COVID-19: RAISING FINANCE – A QUICK LOOK AT THE NEW TAX EXEMPTION REGIME ON INTEREST PAYABLE ON FOREIGN LOANS UNDER THE FINANCE ACT, 2019
In this newsletter, we look at raising finance for post-COVID-19 business operations but from the perspective of the new provisions on tax exemption on interest payable on foreign loans as provided in the recently enacted Finance Act, 2019
THE LEGALITY OF THE EXISTING LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR VIRTUAL/REMOTE COURT SITTING IN NIGERIA
On 6th May 2020, the National Judicial Council (“NJC”) issued Guidelines for court sittings and related matters in the COVID 19 period (“Guidelines”). According to the NJC, the Guidelines were issued based on the report of the committee that was set up by the NJC at its 91st Meeting held on 22nd day of April 2020 to devise guidelines and measures to enable safe court sittings during this challenging period of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the fundamental innovations introduced by the Guidelines is provided under paragraph E of the Guidelines titled “Virtual or Remote Court Sittings”. This innovation in the NJC Guidelines will constitute the theme of this article given the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Evidence Act and the predominant positivist approach adopted by our Courts in the interpretation of statute.
COVID-19: CBN SETS NEW DEADLINES FOR MICROFINANCE BANKS’ MINIMUM CAPITAL REQUIREMENTS
The Central Bank of Nigeria (“CBN”), as expected, is playing a leading role in the fight to address the adverse economic impact of COVID-19. The CBN has introduced different policy measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including extension of moratorium and reduction of interest rates on CBN intervention facilities, creation of a N50 billion targeted credit facility, provision of N100 billion credit support for the healthcare industry and regulatory forbearance for loan restructurings by banks. A more recent step taken by the CBN is the revision of the deadlines within which microfinance banks were required to meet the new minimum capital requirements.
RUNNING A CROWDFUNDING PORTAL/PLATFORM: KEY COMPLIANCE OBLIGATIONS
In our post of 15 April 2020, we commenced our series on crowdfunding business in Nigeria and specifically considered businesses that would be eligible to raise capital through crowdfunding - based on the proposed rules and regulations guiding crowdfunding activities in Nigeria (the “Proposed Regulations”) that were recently released by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria. While the Proposed Regulations are yet to become effective, we continue our crowdfunding series in this post by considering the compliance obligations that would apply to a company operating, providing or maintaining a crowdfunding portal/platform in Nigeria under the Proposed Regulations.
NIGERIAN PORTS AUTHORITY DIRECTS TERMINAL OPERATORS TO SUSPEND THE APPLICATION OF DEMURRAGE FOR 21 DAYS DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The Nigerian Ports Authority (‘the Authority’ or ‘NPA’), on 27th March 2020, issued a press statement directing all terminal operators to stop the application of “terminal storage fees on consignments (demurrage)” for an initial period of 21 days effective from 23 March 2020. This, the Authority said was done in acknowledgement of the pressure the COVID -19 pandemic has placed on businesses in Nigeria as well as to support the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business Policy in this challenging time
POST-COVID-19: CROWDFUNDING AS A VIABLE FUND-RAISING OPTION – A LOOK AT THE RULES PROPOSED BY THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
In this post, which is the first in our crowdfunding series, we look at businesses that would be eligible to raise capital through crowdfunding based on the proposed rules and regulations guiding crowdfunding activities in Nigeria (the “Proposed Regulations”) that were recently released by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria (“SEC”).
THE NIGERIAN CODE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE 2018: A SYNOPSIS
Introduction In January 2019, the Federal Government of Nigeria unveiled the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018 (the “Code” or the “NCCG 2018”). The Code was published in 2018 by the Financial Reporting Council (“FRC”) pursuant to its powers under Sections 11(c) and 51(c) of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act 2011 (the “Act”) and launched in January 2019. The NCCG 2018 consolidates the private and public companies’ codes of corporate governance and replaces the National Code of Corporate Governance 2016 which was suspended due to its contentious provisions on not-for-profit organizations.
COVID-19: COMPLYING WITH THE GUIDELINES FOR THE RELEASE OF STAFF IN THE NIGERIAN OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY 2019
The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) coupled with the Russia-Saudi Arabia crude oil price war ushered in a new low crude oil price environment, which is ravaging oil dependent economies. Nigeria is not spared. The Federal Government of Nigeria has had to implement fiscal measures to mitigate the adverse economic effects of COVID-19 and low crude oil prices, including a reduction of budgeted capital expenditure by 20% across ministries, departments and agencies, and a 25% reduction of capital expenditure and overhead budgets by all government owned enterprises.
NIGERIAN MARITIME ADMINISTRATION AND SAFETY AGENCY, ISSUES MARINE NOTICE ON COVID-19
On 30th March 2020, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (“NIMASA”) in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, issued a Marine Notice to all Ship Owners, Ship Operators, Masters of Ships, Ship Agents, Shipping Companies and Maritime Stakeholders (“Notice”). The Notice is meant to offer guidance to support all types of ships that operate in the Nigerian maritime domain and to assist shipping companies and all maritime stakeholders in observing the directives and advice provided by United Nations agencies – including the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization, as well as the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
COVID-19: IMPACT ON THE INDUSTRY
Obsolete legal, fiscal and regulatory frameworks, uncertainty over pending laws, insecurity and bureaucratic inefficiency have all been identified as perennial challenges facing the Nigerian oil and gas industry (“the Industry”). The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and subsequent measures implemented to flatten the curve have resulted in disruptions of epic proportions – the Industry is not exempt from these disruptions and this poses a new challenge for the Industry.