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How Solid Minerals Export Trade Can Create Jobs –Olatunji, President, AMEN

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Is the Federal Government looking for magic wand to turn the economy around? If yes, it needs look no further, for the solution is here in its mineral resources.

According to Mr. Seun Olatunji, the Managing Director of S.B. Olatunji Global Nigeria Ltd, a metal exploration and exporting firm, who is also the President of Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria (AMEN), “the price of one tonne of zinc ore, for instance, is $400. And a container load is 25 tonnes. So, 25 tonnes multiplied by $400, that is $10,000. If one million youths have one container each of these minerals existing in good deposit in Nigeria, one million youths times $10,000. That is one billion dollars per transaction.”

In this interface, Olatunji explained that that is the kind of revenue that would accrue from the trade if government empowers one million people. “Imagine taking one million people from the job market and the revenue government can earn from these one million people that have been empowered. That is a food for thought,” he added.

Excerpts:

Minerals, minerals everywhere

The most exported solid minerals out of the country are metallic minerals. And when we are talking about metallic minerals, we are talking of lead, zinc, manganese, copper, tantalite, to mention just few. That is what forms what becomes the revenue. That is why government should consider it worth their investment and time. This association wants to see the industry where everybody along the value chain has something worthwhile doing. And everybody makes profit, including the government.

How can this be achieved if we don’t have an industry that is well regulated by government; an industry where everybody along the value chain plays according to certain rules? Currently in the industry, a lot of things are done haphazardly. That is one of the reasons we want the government to look into certain issues that bedevil the traders and exporters of solid minerals. One has to do with quality. So far, most of our minerals are being carted away without proper value addition. And what that translates to is a loss of revenue, even to the government.

The government is not going to generate good revenue if these minerals are not processed, at least minimally by pulverisation. We are coming together as an association to let government know that for the industry to grow, the exporters are the key. Without the exporters, the miners, who are actually the producers of these minerals, cannot have a market. So the exporters are the bridge between the miners, who are the producers, and the foreign off-takers because the foreign off-takers first of all interface with export companies most times. So it is important for the exporting companies to let the government see a holistic picture of what happens along the trade chain. From the banks – which is finance – to the quality control standardisation; to the regulation of activities on the mining fields. Today, the Nigerian mining field is such that all manners of people go in and do whatever they like. And that affects the government, in terms of loss of revenue; it affects the indigenous companies’ ability to grow sustainably. And at the end, it leads to unemployment in Nigeria today.

So we are talking about an industry where stakeholders, both in government and private sector, should have a synergy. From CBN, regulation of financial policies, to Customs, to the individual companies, there must be a minimum level of synergy. The association has been able to engage with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in an attempt to engender a proper regulation in the industry. But it was unfortunate that up till now, we have not seen any positive steps taken in that direction. The exporters regulate their exports. That shouldn’t be so. It means that whatever we do is always contested in the foreign territories. Asia is the biggest buyer of these products. These Asian countries have their governments regulating the imports as importers of these solid minerals. Their governments have systems in place that regulate these products coming in. And that is the standard they use to pay us regardless of what we do in Nigeria. So what is our government doing about this? That is where the revenue gap exists. Our vision is to have a market that is well regulated where all the players along the value chain are well compensated for their efforts.

Two, to harness and synergise with government agencies and have a vibrant export of solid minerals that would translate to billions in revenue for the Federal Government. There are payment of royalties to government, payment of possible value addition levies on the individual companies. There are so many channels where the government can tap revenue from the industry. Imagine in a country where we say there is no job and we have natural resources that can be exported at good value. Imagine that the government throws up a programme targeted at one million unemployed youths, empower them to be exporters. Now, what that means conservatively is that if those one million youths do one container of a particular metal or mineral, for instance, what that translates to is that a container average sealed price for the basic base metals go for between $10,000 to $15,000 hypothetically. So multiply the minimum figure of $10,000 by one million youths. That is the kind of revenue that would be generated from that trade by empowering one million people. Imagine taking one million people from the job market, and government earning revenue from the one million people that have been empowered. That is a food for thought. Extrapolate what that means to the growth of the economy.

Still on the metal exporting for unemployed youths. First of all, to give you a figure on what I said previously is a simple mathematics. I will break it down. These figures are coming from our trade as an individual company. These minerals are sold in tonnes just as oil is sold per barrel. A tonne represents 1,000kg. I am giving you a general price. For instance, the price of one tonne of zinc ore is sold at $400 and a container load is 25 tonnes. So, 25 tonnes multiplied by $400, that is $10,000. Now $10,000 for one container multiplied by one million youths put under empowerment programme by government. It is an example for you to see how unemployment can easily be solved. So if one million youths have one container each of these minerals, which are existing in good deposit in Nigeria, so one million youths times $10,000. That is one billion dollars per transaction.

State minerals

Osun State has not been able to pay workers for many months. The state has one of the best; one of the purest deposits of gold in the world. If the Federal Government has allowed states to exploit minerals in their domains, what we expect the government in states like Osun to do is to look for those who have mining licences and strike a deal with them. That way, they will generate money into their coffers. They would not wait for the allocation from the Federal Government. For instance, in Osun State, apart from gold, there are also gem stones and plenty of mica – used for pigment in paint – available there. With those gem stones available, you can create processing centres called Lapidiaries for gem stones cutting and polishing. So instead of exporting the gem stones raw (because gem stones have more value, you can just put a little in your pocket and travel abroad and sell them for millions of dollars), foreigners can come in and buy. And they would come. That is what we are saying, policies that allow the states do this is a good one. But the states, do they have the knowledge and resourcefulness to exploit these minerals?

The vested authority of all the minerals in Nigeria is the Federal Government. The Minister for Solid Minerals (Kayode Fayemi) made it clear that the state cannot operate in an area where a company that had already been issued licence is operating. It is clear. But that doesn’t stop the states from doing collaboration, joint venture like NNPC-Chevron Joint Venture. NNPC-Mobil Joint Venture. These are joint ventures, which means the two sides have come together and struck a deal. That is what the states should be doing.

They don’t necessarily have to open a fresh field. They look for existing players in their domain and strike deals with these people, using government’s powers. We are talking about generating revenue for your state.

Quality control

Cobalt Inspection – this is an agency that inspects the goods leaving Nigeria on behalf of the Federal Government – was nominated by the Federal Government to be the collector of what is called Nigerian Export Proceeds (NXP) form. The principle of the policy is that every exporter of solid minerals pays 0.5 per cent of the FOB (free on board) value. That is the value or the amount you are selling the goods (cost price plus profit) of that particular shipment. That is the charge that Cobalt takes on every export. It collects that money and does nothing. That is the area we expect the government to be enforcing proper rule of engagement. Cobalt is taking money from exporters on NXP. It is the reverse of Form M, which is for import. For export it is called Form NXP. So what are they taking this money for? They are not inspecting the minerals. They only come to the port and take pictures. Now, we have SGS, it is a global inspection company. SGS is in Nigeria, it is not doing mineral inspection in Nigeria. Why? They would tell you that it is a risk for them to do it because it is not crushed; it is not pulverised. We also have Bureau Veritas in Nigeria, same global brand. They are not inspecting these minerals because they say it is not crushed.

You can reason with them in the direction that this thing is not crushed.

Variation can happen at the destination port, which would result in litigation for those companies. I agree. That is why we Nigerians should look inwards and add value to these products by way of crushing them instead of selling them (in) lump. That is why we are emphasising pulverisation, crushing.

Foreign investors

The principal foreigners that play in this metallic solid minerals industry in Nigeria are the Chinese and the Indians. In as much as we want more foreigners to invest in the industry, that should not be at the expense of Nigerian jobs. When we have an unemployment rate that is very high, alarmingly high, we should be encouraging Nigerians to play in the sector.

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Zamfara to boost revenue generation with N1.8bn investment in Abuja hotel

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Zamfara to boost revenue generation with N1.8bn investment in Abuja hotel

Zamfara state government says it has invested the sum of N1.8 billion for the purchase of a hotel in a choice area of Wuse, Abuja to boost its local revenue generation.

This was disclosed to newsmen in Gusau on Tuesday, by the Managing Director of the state’s Investment and Property Development Company Ltd, Alhaji Anas Hamisu.

Hamisu also disclosed that governor Matawalle had approved and released N235 million for the purchase of an estate also in Abuja.

“The first thing you look for when you come to Abuja is an accommodation which speaks volumes, His Excellency has approved for us to purchase six units of three-bedroom three-bedroom houses at the cost of N235 million.

“Plans are underway by the company to invest in the purchase of shares worth over N250 Million in order to boost the state Internally Generated Revenue and create more wealth to the state government,” he explained.

He however said, the state government would dispose off its share investments in all unviable companies as it could not continue to waste such resources which ran in millions.

He commended the support given to the company by the state government under the leadership of Governor Matawalle particularly in the area of investment and reinvigoration for the development of the state Internally Generated Revenue Base and job opportunity.

“As I am talking to you now, the state government under the leadership of Governor Bello Matawalle has the a vision to develop the state investment process and generate more income to the state by creating more job opportunities for the youths of our dear state,” Hamisu stated.

He said with this development, the company would purchase and commercialize vehicles for intercity service, purchase farm products from farmers to be exported to other countries.

He also stated that, the company would partner with small scale businesses and entrepreneurs in order to boost the economy of the state and also generate more revenue.

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Kano State Govt says it will slash taxes as COVID-19 relief

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Kano State Govt says it will slash taxes as COVID-19 relief

By Mustapha Sumaila

The Executive Chairman of Kano State Internal Revenue Servic, Alhaji Abdulrazak Datti-Salihi, has unfolded the plan to slash personal income tax as relief to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on citizens.

Datti-Salihi made this known while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in an interview in Abuja on Thursday.

He explained that the tax relief package was to ease the hardship occassioned by COVID-19 and encourage taxpayers to come forward to pay their taxes.

He said the pandemic had affected most businesses hence the need to provide such relief for the taxpayers in the state.

“In Kano state, with the approval of the Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, we are looking at what we called COVID-19 palliatives for our taxpayers.

“We now have some tax relief package for our taxpayers, we are looking at reducing the personal income tax by certain percentage to motivate our taxpayers to pay their taxes.

“We are looking for other ways to expand the tax net so that more people will be captured with a view to generate more revenue for the state” .

The chairman noted that plan had been concluded to introduce technology to drive their goal of expanding the tax net.

He said with the nature of the state,  reducing taxes and capture more people, would help the service to generate more revenue.

“Kano is a commercial nerve centre, if you look at the businesses in the state, about 60 per cent of them are informal in nature and most of these businesses are not captured in our tax net because of difficulty in coordinating them.

“We are working seriously to bring more people and companies to the tax net and reduce the taxes being paid by individuals and companies as COVID-19 relief for certain period of time.

“And having additional people in our tax net will help to augment the shortfall arising from the slashing of taxes and hence meeting the revenue target” he explained. (NAN)

MS/

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CITN charges NASS, State Assemblies to pay taxes on constituency project allowances

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CITN charges NASS, State Assemblies to pay taxes on constituency project allowances


The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has charged the National Assembly, State Houses of Assembly to lead by example by ensuring they pay the taxes on their constituency project allawances.
The President/chairman of council who is also the chief host of the 2020 Tax week Dame Gladys Olajumoke Simplice spoke during the 2020 Tax week organized by CITN with the theme: Tax, Politics and Social Contract in Nigeria.
She said as the country continue to battle with dwindling revenue, it is the right time to ensure the National Assembly members and the State Houses of Assembly members pay accurately the Value Added Tax and Withholding taxes on their constituency project allawances since they are tied to projects.
She therefore called on tax collectors to collect value-added tax and withholding taxes from constituency project allowances of legislators at all levels of governance in the country.
She explained that as tax comptroller in Oyo State and Ogun State she ensured the lawmakers pay up their VAT and withholding taxes on their constituency allowances which she said is still being upheld.
“What I did when I was tax comptroller both in Ibadan and Abeokuta, because I needed to meet up with my target. I sat down and I said the State Assembly they collect constituency allowances, dont they?
“The same thing with the national assembly they collect constituency allowances. Are there no tax implications? “There are tax implications, so FCT IRS chairman it is your duty even if they are not going to pay, they must pay withholding tax because constituency allowance are tied to projects. “They must pay withholding tax and they must pay Value Added Tax. That was what I did and till tomorrow those taxes are being collected both in Ogun State and in Oyo State.
“I went to address the State Aseembly and I told them I have no business with how much they collect as constituency allowances but they should just give my tax.”
She said she only asked her staff to monitor.
“If your constituency allowance is N10m 5% is VAT and 5% iswithholding tax. And 5% withholding tax as it is not going to Limited liability company, we extracted it and it goes to the State and that opened the eyes of the accountant general of the State.
“He said, ‘oh so there are withholding taxes attached to these constituency allowances? And we started collecting and of course I collected my VAT and my target got swollen up and I was bragging.
“This is one of the ways in which we can hold people accountable. Hold people accountable, do your part, think outside the box and do your best.”
He said everyone is a tax payer adding that even for those who lives in estates they used to pay for everything.
“In some of these estates towards the end of the month the gates are locked, you would not be allowed to go out if you have not paid your dues, you are held responsible.
“If we do the same thing from the ward to Council to the house of reps to the Senate we should hold them responsible.
However he said why people can hold their leaders accountable is because they are not paying adequately as at when due their taxes.
“That is why you are not reacting. If you pay adequately as at when due you would not sit down laikadiasically to see people spend tax money anyhow
“Let me tell you, we need to take these things in our own hand. We need to react. People say I am revolutionary I am not. Let me tell you what I did when I was a tax comptroller in Ibadan. It also go back to the political will and the determination to achieve,

“For example somebody say in their estate they want to build and that the road is bad. You can revolt in that estate, carry placards call newspapers and make noise, I can assure you the people who were given that contract would be called back.
She said as for CITN they would advocate just as they did in the ammendment of the finance act.
“The ammendment you see in the Finance act were escalated from the CITN, some of the things we are talking today we will print and escalate.
“Two years ago we went to see the President, we raised some issues from our communique and everything we escalated to him were approved.
“We asked him not to sign the compulsory Federal Mortgage Bank deduction from staff salary and he did not assent to it.”
“Now you asking what your tax money is being used for I keep saying Government does not have a place to pluck money from except tax money revenue
“I recalled a tax payer that stormed into my office and ranted saying he does not see what the Government is doing for him with his tax.
“I said okay, Government is not doing anything for you, and he imports serious building materials, not ordinary materials but the type top politicians use, very fine Italian material.
“At that time it was November and December. I asked him all the materials he imports did he build the airports through which they were imported?
“Or how much tax had he paid to contribute to the building of the airport? He was just looking at me.
“I said even from the airport to Ibadan here even if the road is not good how much is your contribution to that road? He was looking at me and I now asked if he was not going home for Christmas he said he must go home with his family. I said you will either fly or go by road, how much of your tax money?

“The man said, nobody had ever explained to him like that. I am explaining it to you now, pay your own tax, it is when you pay your own tax that you will have the right to demand for accountability.
“If you do not do your own part you have no right to demand for accountability.
“We can only do moralsuation to Government asking them to create the right climate for people to do their business and asking Government to reduce the burden of taxation.
“A lot of it has been done in the finance act 2019. The minimum tax seriously addressed. The removal of SMES from taxation has been addressed. Even company’s income tax has been reduced. I think we should give kudos to this Government, it is not enough but we can always canvass for more.”
The chairman of the occasion Alhaji Kamoru A. Adigun expressed concern that the social contract is one sided.
He said when politicians are being presented they come with their manifesto, people look at it and based on that they are voted in

That he said is one side of the contract however when they get in the expectation is that they will do those things enumerated but at the end people are disappointed

“I am sure that is the reason people are complaining.”
“Coming back to the side of tax collection, tax yield or tax performance I think it is a very complex thing. We expecting a lot of things from the Government but I can tell you Government is doing a lot that we do not know “
He said, “I want to tell you where the problem lies is our present structure, Governance needs to be at the grassroots as it is in the US where everything happens at the grassroots level they have elected representatives that they interface regularly.”
In his welcome address, Chairman Abuja and District Society CITN, Dr. Nwabuzor Emeke said “an important part of every country’s development process is the building of a social contract in which citizens pay tax and, in turn, receive public goods and services”.
Lead paper presenter, DR. Titilayo  Fowokan while speaking on the theme “Tax, Politics and Social Contract in Nigeria” said “tax compliance” by the citizens is low because they want to see what the government has done with the tax revenue. “If you collect one billion naira tax, we want to see one billion naira project”.
The Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mohammad Nami said it is not the responsibility of the tax administrators to ask how the taxes collected were spent, but that responsibility is for the taxpayers’.
Nami was represented at the CITN Tax Week by a Coordinating Director, Mr. Innocent Ohegwe.

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