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Sri Lanka. Declared a state of emergency over food shortages as private banks run out of foreign exchange to finance imports. The government has increased penalties for food hoarding but the shortages come as the country of 21 million battles a fierce coronavirus wave that is claiming more than 200 lives a day.
Canada. Canada is an all-comer country and that we know well. Do you want to relocate but think you have limitations, real or imagined? When you base your guidance on what you read on Google or the snippets people give here and there, you can get even more confused and resigned. Well your relocation is possible if you can apply tested simple steps outlined in this guide to make your Canada dream come through.
Tanzania. Aikaeli Mbowe, leader of main opposition party, has appeared in court to face “terrorism” charges, in a case denounced by his supporters as a politically motivated move aimed at crushing dissent. The 59-year-old chairman of the Chadema party has been behind bars since July 21 when he was arrested along with other senior party officials in a night-time police raid just hours before they were to hold a public forum to demand constitutional reforms.
Libya. Interim prime minister has pushed back against parliament’s threats to withdraw confidence from his unity government, as a burgeoning rift raises fears over the continuing peace process to end years of war. Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who took office in March, said the eastern-based parliament’s reasons for not approving his repeated budget proposals were “unrealistic and flimsy” and blamed the body for hindering planned December elections.
Guide to e-Naira
The Story It is no news that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently banned the use of cryptocurrency in Nigeria, making it illegal to make transactions in same. The CBN has now released guidelines on how a state-backed digital currency (e-Naira) will be regulated, designed, and issued.
Tell me about it The Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is on schedule to be launched on the 1st of October, 2021. Expected to be a legal tender for the entire country, the e-Naira will be accessible to both bank account and non-account holders. In order to meet the October deadline, a three-tier consumer “speed wallet” system will be issued by the apex bank before banks and other licensed operators can provide their own wallets for the e-Naira.
Could you explain that, please? The tier 1 wallet is open to anyone without a bank account. It also comes with a transfer limit of N50,000 and a cumulative balance of N300,000 fixed daily. The minimum requirement to open this wallet is a National Identity Number (NIN). For tier 2 wallets users, an existing bank account with a linked bank verification number (BVN) is the minimum requirement for this level. Users are restricted to sending and receiving N200,000 daily and having a balance of N500,000.
Aren't these limits going to be too restrictive for businesses? Tier 3 wallet holders can transact up to N1,000,000 daily with the cumulative balance set at N5,000,000. At least a BVN is needed to get this wallet category. Transaction limits on merchant-level wallets are also set at N1,000,000 per day, but there are no limits to how much such users can have in their accounts. The e-Naira also has a non-interest-bearing CBDC status and in addition, there won’t be charges on merchant services, user-to-merchant, and peer-to-peer wallet transactions.
Once launched, Nigerian banks can invite their customers to register for the e-Naira, with necessary validation and verification processes. And as part of measures to enhance a cashless economy, banks are to market and promote the e-naira to customers. The CBN also notes that the e-naira system, being a National Critical Infrastructure, will be subject to comprehensive security checks. SOURCE
FIRS Turns Its Nose at Lagos
The Story The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it will continue to collect Value Added Tax (VAT) from businesses operating in the country.
Were they asked to stop? The FIRS Executive Chairman, Muhammed Nami, made this known in a letter dated 24 August and addressed to Lagos attorney general and commissioner for justice Moyosore Onigbanjo. The Lagos state government had directed the FIRS to stop issuing demand notices for payment of VAT in the state and to render accounts, within seven days, of all sums collected as VAT in the current accounting cycle in the state.
Does Lagos have the authority to make such demands of the FIRS? The state government premised its demands on the decision of the federal high court in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, which issued an order restraining FIRS from collecting VAT and Personal Tax (PIT) in the state. The landmark judgement also implies that other state governments can follow and collect VAT in their jurisdictions. But the FIRS had announced that the court ruling has been appealed, adding that it has also filed a stay of execution and advised the public to 'maintain a status-quo on the payment of the taxes.'
What's the basis for the Port Harcourt court's ruling? According to the court, taxes that are not listed under Items 58 and 59 of Part I of the constitution are outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. They include 'value added tax (VAT)', withholding tax, tertiary education tax, and the national information technology development agency levy, among others that are not specifically listed under Items 58 and 59. The court also noted that from the provisions of Item 7(a) and (b) of Part II of the Second Schedule of the Constitution, the National Assembly lacks the power to enact any law to impose any form of sales tax, including VAT, outside of those specifically mentioned in the referenced parts of the constitution.
On its part, the FIRS noted that there were contrary rulings by similar courts on the same matter. “The instant judgement of the Federal High Court, Rivers State, is in conflict with the extant judgement of the Federal High Court, Kogi State on the same subject matter i.e. the validity of VAT Act as administered by the Service,” Nami said in his letter to the Lagos commissioner. In view of the foregoing, the FIRS advised parties to maintain the status quo ante on payment, until a ruling on the appeal by the relevant appellate court. SOURCE
The Story When speaking on Saturday about the 2022 presidential election in Brazil, current President Jair Bolsonaro said, “I have three alternatives for my future: being arrested, killed or victory.”
Why did he say that? Bolsonaro is currently being investigated for his inaction in the face of the pandemic, and refusal to follow mask guidelines. He, however, refuses to be intimidated. YouTube has removed videos of his, citing his spread of Covid misinformation. He’s also made claims that encourage Brazilian citizens to be suspicious of the electronic voting machines.
That doesn't sound like someone sure of victory The far-right president wants to move to paper receipts for voting instead. Bolsonaro’s supporters have also been banned from YouTube for sowing doubt about the election’s legitimacy before it’s even begun. Brazil’s court has raised concerns about the use of paper ballots, and Bolsonaro’s opponent has said the current president is only bringing up these concerns to draw attention away from the country’s poverty and unemployment issues.
What does public opinion suggest? While some Brazilians might still be undecided on their choice, Bolsonaro appears to be trailing. According to a PoderData poll conducted between Aug. 2 and Aug. 4, if the 2022 election were to happen today, Bolsonaro would lose to his opponent, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, by 52% to 32% in a head-to-head match-up. SOURCE
Closing a Chapter
The US is officially out of Afghanistan – ending 20 years of war.
That’s a long time.
It is. In October 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. The goal was to end the Taliban's rule and take down al-Qaeda. The Taliban – an Islamist militant group – had ruled Afghanistan since 1996, imposing harsh laws. Think: no music, movies, work for women, or schooling for girls past the age of 10. The group was quickly overthrown by US forces at the end of 2001. But growing threats of terrorism in the region and of the Taliban’s resurgence kept American boots on the ground for over a decade.
Tell me more.
Estimates show that about 70,000 Afghan security forces have been killed in the conflict. And over 3,500 soldiers have died since 2001 — most of whom were Americans. In 2020, former President Trump reached a deal with the Taliban to get US troops out by May 2021. But President Biden extended that deadline to Aug 31, saying the US accomplished its goals and that the country was done with the "unwinnable war." Yesterday – ahead of schedule – the Pentagon announced the last US flight out of Afghanistan took off. Military officials reportedly said the decision to depart hours early was intentional. And came amid a mix of concerns about things like stormy weather, potential ISIS-K attacks, and people storming the airport. And now, America's longest war is finally over.
It really happened.
Yes. But it hasn't been smooth sailing. In the two weeks leading up to the US’s withdrawal, the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan – raising concerns about women’s rights and the security of Afghan allies. Despite pleas from world leaders and US lawmakers, the Biden admin – facing threats from the Taliban – stood by its August 31 deadline. And pressed on with evacuations in the face of deadly ISIS-K bombings and attempted rocket attacks. Last week, 182 people died in two explosions near the Kabul airport – including 169 Afghans and 13 US service members. Meanwhile, more than 120,000 people – including 6,000 Americans – have been evacuated from the country. But not everyone got out. Go on. Tens of thousands of Afghans and over 100 Americans are still in Afghanistan. Marine General Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, lamented that they didn't "get everybody out" in time. The Taliban – in an agreement with 98 countries – promised to let people leave Afghanistan safely. But after they gained full control of the Kabul airport, it's TBD if that promise will be kept.
Afghanistan’s fate is unclear. But one thing that's not: the US has closed a decades-long chapter. Now, it’ll be up to the US and other countries to determine how they’ll work with the Taliban, for the sake of thousands of Afghans left behind. SOURCE
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