Following last week’s shutdown of MTN Nigeria’s Base Transmitting Station in Kogi State over alleged tax default, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has made known its determination to ensure that the dispute is resolved as quickly as possible.
To this end, the NCC’s Executive Commissioner in charge of Stakeholders Engagement, Mr Sunday Dare, will meet with officials of the Kogi State Government this week in Lokoja.
This is coming after MTN Nigeria strongly criticised the shutdown of its facility by officials of the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service.
A statement signed by the company’s Head of Corporate Relations, Mr Tobechukwu Okigbo, had earlier clarified that MTN Nigeria is not owing the Kogi State Government.
According to him, the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service demanded that the telco immediately pay for the Employment Development Levy, Social Service Contribution levy, and annual rent for Right-of-Way on fibre optics cable.
But the Taxes and Levies Act under which the Social Service Contribution and Economic Development levies were introduced, requires that a chargeable fee be recommended by the Joint Tax Board. Any recommendation would be subject the approval of Nigeria’s Minister of Finance.
At the moment, there has been no such recommendation or approval of same by the Minister of Finance, MTN claims. Therefore, paying the fee, as the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service has demanded, would amount to multiple taxation.
“To the best of our knowledge, the Minister of Finance’s recommendation as provided in the Act is yet to be issued, and as such, it is unclear if the imposition of the fee by the Kogi State Government is on solid legal footing.
“At this stage, the demands of the KGIRS, if honoured, amounts to multiple taxations and the arbitrary shut down of our base transceiver stations and harassment of our partners will stand in the way of a reasonable resolution.”
The statement went further to inform that the company has met fulfilled all of its tax obligations to the Kogi State Government and have provided all the necessary evidence proving this claim to the State Government.
As we reported last week, the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service claimed that the telco was owing a total of N120 million and had uncooperative in meeting the tax obligations.
Note that this is not the first time the Kogi State Government will be shutting down the facilities of companies located within its borders. Last November, facilities belonging to Forte Oil, the Bank of Agriculture, Airtel, and others were shut for allegedly owing taxes to the tune of N470 million.
In the same vein, this is not the first time MTN Nigeria is running into trouble with the Nigerian authorities, specifically as it relates to tax. As we reported, Nigeria Attorney General ‘s office had in September last year accused the telco of owing back taxes to the tune of $2 billion. The case is yet to be settled.
WHO gives condition for approving Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine as the vaccine gets a name
Russia has named its first approved COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V for the foreign markets.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that any form of approval of prequalification of the Russian vaccine will require rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data.
This disclosure was made by the spokesman of the WHO, Tarik Jasarevic, during a United Nations briefing in Geneva about clinical trials.
He said that the UN health agency and the Russian health authorities are currently discussing the process for possible WHO prequalification for its newly approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Tarik Jasarevic, during the UN briefing in Geneva said, “We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO prequalification of the vaccine, but again prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data.”
Meanwhile, in a related development, Russia has named its first approved COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V and it is available for foreign markets. The name references the world’s first satellite, which marked a symbolic accomplishment for the USSR during the cold war and space race era. Now, the Russian Government basks in its success at becoming the first country to approve a vaccine for COVID-19.
The head of Russia’s Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) pointed out that Russia had already received requests from more than 20 countries for 1 billion doses of its newly registered COVID-19 vaccine.
Nairametrics had earlier reported today the announcement of the registration of the first COVID-19 vaccine in what could be described as a step ahead of other vaccine developments. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who made the disclosure during a televised government meeting, said that Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine after less than 2 months of human testing.
However, the speed at which Russia is moving to roll out the vaccine has prompted some western countries and international scientists to question whether the Russian government is putting national prestige ahead of solid science and safety.
Nigeria signs African Trade Insurance Agency agreement
The African Trade Insurance Agency was launched to provide risk solutions for investors.
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the instrument of accession agreement for Nigeria for the establishment of the African Trade Insurance Agency. This was announced by the Federal Government on Monday night.
President @MBuhari has signed the instrument of accession of the agreement for the establishment of the African Trade Insurance Agency; sequel to the directive of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), that the instrument be prepared and forwarded for execution.
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) August 10, 2020
The agreement is coming after the Federal Executive Council ordered that an instrument be prepared and forwarded for execution.
The African Trade Insurance Agency was launched in 2001, to provide risk solutions for investors, after the East African economic Union (COMESA) executed a World bank funded study to discover why Africa does not attract more Foreign Direct Investments.
The organization said it added credit insurance to its portfolio in 2006 after its members identified global trade as a major pillar of growth in the continent which has seen it grow as a market leader for risk mitigation in Africa. The ATI also attracts funding from the African Development Bank and World Bank
Nigeria joining the agreement would provide Nigeria with the necessary insurance financing to increase investment inflows into the country and improve economic productivity.
Russia announces the registration of the first COVID-19 vaccine
Russian President made the announcement in a televised government meeting.
Russia has announced the registration of its first COVID-19 vaccine in what can be described as a step ahead of other vaccine development.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who made the disclosure, called it effective protection against the deadly pathogen and revealed that one of his own daughters had already received it.
Putin in a televised government meeting said, “As far as I know, this morning the first vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection in the world was registered,”
The announcement is seen as a propaganda coup for the Russian government against the west amid a global race to develop vaccines against the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 750,000 people, infected more than 20 million and crippled major global economies.
Pharmaceutical firms like AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc. are still conducting final-stage trials of their vaccines in studies that are expected to soon yield results.
Nairametrics had about 2 weeks ago reported that Russia had concluded plans to register a coronavirus vaccine between August 10 and August 12 in what would be regarded as the world’s first official approval of a vaccine against the coronavirus pandemic.
It also announced plans for a mass vaccination campaign against the coronavirus disease from October after disclosing that it had completed trials for the vaccine.
This vaccine which is being developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute in collaboration with the Russian Direct Investment Fund started phase 3 trials last week. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Tatyana Golikova, who was at the meeting, disclosed that medics could start receiving the vaccine by the end of the month.
Russia, which is reported to be the fourth most affected country globally, has recorded almost 900,000 COVID-19 cases with over 27,000 coronavirus-related deaths