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UBA Floors Anambra Govt In Court Over N473.3m Withholding Tax

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Leading financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. has defeated the Anambra State Internal Revenue Service, AiRS, in the bank’s appeal seeking to nullify the N473,315,327 Withholding Tax, WHT, remittance the state government issued to the bank in 2018.

AiRS had issued assessment and demand notice on the UBA asking the bank to remit the above-mentioned amount as Withholding Tax remittance liability for 2015, 2016 and 2017 tax years.

The state tax agency equally refused to amend the tax assessment as demanded by the bank, but rather issued the bank a notice of refusal to amend the assessment, insisting that the bank paid the sum as it demanded.

Dissatisfied with both the assessment and refusal to amend notice, UBA in 2019 approached the Tax Appeal Tribunal where it among other reliefs, asked the tribunal to invalidate the assessment for arbitrariness and lack of legal support.

UBA equally prayed the tribunal to set aside the demand and amendment refusal notices, arguing that it was not liable to deduct and remit to the amounts the tax set out therein.

Delivering judgment on the appeal in Enugu, the Tax Tribunal panel headed by Mr Chukwuemeka Eze granted two out of the four prayers sought by the bank and struck out the other two reliefs which the tribunal said were not necessary.

The reliefs struck out by the Tribunal included a prayer asking that the AiRS did not have the power to impose penalty and interest on the WHT remittance until the amounts became final and conclusive; and an order directing the AiRS to review its demand notice and amendment refusal notice.

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Access Bank To Merge Newly Acquired Zambian Unit With African Banking Corp

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Nigeria’s biggest bank by asset Access Bank said it has entered a binding pact to merge its Zambian unit with African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited in a planned reformation coming barely nine months after it bought the subsidiary.

The agreement sets in motion the quest to broaden Access Bank’s presence in the Southern African country to 70 branches and agencies, customer base to 300,0000 and total assets with a value in the neighbourhood of $1 billion through the combined entity, the lender stated in a note to the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Monday.

It also hinted at the possibility of upping its stake in the entity after the deal is delivered.

The Herbert Wigwe-led bank has been hyperactive in Africa’s merger and acquisition market this year, the immediate target of expansion being the Southern Africa region where four takeovers have already been completed in economies as diverse as Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.

Access Bank ended trade in Lagos on Monday at N9.45 per share, declining by 0.53 per cent.

Three of the banks purchased through the acquisitions were from Atlas Mara Limited, the holding company, which owns African Banking Corporation and the biggest shareholding in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc translating to 49.97 per cent of the lender’s issued share capital.

Bloomberg said in January Atlas Mara could be considering offers to purchase its stake in Union Bank from Access Bank and Zenith Bank.

“The merger of Atlas Mara Zambia with Access Bank Zambia is expected to augment our presence in Zambia and the broader COMESA region, Africa’s largest free trade area,” CEO Wigwe said in the statement.

Access Bank, whose grand aspiration is to be Africa’s financial gateway to the world, expects its operation outside Nigeria, its base, to bring as much as 30 per cent to the group’ pool of profit this financial year.

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CBN Rolls Out E-Naira App, Merchant Wallets

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rolled out eNaira, the country’s first digital currency.

The digital currency has two applications — eNaira speed wallet and eNaira merchant wallet.

The two apps were rolled out on Google playstore and Apple store on Monday, according to checks by TheCable.

In a statement on the eNaira website, CBN said interested individuals can sign-up on the eNaira speed wallet by inputting their details as captured during BVN enrollment.

The details include First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, State of Origin, and Email.

“Your Banks are waiting to assist you in validating and updating your BVN details to ensure seamless enrolment to the eNaira Platform,” the statement reads.

“Remember Your BVN details is YOUR Personal Information, Do not disclose to Anyone.”

Osita Nwasinobi, spokesperson of the CBN, over the weekend, said President Muhammadu Buhari will launch the digital currency today.

Nwasinobi said the launch of the eNaira is a culmination of several years of research by the apex bank in advancing the boundaries of payment systems to make financial transactions easier and seamless.

The apex bank had postponed the unveiling of the eNaira on October 1, citing key activities lined up for the country’s 61st independence anniversary.

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Access Bank Holds Free Cancer Screening, Treatment For LAWMA Staff

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Access Bank’s W Initiative, in conjunction with Optimal Cancer Care Foundation, organised free breast and cancer screenings for female staff members of Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).

The event which was held at the LAWMA Headquarters  was in commemoration of the Global Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the W Health Month.

Group Head, Women Banking Team, Access Bank PLC, Mrs. Abiodun Olubitan, described the event as a “crucial step to protecting women in Nigeria”.

“Breast and cervical cancer are two of the most common forms of cancer that plague women in Nigeria’s health climate. Recognizing how important early diagnosis is to overall outcomes, we decided to organize this screening program as part of our commitment to continuously empower the Nigerian woman. We are optimistic that through this initiative and many more like it, there will be a marked improvement in the wellbeing of thousands of Nigerian women,” she said.

Headed by Dr. Femi Olaleye, the Head Doctor, Optimal Cancer Care, the event gave the participants detailed insights into the aetiology of cancer, the risk factors, as well as when to seek professional help. Dr. Olaleye also debunked common cancer myths and gave attendees a live demonstration on the correct way to conduct a self-breast examination.

The event impacted a total of 189 women and provided free treatment and medication to 19 women who were suffering from the disease.

The W Initiative is the women-focused arm of Access Bank Plc, which is dedicated to empowering women in Nigeria’s social and economic terrain.

Thus far, the Initiative has launched various offerings, including the Maternal Health Service Support, the LSETF W Initiative Loan, the W Community and the W Power Loan, that have all contributed to promoting good health, inclusivity, economic viability and general wellbeing of the Nigerian woman.

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