The Federal Inland Revenue Service has appointed Sterling Bank Plc as a collecting agent to recover taxes from 2,933 defaulting companies.
This was disclosed in a letter signed by the Chairman, FIRS, Mr Tunde Fowler, and addressed to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman.
The letter, which was obtained by our correspondent, was titled, ‘Letter of substitution appointing your bank as collecting agent and notice for release of bank statement and other financial records of the following attached companies.’
In the letter, the tax agency informed the bank of the failure of 2,933 listed companies to comply with provisions of the tax laws by not paying taxes due to the FIRS.
The letter read in part, “Pursuant to my powers under Section 49 of the Companies Income Tax Cap C12 LFN 2004 as amended and Section 31 of the FIRS (Establishment) Act No. 13 of 2007, I hereby appoint your bank as a collecting agent for the full recovery of the amount displayed on the attached schedule payable to the FIRS.
“In this regard, you are required to set aside the aforesaid sum and pay same to the credit of these attached companies in full or partial amortisation of its aforesaid tax debt. This should be done prior to the execution of all or any related transactions involving these companies or any of its subsidiaries.
“I further request that the FIRS be informed of any transactions prior to execution on the accounts, especially the transfer of funds to or from offshore or local accounts of these companies or any of its subsidiaries. Only on my authority should such transactions be exited.”
The FIRS also requested the bank to forward to it, within 72 hours, the receipt of the appointment letter, detailed bank statements and financial records for the attached companies and/ or any of its subsidiaries, holding accounts with the bank.
“You are also to provide records of all principal officers related to any of these companies. The statement should cover the period from the date the accounts were opened to the date of receipt of this notice,” it stated.
The FIRS also informed the bank that failure to comply fully with the notice was an offence punishable under the various tax laws and the criminal code.
Q1 2019: Zenith Bank sustains market dominance with improved profitability
In the first quarter ended 31 March 2019, Zenith Bank Group recorded improved numbers across key metrics, driven by a solid performance in all business segments. This resulted in a Profit before Tax (PBT) of ₦57 billion, representing a 6% growth over the ₦54 billion achieved in the corresponding period in 2018. The Group’s on-going commitment to cost optimisation on the income statement and statement of financial position ensured earnings per share increased by 7% to ₦1.60 compared to Q1 2018.
The growth in net interest income and operating income by 23% and 1% respectively mitigated the decline in gross earnings. The effective management of cost-to-income ratio, cost of funds and cost of risk offset top-line declines to deliver an enhanced operating income in the period.
Our risk and asset quality continues to improve as cost of risk dropped significantly by 52% from 0.9% in the prior year to 0.4% for the period. This was achieved as impairment charges declined by 54% (₦2.5 billion year on year reduction). Our cost of funds also improved, declining by 25% from 4% in Q1 2018 to 3% at quarter-end. This was supported by a 22% decrease in interest expense of ₦10 billion over the same period, affirming the Group’s robust treasury and liquidity management. Our prudent cost management led to a 5% decline in our cost-to-income ratio by 5% from 53.3% in 2018 to 50.9% in the period with an absolute reduction in operating expenses by ₦2.3 billion year-on-year.
The Group’s retail franchise continues to increase as retail deposits grew by N80bn between December 2018 and March 2019 representing a 9% growth notwithstanding the fact that total customer deposits dropped marginally by 3%. The drop in customer deposits was as a result of rebalancing of the deposit mix as expensive purchased deposits were forgone in favour of cheaper and stickier retail deposits.
The volume and value of transactions across our electronic and digital platforms continue to grow as new customers are being acquired. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen as liquidity ratio is at 66.7%, loan to deposit ratio closed at 43%, and capital adequacy ratio ended the period at 25% respectively and remain above the relevant regulatory thresholds as at 31 March 2019.
Going into the rest of the year and with improving economic fundamentals, we are confident of delivering value to all our stakeholders on our commitments even as we create more opportunities for businesses by supporting them through selective risk asset creation. We shall continue our investments in the retail segment of the market as we consolidate our leadership position in the corporate segment while maintaining a strong balance sheet.
Keystone Bank, others partner Mojec to roll out prepaid meters
Mojec Meter Assets Management Company, a subsidiary of Mojec International Limited, has announced partnership with Keystone Bank Limited and other leading banks in Nigeria to provide retail financing for rollout of prepaid meters to its customers within the coverage area of its partner Distribution Companies (DISCOs) across the country.
This is a major step ahead of the commencement of the much-anticipated Meter Asset Providers (MAP) scheme.
The partnership announcement was made at a press conference and Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony held in Lagos on Monday, April 15, 2019 between Mojec and the partner banks. The partner banks include Keystone Bank, Unity Bank, Zenith Bank, Polaris Bank, First Bank, Wema Bank, Sterling Bank and First Option Micro-finance Bank.
MAP is a scheme approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) through a regulation meant for the provision, supply, installation and maintenance of end-user meters by Meter Asset Providers with a view to fast-tracking a closure of the metering gap and end estimated billing in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mojec International Limited, Ms. Chantelle Abdul disclosed that the company was determined to bridge the metering gap in the power sector by ensuring provision of top-quality electricity meters to consumers in Nigeria.
“Now that MAP is here, Mojec is once again blazing the trail in the provision of high-end quality pre-paid meters to consumers, helping to reduce the financial burden estimated electricity billing is putting on electricity consumers,” Abdul said, noting that Mojec as a company has invested a lot of resources, positioning it as best suited to meet the metering needs of all consumers within the coverage of its partner DISCOs.
She further explained that Mojec would be partnering with eight DISCOs including, Ikeja Electric, Eko DISCO, Abuja DISCO, Kano DISCO, Enugu DISCO, Jos DISCO, Ibadan DISCO and Kaduna DISCO covering about 20 states of the federation.
In his remarks after the MoU signing, the Acting Managing Director/CEO, Keystone Bank Limited, Mr. Abubakar Danlami Sule, represented by Mr. Yemi Odusanya, Executive Director, Corporate Bank & South Directorate shared the bank’s driving motivation for the partnership. “The importance of energy in the growth of businesses and for the livelihood of homes in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.
“Energy cost is by all standards the major cost line in most homes and businesses.
“The scheme is set to eradicate the unnecessary prevalence of estimated billing which deprived the national economy of funds which otherwise could be deployed into other productive use.
“We are therefore excited to be part of this initiative to bring electricity to homes and businesses at the most prudent cost, putting households and business in control of their expenditure pattern.” He concluded.
Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.
CBN boosts Forex market with another $210 million
The interbank segment of the Foreign Exchange Market has received a boost of $210 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) following sales concluded on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
According to figures obtained from the Bank, authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market were offered the sum of $100million. Similarly, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment received the sum of $55 million, while customers requiring foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, were also allocated the sum of $55 million.
The Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor confirmed the transactions and disclosed that the effort of the Bank had helped to reduce exchange rate pressures across all segments of the market. According to him, the stability of the exchange rate underscored the level of confidence investors and the public had in the Naira.
It will be recalled that the Bank, at its last intervention on Friday, April 5, 2019, injected the sum of $247.8 million and CNY34.8 million into the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) segment.
Meanwhile, the Naira on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, exchanged at an average of N360/$1 in the BDC segment of the market.