to set up various pockets of SME entrepreneurship funds might help meet the need for patient capital which commercial bank debts can then ride on.
In the interim, start-ups and SMEs in general can take advantage of intervention funds such as the You-Win initiative and other government driven funding opportunities.

23
Nov

Would you rather have people work for salary or work to contribute?

By ‘Lola Thompson Makinde

When you walk into one of John Lewis’ 46 stores in England, you will be served by a genuine stakeholder of the company, not just a committed employee. John Lewis has adopted a  unique business model that ensures that every employee is not just a  unit’s manager, but a  partner of the business. A partner who has a right, once he gets employed by the organization, to knowledge, power and profit sharing. This ‘Out-of-the-Box’ model, might be extreme to most Nigerian companies, but it is noteworthy that a store which is only 10 years old, has a turnover of over  a hundred million pounds and is favorably competing with brands like Marks and Spencer that have been around since 1884.

What can we learn from John Lewis’ culture about a well-disposed employee who is not only engaged but adequately empowered?

Let us look at the 3 key rights given to the John Lewis team members (partners) that make their business outstanding:

  1. The right to knowledge

Several studies have shown that, where clear-cut information has been exposed to team members about the state of a business or key reasons why decisions have been made, productivity of employees improves. In addition, there is improved quality as employees see the need to improve. Secondly, there is an increased respect for management’s decision as they are aware of the reasons behind such decisions. Thirdly, knowledge promotes a work environment filled with trust, which reduces staff turnover.

  1. The right to power

An organization with the culture of providing  autonomy to employees encourages them to take  ownership of their work, know that they are valued and also empowers them  to make an impact. This in turn positively affects productivity. You can empower your team by:

  • Encouraging feedback. Empowering your employees starts with encouraging feedback. Train your team on how to give and receive consistent positive or constructive (negative) feedback. This will foster good communication and blind spots to the management will be brought to the fore.
  • Rewarding self-improvement. When a team member passes an exam or joins a professional body, support by paying the fees and/or celebrating him/her. When a team member identifies a training program that could improve performance, provide encouragement, take the time to provide some guidance or counselling. Allow your employees to stretch out on their own and even lead others to do same. They may stumble, but they will learn a lot and cultivate the respect of their colleagues while preparing to be leaders of the organisation themselves.
  1. The right to accountability

Communicate when they are not meeting expectations. To maintain accountability you must ensure they understand the consequences of failure. You need to be consistent and ensure you use the same standards and rewards for yourself as a leader, as well as, all employees. For effective results, as the leader, you need to be seen as accountable to your employees as much as they are accountable to you.

Conclusively, in answering the question, “Would you rather have people work for salary or work to contribute? “ think of how big you want your business to grow and how important your employees are towards achieving that vision.

Employee engagement is having employees who are not just disposed to their employers, but who feel like partners in the business and are therefore willing to ‘contribute’. In the end, achieving employee engagement is never a quick fix, but it’s worth the efforts.

3
Nov

Start Smart Series – Part 1 From Business Plan to Business Day 1

by Tubosun Aliu

For an aspiring entrepreneur, one challenge in the journey to starting your first business is the
question, “Where do I begin?”
There are no simple answers to this seemingly simple question, as starting from the very beginning is
the only way. There are no shortcuts on this entrepreneurial journey and you have to spend time,
intellectual resources and perhaps tap into your social capital to get started.
However, in order to make this journey easier, the important question that an entrepreneur needs to
constantly ask himself/herself is “Why am I doing this?”
Starting and owning a business takes a lot of time and energy, and can be physically, emotionally and
psychologically challenging. You might have to spend hours studying and researching, finding the right
location, technology, people, and working out your strategy, marketing plan, operational plans, etc.
This would eventually take its toll on you and you will most likely get to that point where you ask
yourself, “Why am I doing this again?”
Having an answer to the question of “why” is one of the things that would keep you going and push
you beyond that critical point when your momentum seems to be failing. When you successfully cross
this line of doubt, you become almost unstoppable!
The question then is to define what is important to you and the motive behind your wanting to start a
business. Yes, a lot of folks will say “of course, it’s to make money”, and I agree that making money in
business is very important and making profit is extremely critical. But the fact of the matter is that
there are a million and one ways to make money and a million and one businesses that you can do to
help you achieve that purpose, but you chose this particular business! So why this business and not
another?
The “why” behind your business is the motivation that keeps you going. This might be expressed in a
mission statement or might just be a strong conviction of how you believe you can bring about
positive change in the society, or improve the quality of lives of your target customers or even
employees.
Whether it’s a slogan or your core mission statement, this will be your strength on your journey and
ultimately continue to keep you fired up!

27
Oct

5 RULES FOR EFFECTIVE CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS

By Eyitayo Ogunyemi

Has it happened that you intended to communicate a point but your client interpreted your message wrongly? This usually happens when written business communications are vague, morose and without a sense of simplicity. The end result, more often than not, is that potential clients “move on” to the next service provider. To take your business to a bigger level, you must write with clarity in such a way that your potential clients easily get your point. When you achieve this, your clients become happy to engage you, because they understand your terms and their own obligations. Below are five hints to write to win both existing and potential clients:
1. See your words as PRECIOUS GEMS, you won’t give them out carelessly, so write what you mean and mean what you write.

2. Prefer the positive expressions to the negative expressions. I like the way Deborah S. Bosley gives the picture of how our brain reacts to words we read in her article Positive language makes our brains happier
Your selling point may be connected to the use of certain negative words (drug industries for example capitalises on the use of negative words and then tell potential clients how their drugs cure those negative vices), one of the solutions in such instance is to use as few negative words as is possible.
Another arm of this lesson is to avoid using double negatives because they make the readers engage in “mental gymnastics”. See for instance the following statement:
“You may not disengage from the terms of this Agreement unless….”
The challenge with the above example is that, like the rule in mathematics, two negatives make a positive, so where you have “not” as the first negative and “dis” (from the word “disengage”) as the second negative, you have a positive statement which will communicate a wrong intention. It could have therefore been put this way:
“You may disengage from the terms of this Agreement if…”
To conclude on this, greater chances are that when you write in the positive sense, you will use fewer words.
3. Your choice of words should be determined by your likely readership. For instance, your colleagues will probably not patronise your business because they are your competitors, so why write as if you are addressing a colleague?
Potential clients easily get worn out trying to know what you mean when you use technical words (which only your colleagues are licensed to understand). What you must therefore do, is to put the technical words in simple contexts.
One last note- if you must use technical words, make sure that you create a portion to interpret those words in the plain English sense. If you are preparing an online article, link those tech words to other sites where they are exhaustively interpreted.

4. Avoid the repetition game. Many people do this because they are afraid that they have not been heard. For whatever reasons, the thing about repeating yourself is that you become boring.
Here is an example from my archive:
“ON no ground whatsoever or howsoever shall we be liable….”
You will notice that one of “howsoever” or “whatsoever” could have been sufficient, or a more simple word could have fit in perfectly.

5. Engage your clients in the active voice:
“Active voice” is when the subject of a sentence performs the action in the verb, while “passive voice” is when the subject has the action performed on it.
In elementary school, we were taught that when the passive voice is used, it means something is being done for the actor, but active voice puts the actor in charge. When you apply that explanation to your business, you will realise that passive written expressions make you look frail, while active expressions give a sense to your clients that you are in charge.
For example:
You don’t say: “The account will be audited by us”
You should say: “We will audit the account”
Communicating in the active sense helps you to be clear on your thoughts and also clear on who should do what, and what is to be done.
CONCLUSION:
Investing time to communicate to your clients with clarity and simplicity is an act that should be taken serious when preparing your marketing strategies. The Businessperson that engages his/her clients with simple written expressions has a good chance to have the most clients (observe the trend for instance in Insurance companies). The days are gone therefore, when it is assumed that the black man appreciates the content of a book by its cover.

20
Jul

Agribusiness Opportunities in Nigeria: Why You Don’t Have to Fail

Culled from AfricanFarmer Mogaji’s presentation at Covenant Capital Seminar titled ‘The Untapped Agricultural Potential of Nigeria’

Looking at the history and development of agriculture in Nigeria, it is not a coincidence that virtually all our past Presidents and Heads of State had passion for agriculture; this is not surprising as the state of oil sector in our economy was never so encouraging. With that understanding, you may agree that it is high time we went back to the drawing board to explore the gains of agriculture in order to fix our crawling economy.

We need to work together to fix our economy, but, how do we fix it? Agriculture is the way to fix it, and if your interest is already being aroused, below are some “food for thought” in Agriculture that may stimulate business idea(s) for you in your bid to make a business opportunity out of agriculture:

  1. Prohibited items: Do you know that Nigeria imports about One Hundred and Fifty Billion U.S. Dollar worth of rice every year?

It may interest you to also know that the Federal Government has made a drastic move to stop rice importation by putting in place measures which will give the local rice farmers opportunity to develop rice production in the country, so what do you intend to make of that?

  1. Untapped land opportunities: Are you aware that the river basin development project is in every State and offers the opportunity of access to several untapped land? Accessing this is not difficult as people think it is. All you need to do is to go to the Ministry of Agriculture and ask for the Department for the River Basin Project, they will guide you on how to access the lands. Most of these lands have irrigation facility that allows you to wet your crops in and out of the season, that is, wet and dry seasons. This benefit from the government has continued to be untapped because people are not aware of it. Some of the irrigation projects are found in Iseyin, Oyo State, and what more? Over seven hundred thousand acres of land have not been used by anybody! In Sepete, Saki local government, Oyo State, there are over three hundred hectares of land too there lying fallow and waiting for you to leverage on. The government also has irrigated lands in Jigawa State, Kwara State and so on that are waiting for you to leverage on.
  2. Untapped crops opportunities: There are many of them, but here are few among the list:                              a. Corn: Do you know that corn is one the untapped crops in Nigeria? Yes, it is true that corn is usually scarce between November and March, but do you know that the opportunity in corn lies in that very fact? Are you aware that with the help of irrigation which is readily available on government lands, this problem can be solved and you can produce corn all year round? Here is another food for thought: over sixty trailers loaded with corns supply Ketu market on daily basis for six months, yet supply is always lower than demand!

Read more

14
Jul

BENEFITS OF STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS

Culled from Managing Counsel of Templars; Ijeoma Uju’s presentation at Covenant Capital Seminar titled Establishing a business in Nigeria ‘What you need to know’ (Part 2)

Many people desire to start their own business and they wish to gather as many information as possible on how to go about the whole process.

To start with, there are several benefits for starting up a business in Nigeria- depending on the kind of structure you decide on. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Separate personality: This means you are separate from the business you set up (particularly where it is a company that is started). For example, Abimbola starts MonaMatthews Limited, but Abimbola is not MonaMatthews Limited; MonaMathews Limited can sue and be sued, it can own landed properties and so on, and it is considered to be an artificial person capable of enjoying most of the benefits of a natural person.
  2. Depending on the structure of your business, it can attract investors; A fascinating business idea or an existing business can attract lots of investors based on the structure of the business. With that kind of opportunity, you can diversify and also expand your business.
  3. There is limited liability connected to Value Added Tax. By implication, the tax and other obligations are on the company and not on you as a private person.
  4. It affords you perpetual life. In other words, the business can outlive you. You can therefore decide to retire while the business continues because there is an established value.
  5. If what you started is a company, you will have the opportunity to add your shares and other benefits in the business to the list of benefits to be divulged or willed out upon your demise. Therefore, you can divulge shares and other benefits to your family, your children, or other persons that you desire to assist.
  6. It gives you control. Where in particular the business that you started is sole proprietorship, you do not need to consult anyone before you can control your business; you have absolute control over the number of staff you want in your business; you can hire and fire staff without any consultation as such; you have control over what you want to produce, when, and where.

Having identified some of the benefits of starting your own business, you may wonder next on the kinds of business structures that are available in Nigeria, and also on your own best option. Some guides are provided below:

  1. There is sole proprietorship business: As the name implies, this kind of business refers to one man/woman ownership of the business. For sole proprietorship, you are the business and the business is you. You are the boss of the business; you have all the control you want over the business except for some interference by the government. In other words, you bear the risks alone, and you enjoy the profit alone.
  2. The partnership: if you are not capable on your own or you like to have other person(s) come together with you to run the business, you can invite one or more partners to join you in the business administration. The law gives room for 20 people entering into partnership; while in law firm or accounting firm, you can have more than 20 people. In this kind of business structure, all the risks (as well as the profit of the business) will be shared amongst the partners.
  3. Limited liability company; it could be public or private limited liability company; both are regulated based on their membership. For private limited liability company, you can only have 50 members (although, there are exceptions); but for public limited liability company, you can have as many members as you decide on. Either ways, your liability is limited only to the extent of your unpaid shares.
  4. Unlimited Liability Company: This kind of structure is uncommon. Unlike limited liability company, the liabilities of members are unlimited and they are liable separately and jointly. By implication, in the event, for instance, that the company has accrued liabilities and it is being wound-up, the creditors can go after any or all of the members together.
  5. Non-profit or Non-governmental organization: This includes charity organization, cooperative societies as we have amongst taxi drivers, farmers, and so on. The interesting thing about this kind of structure is that the aim is not to transact business and make profits.

The most common structures in Nigeria for businesses that are going to be profit making ventures are the business name, and the Limited liability Company.

The business name could either be set up as sole proprietorship or partnership.

For sole proprietorship, you must bear in mind that you are the business, everything you will do is about the business, you have complete control of the business- but it may be difficult for you as a sole proprietor to raise a substantial capital for the business, and you are not also guaranteed that your business will continue- which means succession on the business is not guaranteed as a sole proprietorship business owner.

As for partnership, financial commitments are shared amongst the partners; where you seek to operate one, you and your partners must share the load of profit and every other benefit that come out of the business and the risks. The principal issue is where dispute arises in the business and the partners are put to the test of carrying on together.

Lastly is the limited liability company structure which benefits hinge on the facts that the company is a separate legal personality from its members, it can transact business in its name, it can sue and be sued too, and there is perpetual succession of the business, plus the brain of the business which is referred to as Board of Directors. Conversely however, the tax liabilities on companies are higher, and companies are obliged to keep records and file annual papers and audited report.

From all stated, you may agree that the decision on which business structure to adopt has to be made as early as possible because not all the structures will be appropriate for the kind of business that you intend to run.

…. to be continued.

 

12
May

The Making – Q&A Session (Evangelist Mike and Gloria Bamiloye)

Moderator: Thank you very much Evangelist. That was really insightful. Grew up, watching mount Zion movies and I really admired the Evang. Mike and Gloria. It’s a big privilege being here today. Sir, when we think of Christian film making, the mind of the business man thinks of a low economic opportunity.

Mike Bamiloye: Yes, I think there is that economic opportunity. I remember many years ago, when we did ‘Agbara Nla’ (Ultimate Power). It generated a lot of traffic even though it was on home video and wasn’t in the theatre. It was shown on every major TV station in the Western Region. Quite a number of marketers about 5 of them were competing to sell the home video and were fighting amongst themselves. The demand was high! Content is key and once it’s a solution based content, demand will come for it. However, presently a lot of things such as privacy and the likes have gotten involved.

Moderator: How did you know or trust that there were prospects in this line of ministry or trade and will eventually pay off that you committed your life to it?

Gloria Bamiloye: I think everything is by faith. We just believed it’s of the Lord and that we were called. I was a teacher before then, but when I discovered God, I followed him. Once you are faithful and don’t play games with God, you will prosper. So it has been by faith

Moderator: Tell us a little bit about your drama training school and what you intend to achieve through it?

Mike Bamiloye: It is called Mount Zion Institute of Christian Drama. It started in 1991 and was situated in Ile Ife. The essence of this, apart from film making and drama production, is that the Lord has given the vison of nurturing and training others in this line. My objective is building people up and majority of people making Christian movies now are directly and indirectly products of the institute all over the world.

Moderator: With high level of piracy and sophisticated media world, how do you make your money as a Christian movie maker?

Gloria Bamiloye: Firstly, I will advise you not to look at the money but believe in what you have (Vision) and launch into it. Piracy is everywhere. Even our movies were pirated and Government couldn’t do anything. A woman got angry and went to Onitsha and saw this pirates but couldn’t do anything. It’s more of a calling and a way of passing a message to the world. God himself will surely take care of you.

Moderator: What are the opportunities for stage drama and Christian drama in the environment? What are your views about alternatives to cartoons for kids?

Gloria Bamiloye: The alternative is having Christians producing cartoons that will promote God-like and moral values in a very interesting way. Every person in drama ministry have varied gifts. Christian producers should be able produce contemporary movies as well.

Thank you!

(Moderator: Obinna Nwachukwu)

11
May

My views on the devaluation of the Naira

Over the months, there have been many theories propounded on the argument of what the value of the Naira is against the dollar. The loudest of these theories have most times resulted in the call for a formal devaluation of the Naira. These sounds are also echoed by the foreign and more established financial markets – and to be factual, I stood albeit without confidence in favour of devaluation. In this brief write up, my final position is quite clear and without ambiguity.

Those in support of devaluation hinge the arguments on:
• The Naira is already devalued as many imports are done using parallel (Black) market rates, so why not make it (devaluation) official…
• Devaluation will encourage exports, as inflows in FCY will be converted to Naira at high rates thereby increasing the LCY wealth of the exporters.
• From an NLC perspective, devaluation will enable the Govt. pay their new asking price for minimum wage … N56,000= I suppose ?
• Finally, our State Governors will now have more money (Naira) to pay salaries… well; this seems to be the main reason for the clamour.

However, after considering the following:
• Even in devaluation, the exchange rate will still be controlled by the CBN and pegged at a certain rate against the dollar. This defeats the theories of those that want a free slide so the Naira can discover itself as in efficient markets (depreciation).
• Devaluation means that the raw materials our small manufacturing businesses import will now be sourced at the newly devalued rate as against the current CBN rate. One may argue that the lead time to get FCY at the official market for SMEs is currently is long, but I ask – Who said it will not be long post devaluation? I think it will, because one cannot get wealthy by cutting cost. So long as the supply of USD remains the same, the waiting queue will not reduce in the long run.
• In devaluation, there will be real inflation and the already beaten pride of the Naira will take even more strokes. This has all its bad effects including the increased cost of cash handling.

My Recommendations
A big NO to Devaluation
There is no sound logic around how the eventual value will be chosen, it will erode what is left of our Naira pride, will formally increase the cost of raw materials for SMEs and finally, it will not take the FX queues away.

Get Certain and Firm:
The CBN and the Government should find a way to assure the market that the rates are fixed at least for the next 3years. This has to be done because the dearth of foreign investments/inflow is not a result of the current value of the Naira, but a result of the uncertainty and perceived market volatility.

No More Domiciliary accounts (a hard one):
The CBN should give a short period notice for owners of domiciliary accounts to withdraw their monies from the banks or it will be mandatorily bought by the CBN at official rate. Further to this, every inflow into the country must be bought by the CBN at official rate, however, the sellers of such inflows will have the right to buy back FX when they have payment needs. This move will almost eliminate the arbitrage in the black market.

Bureau De Change Services: This should be run by banks and their subsidiaries alone (In the short run) as they can be properly monitored by CBN.

Pray Hard: We still need the oil prices up. We need a prudent Government to leverage off high prices to build infrastructure. Without infrastructure, our SMEs cannot be globally competitive in local manufacturing/production.

The impact of all these recommendations should take out the inefficiencies that are currently making the effect of the fallen oil prices worse. Also, when uncertainty goes away, foreign investments come in, the capital market would likely become bullish and stability will follow. As for telegraphic transfers, the banks will debit client’s Naira accounts, convert and send the FCY to recipients, but this will only be for properly documented transactions.

By Obinna Ukachukwu

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/devaluation-naira-my-views-obinna-ukachukwu