Epunchng - Most read newspaper in Nigeria 13th-September-2017 - Page 25

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017 money Tax reform, flexible exchange vital to economic growth –Report Oyetunji Abioye T hE Nigerian economy offers significant potential but it must widen its tax base and broaden its activities away from oil, a new report by UBS Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office has found. The report shows hat liberalisation of the naira exchange rates will be crucial in attracting foreign investment. The report, tagged, Africa– Cradle of Diversity, was launched by the UBS Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office on Tuesday. The report focuses on the continent’s economic prospects and challenges. It highlights that one of the 64 nations the International Monetary Fund projects to have average real GDP growth of more than four per cent in the next five years, more than half are in Africa. The report read in part, “As Africa’s largest country both in terms of GDP and population, Nigeria offers enormous potential for the nation’s domestic market. The United Nations expects Nigeria’s population to reach up to one billion people by 2100, offering unusual potential for growth. “At the same time, population growth presents a significant challenge in terms of job creation for new labour market entrants and the nation’s geographic limitations, considering Nigeria’s territory is approximately the size of Texas.” Sterling Bank wins housing-friendly award S TERlING Bank Plc says it has won the housing Friendly Commercial Bank of the Year Award for its remarkable impact on housing delivery in the country’s housing sector. The Sterling Bank’s Non- Interest Banking Group head, Mr. Basheer Oshodi, who received the award in Abuja on behalf of the lender, said the award followed the recognition of the innovative efforts of the NIB group in the housing sector. Oshodi said the model of engagement created by the NIB group enhanced the ability of many Nigerians to own houses under a flexible mode of payment, adding that the NIB group had done so much in making affordable housing available to Nigerians. According to him, customers who express interest in the homeownership model are made to contribute between 20 and 30 per cent equity over the construction period of 18 months after which the facility is booked for future ownership. he added that rentals in the scheme were less than what would have been paid in a conventional banking arrangement. In addition, UBS CIO research showed that indicators relating to governance and ease of doing business were clearly weaker than for peers, thus underpinning the need for reforms as foreseen in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. The report added, “Decisive factors outlined in the report include efforts to broaden the country’s tax base and to diversify its economy. Nigeria’s revenue base heavily relies on oil-related activities, which exposes the nation’s fiscal balance to energy price shocks and volatility risks. “Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter and while commodity exports remain a major growth driver in many African countries, their importance is slowly declining as domestic demand plays an expanding role in sustaining growth. Some of the continent’s fastest growing economies are concentrated in non-resource-rich countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Kenya and Ethiopia, which are expected to grow between six per cent and eight per cent in the next few years. The report pointed out that the manufacturing industry was probably one of the most overlooked sectors in Africa, despite the continent’s potential to be 6RFRv&N( 2WBrЦ67BVf7GW&rV"BVFrv&W"&W6W&6RЦFV6fRVf7GW&r#P