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Nigerian business owners lament as 7.5% VAT rate takes off

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The implementation of the newly introduced 7.5 per cent  hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) and related tax adjustments in the 2010 Finance Act has commenced, says  Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris said on Wednesday, though business owners have continued to lament the increment.

The implementation is sequel to Monday’s signing of the Finance Bill by  President Muhammadu Buhari .

The AGF told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday that since the bill had become a law, its implementation by his office had to start.

Idris said he saw a  payment on Wednesday in which five per cent  VAT  was applied, but had to return it  to the person.

His words,  ”on Wednesday, I saw a payment which was done in December last year and when I checked the payment, the VAT on it was five per cent and I said no it must be 7.5 per cent because the five per cent VAT has been overtaken by events because that is the law as at today.

“So, I stopped it and asked them to go and recharge at 7.5 per cent. You cannot implement something unless you have the instrument whether administrative or legal for it to be implemented.”

The AGF also gave reasons for the delay in the full take off of the Open Government Treasury Transparency Portal across Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

Idris however explained that information was  being uploaded daily on the portal even after  his office closed all government accounts last month.

Other reasons for the delay, he explained, are the training of MDAs account officers to understand how to upload information on the portal; public sensitisation and processing of data from MDAs.

The Federal Government last year December launched financial transparency policy and open treasury portal. The portal is designed to open government financial activities to public scrutiny in terms of revenue and expenditure of MDAs.

With the portal, the AGF is mandated to publish daily, treasury statements which will provide information about what came into the national purse and what went out every single day.

Giving updates on compliance with the new finance rule for MDAs operations, Ahmed said:  ”We are now training personnel that will upload information into the portal because it’s very important to train them.

“We have to suspend that to focus on closure of account as required by law in December. Our staff are back and we will concentrate on the financial portal.”

“All policies of government bordering on transparency, openness in  government finances – Treasury Single Account (TSA), IPPIS, GIFMIS and the recently unveiled  financial transparency policy and  treasury portal emanated  from here, OAGF.”

He explained that, those policies were necessary for government to secure confidence of the public.

The minister said: “You can’t be open if you are not transparent both in expenditure and revenue and  make them open and accessible to the public. The public has responsibility to be informed especially where public funds are involved.

“Fighting corruption isn’t just for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  to arrest people and take them  to court.  We have to start the preparation by preventing  corruption from  happening  by making jailing the last option.”

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BUSINESS

Zenith Bank introduces automated voice banking service

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Zenith Bank introduces automated voice banking service

Zenith Bank Plc says it has introduced an automated voice banking service, an interactive voice response solution which enables customers to perform basic banking transactions by dialling a dedicated phone line through their registered phone numbers and following the prompts.

Speaking on the launch of the product, the Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said that the “Zenith automated voice banking service is designed to ensure a truly amazing experience that will offer convenience for our teeming customers.”

He added that the self-service product would offer quick response to customers in addition to security entrenched by the multilayer authentication mechanism.

He urged the bank’s customers to take advantage of the unique service particularly at this critical time when the physical interface with the bank had been adversely impacted due to social distancing, and the restriction of movement in some states due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zenith Bank stated that it had clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience and sound financial indices.

“The bank remains a clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions,” it stated.

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Polaris Bank salutes health workers on World Health Day

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…Affirms Support for the Fight Against COVID-19*

Polaris Bank has paid tribute to health workers in Nigeria and across the world even as the world commemorates the 2020 World Health Day.

This year’s event is coming on the heels of the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic that is currently ravaging the world with its attendant effect on the health and wellbeing of the citizens across the world.

The World Health Day which is celebrated on the 7th of April every year has as its theme for 2020, ‘Galvanizing Support for Nurses and Midwives’ as well, as recognizing the vital role these health workers play in fostering global health and wellness.

World Health Day is set aside to honor the contribution of nurses and midwives, recognizing their vital role in keeping the world healthy. Health workers are at the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, putting their health at risk to protect the global community.

Since nurses and midwives comprise more than two-thirds of the health workforce according to the World Health Organization (WHO), they are critical in responding to health needs for all settings and across the lifespan, and as such, the World Health Day presents an opportunity to highlight the importance of nurses and midwives around the world.

Speaking on the impact of the role of health workers to global health and wellness, the Managing Director/CEO of Polaris Bank, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, noted that, “The efforts and contributions of nurses, midwives and other health workers who are out there working tirelessly to contain the spread of the coronavirus cannot be over-emphasized as they have significantly reduced mortality rate and saved many lives in the process.”

Mr. Abiru explained further that: “Since the world health day promotes healthy living through a healthy lifestyle and hygienic living, which are the most efficient ways to control the risk of several diseases including COVID-19, serious commitment on the part of the individual is required to flatten the curve of the pandemic”. He further noted that Polaris Bank is committed to the safety of staff and customers and has ensured strict adherence to government’s directives concerning social distancing and good hygiene in all our its business locations across the country.

The Chief Executive Officer advised that people should take a pledge and make all necessary changes in their lifestyles for a healthy life noting that special attention should be paid to all precautionary measures stipulated by governments and relevant agencies to promote global health and wellness thereby containing the spread of COVID-19.

It would be recalled that Polaris Bank recently joined hands with Nigeria’s private sector coalition which raised N15.3bn to fight COVID-19.

Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank committed to the delivery of industry-defining products, and services, across all the sectors of the Nigerian economy.

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BoI donates N700m to COVID-19 relief fund

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BoI donates N700m to COVID-19 relief fund

Bank of Industry (BOI), one of Nigeria’s development finance institutions (DFIs), has joined other corporates and philanthropists in supporting federal and state governments’ fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the country with the donation of N700 million in relief funding.

The bank announced that it had contributed N500 million to the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).

This donation will go towards a fund that has been created to provide more testing, isolation and treatment centers across all geo-political zones.

In addition, the bank is providing financial support of N100 million to the FCT Ministerial Committee on COVID-19. The bank is also supporting the Lagos State Government with a donation of N100 million.

Commenting on the gesture, the DFI’s Managing Director, Olukayode Pitan said: “At this pivotal moment in the history of our great nation, we stand in solidarity with the Federal Government and our colleagues across various industries.

“We are optimistic that if we all play our part, we will beat COVID-19, and we will see Nigeria recover and thrive”, the banker added.

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