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Zenith Bank Heralds Yuletide Season With Ajose Adeogun Street Light-Up

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https://businessechomagazine.com/2021/11/22/zenith-bank-heralds-yuletide-season-with-ajose-adeogun-street-light-up/

…”Ajose Adeogun Street has come to be recognized by not only Lagosians but Nigerians in general

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The yuletide season has come to life in Lagos with the 2021 Zenith Bank Christmas Light-Up Ceremony, which was held at the Ajose Adeogun Street Roundabout, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Saturday, November 20, 2021.

With the theme “Let There Be Light”, this year marks the 15th edition of the traditional Light-up Ceremony at the Ajose Adeogun Roundabout. The official lighting was done by Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu the GMD/CEO, Zenith Bank Plc supported by Executive management, staff, and customers in attendance.

The light-up ceremony came shortly after the ‘Zenith Bank Aspire Music Festival’, which took place in September and is part of the Bank’s lineup of events ushering in the yuletide season and end of the year festivities. Others include ‘The Zenith Bank Tech Fair, Style by Zenith 2.0, and Zenith Bank Christmas Youth Parade. These events are in line with the Bank’s retail business drive and continued commitment to customers as they are guaranteed opportunities to network and enjoy discounts on products displayed at these events.

Following the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which stopped the annual event from holding last year, this year’s ceremony is indeed a momentous and significant one as it signals the return of what could be described as a spectacle that has come to be recognized by not only Lagosians but Nigerians in general as an iconic place and tourist attraction because of the beautiful decorations adorning the length and breadth of Ajose Adeogun Street – home to Zenith Bank’s Headquarters, during the yuletide season.

The official lighting ceremony, which was performed by the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, supported by Executive Management, saw thousands of the Bank’s staff and customers joining virtually and through the Bank’s social media platforms.

Speaking during the Light-Up Ceremony, the GMD/CEO Onyeagwu, praised Quantum, the company responsible for the annual decorations, for the very outstanding, gorgeous, and extremely beautiful work that they have done this year. In his words, “each year when we come in, and we see the decorations, I keep asking myself what next? Would there be something better than what we have seen and I see that at the end of every season, they come up with innovations and creativity, and they make it even far better and take it to a higher level”.

“Ajose Adeogun Street has come to be recognized by not only Lagosians but Nigerians in general as an iconic place and tourist attraction because of the beautiful decorations adorning its length and breadth during the yuletide season. In fact, people from all walks of life visit with their friends and families to take pictures of this wonderful spectacle, especially at night and enjoy the ambiance of the street and season.”

Onyeagwu expressed his delight that this year’s Light-Up Ceremony is able to hold following the cancellation of last year’s edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the EndSARS protests.

https://businessechomagazine.com/2021/11/22/zenith-bank-heralds-yuletide-season-with-ajose-adeogun-street-light-up/

According to him, “last year was a very unusual year. Covid threw a curveball at humanity, and as a result, it changed the way we engaged and the way we live; it transformed so many other things, and as a country, we had some unique challenges. As a result of those challenges, especially the EndSARS protest, last year we couldn’t light up, not because there was no money. It was because we had to grapple with Covid-19, and again during the EndSARS protest, the fittings that we employ in having this light-up were terribly vandalized, and it required time and resources for us to put it together. We didn’t want to have any undue exposure or create vulnerability. Therefore we had to allow time to put the fittings back, and as soon as we have put it back, here we are today”.

He noted that Zenith Bank is very happy to be able to reconnect with activating the spirit of Christmas, with the return of the annual turning on of the Christmas lighting and the decorations of Ajose Adeogun Street, which can compare and compete with any decorations anywhere in the world – be it in Europe, North America, or Asia. 

Whilst wishing everyone a Merry Christmas filled with joy, love, peace, and harmony, he enjoined all to remember that Christmas is also a time for sober reflection when we think about things that we couldn’t do and focus our thoughts on being better people and building a better society and country. He also used the opportunity to remind Nigerians and the whole world in general that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over. He, therefore, appealed to everyone that as “we celebrate Christmas, we should celebrate responsibly, maintain social distance, wear our masks and for those of us who haven’t been vaccinated, please take your vaccine for vaccination is saving lives”.

The Light-Up Ceremony is one of the many Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Initiatives of Zenith Bank, as the Bank continues to lead in corporate social responsibility (CSR) contributions and spending by Nigerian financial institutions. Indeed, Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry as an institution that is committed to building a more sustainable and inclusive economy and one that promotes responsible business practices in Nigeria through the integration of sustainability principles in its business operations.

Zenith Bank’s sustainability and CSR initiatives are hinged on the belief that today’s business performance is not all about the financial numbers – the Bank believes that an institution’s social investments, contributions to inclusive economic growth and development as well as improvements in the condition of the physical environment, all constitute a balanced scorecard.

Through its CSR initiatives, the Bank has embodied the overarching objective of the 17 SDGs, which provide a framework for addressing the major challenges confronting our society. Its social investments are targeted at health, education, women and youth empowerment, sports development, and public infrastructure enhancement. Overall, Zenith Bank’s total social investments in 2020 stood at NGN3.29 billion ($8.62million), representing 1.66 per cent of its Profit After Tax. 

The Bank remains committed to furthering the economic, cultural, and social development of host communities, particularly through community-based initiatives and philanthropy. As a good corporate citizen, it continues to deliver projects that have long-term social and economic benefits for the communities because it believes that its business is only as strong as the communities in which it operates. 

To demonstrate its commitment to creating and expanding opportunities, the Bank regularly makes donations towards the setting up of ultramodern ICT centres in several educational institutions across the country. It also supports various developmental projects, and healthcare delivery causes in Nigeria and contributes to the development of sports in Nigeria through its sponsorship of the Zenith Women Basketball League and the Zenith Bank Delta State Principals’ and Headmasters’ Football Competitions, to mention a few. 

The Bank also demonstrates leadership when its host communities deal with a crisis. For example, following the unfortunate gas explosion incident of March 15, 2020, which led to the loss of lives and properties at the Abule-Ado area in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State, Zenith Bank made a donation of NGN100 million to the Emergency Relief Fund set up by the Lagos State Government for the victims of the explosion. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Zenith Bank’s commitment to sustainability has not waned, as the Bank donated NGN1 billion as part of the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a private sector-led initiative to support the Nigerian Government to combat the Covid-19 crisis.

The light up ceremony came shortly after the ‘Zenith Bank Aspire Music Festival’, which took place in September and is part of the Bank’s line up of events ushering in the yuletide season and end of the year festivities. Others include ‘The Zenith Bank Tech Fair, Style by Zenith 2.0 and Zenith Bank Christmas Youth Parade. These events are in line with the Bank’s retail business drive and continued commitment to customers as they are guaranteed opportunities to network and enjoy discounts on products displayed at these events.

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Why Nigeria Did Not Sign The OECD Minimum Corporate Tax Agreement – FIRS

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Why Nigeria Did Not Sign The OECD Minimum Corporate Tax Agreement - FIRS

“Nigeria has been involved in various work-streams under the OECD project”

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has explained why Nigeria did not sign the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) G20 Inclusive Framework two-pillar solution to tax challenges of the digitalized economy.

The OECD G20 Inclusive Framework two-pillar solution proposes a framework of rules aimed at tackling base erosion and profit shifting and providing for the taxation of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs). Four member countries of the Inclusive Framework (Nigeria inclusive), out of 140, have not agreed to the Two-Pillar solution.

Nigeria’s reasons for not agreeing to the Two-Pillar solution was explained in a webinar session hosted by the FIRS last week.

Why Nigeria Did Not Sign The OECD Minimum Corporate Tax Agreement - FIRS
Mr. Muhammad Mamman Nami, Executive Chairman of the FIRS.

The Executive Chairman of the FIRS, represented by the Group Lead, Executive Chairman’s Group, Mr M. L. Abubakar, noted that taxation of the digital economy has become a topical issue that many economies and developmental blocs are working to solve, including the OECD and the United Nations Tax Committee who have commissioned projects to produce a common front for countries to adopt.

“Nigeria has been involved in various work-streams under the OECD project and had articulated its position on the technical work towards the goal of producing a common front for countries. However, our concerns on potential negative revenue returns that the rule designs would have for developing countries were unaddressed, Nigeria abstained from committing to the rules at this time.” He stated.

He explained that the webinar was therefore to educate the general public on the modalities and impact of the statement released by the OECD Inclusive Framework on the 8th of October 2021 and to provide a broad picture on why Nigeria abstained from signing.  

The webinar which was a special edition of the FIRS Taxpayer Engagement Series was hosted by Mr. Olufemi Olarinde, Technical Assistant (Tax Policy) to the Executive Chairman FIRS, while technical papers were delivered by Mr. Mathew Gbonjubola, Mr Temitayo Orebajo, Mr Kehinde Kajesomo, Mr, Emmanuel Eze and Ms. Aisha Isa, all staff of the FIRS.

Explaining in detail, Mr. Mathew Gbonjubola, the Group Lead Special Tax Operations Group, and Nigeria’s representative at the OECD Inclusive Framework highlighted that despite the expected outcome that both Pillars will increase Global Corporate Income Tax by as much as $150 Billion per annum, with an attendant favourable environment for investment and economic growth, there were serious concerns that the pillars did not address negative revenue outcome for Nigeria and other developing countries.

“The general issue that developing countries have with the outcome that was published on October 8th is the high cost of implementation. And that speaks to the complexities of the proposal in the inclusive framework statement. In every complex situation or rule, implementation and compliance will always be difficult. When implementation or compliance is difficult, there would be the high cost of implementation.

“Another issue was that the economic impact assessment that was carried out on Pillar 1 and 2 were founded on an unreliable premise. The country-specific impact assessment that was done was top-down. Somebody just looked at the GDP of Nigeria and says Nigeria’s GDP is this much and then they should be able to buy this number of shoes and things like that. And you and I know, in that kind of postulation, the margin of error is usually very wide. That exactly was what happened with this. Particularly for Nigeria, when we ran the numbers it was way off the figures that the OECD gave us.

“And the final issue most developing countries had was that the developed world, within the inclusive framework, was very indifferent to the concerns expressed by most developing countries. This you can see from the outcome, with respect to the complexity, issues of the high cost of implementation and on the issue of revenue accruable to developing countries. When you look at the bulk of the money that would accrue from the project, if any, 70% – 80% will go to the developed countries. Almost nothing comes to the developing countries.” He explained.

On the specific concerns raised by Nigeria, Mr. Gbonjubola, who led Nigeria’s team on the Inclusive Framework negotiations, explained that while the whole project started out to find solutions to the challenges of a digitalised economy the outcome was completely different.

He went further to note that the statement by the OECD Inclusive Framework required all parties to remove all Digital Service Taxes and other relevant similar measures with respect to companies taxation and to commit not to introduce such measures in the future.

“The statement required the withdrawal of unilateral measures by countries. Which Nigeria does not have a problem with (Nigeria does not have any unilateral measure targeted at digital services companies). However, the paper that was released on unilateral measures was so expansive in its definition that we are concerned that the taxing rights that Nigeria has always enjoyed may be withdrawn.”

He further explained that Nigeria is unable to implement the mandatory binding resolution on arbitration because of constitutional limitations as to tax dispute resolution.

He also stated that for Nigeria, “Pillar 2 is not a deal-breaker because Nigeria could work with Pillar 2. “We have a few issues with Pillar 2 but we could live with them but because Pillar 1 and 2 are a single package, since we are rejecting Pillar 1, we can’t take on Pillar 2”.

“Under the inclusive framework rule you either accept both Pillars or you reject both Pillars. You cannot pick one to the exclusion of the other. And since Nigeria is not able to join one of the pillars, it means we are out of both Pillars.”

Mr. Gbonjubola also stated that Nigeria does not see any additional revenue coming to by way of Pillar 2, though he added that it could act as a behaviour modifier for policy makers to take another look at the various tax incentives and tax waivers we have in our tax laws and begin to restructure them in other to ensure that we are not deliberately throwing away revenue.

“Nigeria could not sign up to the statement of the inclusive framework because it did not address the concerns that we had expressed as a country and it also did not take cognisance of issues around developing countries, which will make those outcomes not to provide additional revenue, and if any, very little, and at very significant cost.”

He further stated that Nigeria, which had participated in all the meetings of the working groups would continue to participate in the design of all technical notes and model rules, and would agree to the Pillars if its expressed concerns are addressed.

“And finally, just like the Honourable Minister of Finance said a couple of months ago, Nigeria would continue to participate in the inclusive framework activities particularly the design of all the technical notes and the model rules, and then, if and only if, the concerns we have expressed are addressed, then Nigeria still has the chance to join up and to sign up. But if not, we will leave that to our policymakers to decide going forward”

The Webinar had in attendance Prof. Abiola Sani, a professor of Commercial Law in Nigeria as well as other eminent tax practitioners and representatives of government and private institutions. The representatives of the Kenya and Zambia revenue authorities were also in attendance.

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LASG Reiterates Commitment To Food Security, Farmers’ Productivity

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…As Commissioner, National Coordinator, agripreneurs hail Lagos APPEALS Project

…As Commissioner, National Coordinator, agripreneurs hail Lagos APPEALS Project

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Lagos State Government has reiterated its commitment to food security and farmers’ productivity in the State through the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement, and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project.

Speaking at the Pre-7th Implementation Support Mission of the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project, held over the weekend at the APPEALS Project State Coordinating Office in Agege, Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said agriculture remains one of the major drivers in achieving sustainable economic growth.

She said food security can be achieved in Lagos and Nigeria at large through the application of technological advancement and most importantly through self-commitment to a better Nigeria.

Olusanya in her keynote address said the APPEALS Project is directly contributing to the 17 goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the six pillars of the THEMES agenda of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration by exploring and investing in the use of innovation and technology to create competitive advantage in ensuring that Lagos attains a 21st-century economy.

She charged APPEALS Project to continue to contribute immensely to the actualisation of the project’s objective of enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium-scale farmers and improving value addition along the chosen priority value chains, which are poultry, aquaculture, and rice in Lagos State.

“Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Agriculture is providing maximum support to the project in ensuring that the contributions of these value chains to food security, local production, improvement of livelihood as well as the creation of export markets are sustained.

“A total of 2,691 farmers, SMEs have been supported directly with physical inputs and equipment across poultry, rice, and aquaculture while 3,516 stakeholders have benefitted indirectly. Also, 1,621 Women and Youth Empowerment beneficiaries have been trained and their empowerment implementation is in progress. About 8,000 farmers have received training and technology demonstrations with strong evidence of a positive resultant effect on the Project Development Objective.

“The State through the leadership of Mr. Governor; Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has remained supportive to APPEALS project as with other Donor/World Bank Assisted Projects in the State through regular payments of counterpart contributions.”

…As Commissioner, National Coordinator, agripreneurs hail Lagos APPEALS Project
Left-Right: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Hakeem Adeniji; Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya; Project Operational Manager, National Coordinating Office of Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project, Dr. Salisu Garuba and State Project Coordinator, Lagos APPEALS Project, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo at the Opening Ceremony of the Pre-7th Implementation Support Mission in Lagos.

Olusanya also commended the Lagos APPEALS Project team for enhancing farmers’ productivity in Lagos State, adding that “The State Steering Committee (SSC) and State Technical Committee (STC) have been performing their oversight functions in ensuring that the project implementation remains on course and our interaction with project stakeholders with a level of interventions through monitoring is so far satisfactory. However, Lagos State being the State of Excellence is always striving to be better.”

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Hakeem Adeniji, who is the Chairman of, APPEALS Project State Technical Committee, said the implementation of the project has received a lot of support from Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The National Coordinator of APPEALS Project, Mr. Mohammed Sanni Jobdi, who was represented by Dr. Salisu Garba, said the project at the national level is encouraged by what the Lagos APPEALS project is doing.

He also commended Lagos State Project Coordinator of APPEALS, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, and her team for meeting the yearning and aspirations of thousands of farmers in line with the objectives of the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement, and Livelihood Improvement Support Project.

Sagoe-Oviebo said APPEALS Project has impacted lives and boosted farmers’ productivity in Lagos State.

She also commended Governor Sanwo-Olu, Commissioner for Agriculture, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, National Coordination Office of APPEALS Project, and other major stakeholders for their commitment toward ensuring the success of the Lagos APPEALS Project.

Chairman, Lagos State chapter of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Otunba Femi Oke; President, Lagos State Catfish and Allied Farmers Association, Alhaja Nurat Atoba and Representative of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Mr. Olufemi Stephen, who spoke respectively during the event commended what APPEALS Project is doing to farmers in Lagos State in the three value chain – aquaculture, rice, and poultry.

They said they have felt the impacts of the Lagos APPEALS Project and promised to continue to work with the project to boost food security and feed Lagos and Nigeria at large.

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FirstBank Holds Non-Oil Export Webinar Series, Creates Awareness Of Bank’s Export Solutions

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FirstBank Holds Non-Oil Export Webinar Series, Creates Awareness Of Bank’s Export Solutions

Olushola Okunlade Writes

FIRSTBANK HOLDS NON-OIL EXPORT WEBINAR SERIES, CREATES AWARENESS OF THE BANK’S EXPORT SOLUTIONS

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced the convening of its non-oil export webinar series.

The event is centered on deliberating opportunities that will enhance the country’s expansion of its drive towards diversifying the national economy, thereby reducing the reliance on oil as a mainstay of the country’s revenue.  

The first series of the virtual event is scheduled for 10 am on Tuesday, 30th November 2021 via Zoom meeting.

To register and be part of this transformational knowledge session, click on this link-https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/business/non-oil-export/. Registration is Free!! 

FIRSTBANK HOLDS NON-OIL EXPORT WEBINAR SERIES, CREATES AWARENESS OF THE BANK’S EXPORT SOLUTIONS

The event is themed “Building Sustainable Non-Oil Export in Nigeria; Harnessing Opportunities within the AfCFTA Treaty & Agro Commodities” and will have the attendance of Mr. Segun Awolowo MD/CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC); Dr. Biodun Adedipe, Founder and Chief Consultant of B. Adedipe Associates Limited (BAA Consult)  amongst others, as guest speakers.  

The webinar series aims to facilitate sustainable exports as well as guide participants on ways of navigating the hurdles and challenges of exports in Nigeria. The webinar will explore the market and economic trends, unique export opportunities, and potentials within the non-oil export industry across the geopolitical zones in the country.  

The importance of exports in Nigeria remains a front-burner conversation by individuals and organizations as it provides a means of increasing the markets for producers, and an opportunity to attract the much-needed foreign exchange earnings to boost the national economy, which is critical to expanding its Gross Domestic Products. 

Speaking on the event, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney said: “in recent years, the country has witnessed increased activities by the government towards diversifying the economy, thereby boosting the export potentials of the country – beyond the contribution of crude oil – which has been the mainstay of the national economy for many decades.  

Our forthcoming Non-oil Webinar series will expand discussions that are crucial to the growth of Nigeria’s export potentials as we unlock numerous opportunities that will promote the economic diversification drive of the government which is essential to the continued growth of the national economy, especially with the current business challenges posed by the pandemic.”  

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