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Telcos react to Senate’s 9% tax on calls, SMS, Data 

Network Providers have reacted to the recently proposed 9% tax on Communications Services by the Senate.

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Stamp duty, Senate to probe PPPRA over non-remittance, blame systemic corruption for bad roads, Senate invites Bigi and Pepsi manufacturers, as stiff competition continues , Senate orders investigation of banks over withholding tax remittances

Network Providers have reacted to the recently proposed 9% tax on Communications Services by the Senate. The new communication tax was initially initiated by the 8th National Assembly led by Bukola Saraki four years ago. 

The telecommunications companies condemned the re-introduction of the tax by the 9th National Assembly, stating that the decision would only place more burden on Nigerians. The telcos spoke through two associations – Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and the Association Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON). 

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Nigeria has one of the cheapest mobile data prices in Africa

Nairametrics had previously reported that the Senate was seeking a legislative action to impose a 9% tax on Communication Services. The tax would cover electronic communication services like Voice Calls, SMS, MMS, and Data usage both from Telecommunication Services Providers and Internet Service. The tax was also extended to Pay per View TV Stations. 

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While reacting to the communications tax by the lawmakers, ALTON said it would affect the standard of living of Nigerians. According to the association, the purchasing power of Naira is low, imposing tax on essential services like calls, texts and data will further drag it down. 

Speaking on behalf of ATCONOlusola Teniola, said the 8th National Assembly had shelved the plans to tax these communication services in 2016 because they understood the impact of the Information and Computer Technology (ICT) sector. He said a meeting between the Senators and members of ATCON led to the suspension of the 9% tax because they knew the contribution of ICT to job creations. 

Teniola also advised the lawmakers to broaden the tax base to enable more businesses to have tax commitment. 

Senate’s defence: Senator Ali Ndume, who introduced the Communication Service Tax to the senate during one of its plenary session, said the tax was a way of distributing wealth in such a way that it would not affect the ordinary people. 

[READ ALSO: Senate increases 2020 budget to N10.729 trillion, approves N1.5 trillion borrowing]

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What the 9% tax means: The communication service tax, for instance, implies that for every N100 airtime you buy, you only have access to N91.  The higher you buy, the more tax you pay. This will apply to products differently. 

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If approved, the tax is payable whether the person making the supply is permitted and authorized to provide electronic communications services or not. 

 

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: fakoyejo.olalekan@nairametrics.com.

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Economy & Politics

Skills Africa needs for sustainable development

Over a billion people with 5 official working languages – Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Swahili , will again celebrate Africa Day this year.

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From Addis Ababa to Durban, Lagos to Cairo, from the Sahara Dessert to the Nile River, over a billion people with 5 official working languages – Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Swahili – will again celebrate Africa Day this year.
A day to remember, reminisce and celebrate successes recorded against the struggles for independence, freedom from apartheid and colonization. Although, with the new normal brought about by Coronavirus, the 2020 celebrations would be quite unlike previous years.

The Africa Union (Formerly OAU) has recorded good milestones in terms of political independence and self-governance. So now is a good time for Africa to reflect on our independence.

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On reading the objectives of the Africa Union (AU), words like independence, territorial integrity, human rights, security, cooperation are splattered across the pages. Significantly, none of the AU objectives seeks economic autonomy for Africa or her member states. This is a fundamental flaw which speaks directly to Africa’s issue of having a large population without the requisite skills for growth.

Our education is largely dependent on the western curriculum and narrative. There is hardly any major infrastructure, industrial or development project in Africa with 100% African content in manpower, materials or capital.

(READ MORE: Nigerian economy going into recession, might contract by -8.9% – Finance Minister)

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It is now well established and more evident that political independence without economic independence is like a car without an engine. Economic empowerment is the nucleus of national development. No fewer than 14 West African countries currently use CFA Franc, with some having used the currency for at least 75 years. This goes beyond nameplate as the Bank of France holds half of those countries’ currency reserves. This is effectively cutting their growth capacity by 50%.

Skill Up Africa for Sustainable Development

8 of those 14 countries will relinquish the CFA franc for the new ECOWAS currency, ECO (to be launched in July 2020). However, there is no indication that the affected African leaders would ask France for compensation for the years of economic sabotage to their countries. The introduction of the ECO was to bring a ray of hope, but we hope the real difference would not just be in the colour of the currency. This is because the ECO will not be autonomous but would be pegged against the Euro.

France is not alone in the economic sabotage of Africa, they are in the good company of the United Kingdom, the US and Belgium, to mention a few. However, are these foreign countries to blame? Africa got her independence, but African leaders refuse to be independent and the dependent mentality is also enshrined in the AU objectives.

One of the AU objectives states “to work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.” The statement looks good superficially, but it is enlaced with aid orientation, the lack of drive for self-reliance, and a beggarly mindset.

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(READ MORE: Sahara Group donates medical equipment to support fight against COVID-19)

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Let us educate Africa to pursue the development of its people, with core skills that are necessary to deliver the quality of the progress and growth that Africans desire. African construction companies should make African infrastructure and 100% African content should be the target in automobile engineering, healthcare, information technology,

Necessity is said to be the mother of invention. The need for Africans to lead Africa out of poverty, tyranny and underdevelopment is a matter of great importance, far beyond just necessity. Every African must desire to get skilled, and not just education, as we currently have it. We must have the competence to develop our agriculture system, mine Africa’s natural resources and add value by processing them locally.

Africa Day would only be truly worthy of celebration when African people and countries are skilled enough to accomplish our dreams of self-reliance and economic independence.

Article written by Olatunde Akintola. Olatunde is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria and alumni of Manchester Business School. He writes from Lagos.

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Tech News

Tiktok’s In-App revenue surges amid lockdown

ByteDance Ltd’s brainchild, TikTok, together with Douyin ranking tops globally on mobile apps with the highest revenue generated for the month of April.

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TikTok announces $250 million pledge to aid combat coronavirus, Does YouTube stand a chance against TikTok?

The meme-making business has proven to be worth all the fuss, with TikTok, as well as its Chinese twin app, Douyin, ranking tops globally on mobile apps with the highest revenue generated for the month of April.

Sensor Tower, notes that just in the first quarter of this year, ByteDance Ltd’s brainchild, TikTok, together with Douyin which caters to the Chinese market, generated 315 million downloads globally, from the 187 million it had just a year earlier.

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The ranking, which was based on their in-app purchases, reveal a tenfold increase, as the companies garnered a whopping $78 million in revenue. The Chinese market is said to have contributed 86.6% of Douyin’s revenue, followed by the U.S market which contributed 8.2%.

This places them ahead of older names like Netflix & YouTube. As opposed to using subscriptions like these established brands, TikTok and Douyin allow users to purchase virtual currency to spend on their favorite content creators.

(READ MORE: Does YouTube stand a chance against TikTok?)

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While ByteDance is exploring the world of online commerce, it continues to rely on advertising as its primary income source. However, Emarketer projects that more than 75 million US social network users will make at least one purchase from a social channel in the year 2020.

 

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Business News

Sanwo-Olu to virtually inaugurate projects as he presents scorecard of first year in office

Some of the projects to be commissioned will be done virtually, while a few will be done on-site.

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COVID-19: Lagos State to begin curfew on Sunday to disinfect metropolis, Lagos state government discharges 7 more coronavirus patients, Lagos state will reverse to full lockdown, Sanwo-Olu to virtually inaugurate projects as he presents scorecard of first year in office

Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, will virtually inaugurate housing, education, and road projects on May 29, as part of activities to mark his first year in office.

According to a report by NAN, the projects are part of the government’s efforts to renew infrastructure in critical sectors and to make the commercial centre a smart city.

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Some of the projects to be commissioned will be done virtually, while a few will be done on-site.

The projects

Lagos state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, listed some of the projects in an official statement. He said:

”In the education sector, Sanwo-Olu will conduct virtual inauguration of completed classroom blocks in Maya Secondary School, Ikorodu; Eva Adelaja Junior School, Bariga; and Saviour Primary School, Ifako-Ijaiye, among others. 

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“Virtual inauguration of completed works such as the Concrete Jetty in Baiyeku, Ikorodu, Aradagun-Ajido- Epeme Road in Badagry, and the Maryland Signalisation project also form part of the itinerary to commemorate the anniversary.”

(READ MORE: Lagos increases health workers’ allowances, commissions local production of face masks)

Omotoso also stated that the Governor would inaugurate the 360-unit Lagos Homes in Ikorodu, and then visit Igbogbo Baiyeku IIB Estate, Lekki, and the Courtland Villas on Femi Okunnu Estate during the week.

Plans for celebrating Children’s Day

 In a related development, Governor Sanwo-Olu will deliver an address on Wednesday May 27 to mark the children’s day celebration, and the 53rd anniversary of Lagos state.

Omotoso, however, noted that all celebrations would be kept on the low in reflection of the current challenges and realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Presenting one-year scorecards

The activities for the week are expected to begin with press briefings at J.J.T Park in Alausa on May 27, where members of the State Executive Council will present their scorecards in line with the six pillars of the state’s T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.

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(READ MORE: Lagos Medical workers call off strike, as IG sends strong warning to security agencies)

According to the information commissioner, there will be two sessions of press briefings daily from May 27 to June 3, as the Governor considers it expedient to render a stewardship account of the last one year.

“Three special publications highlighting the achievements of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration and testimonies of beneficiaries of various initiatives of the government are slated for presentation to the public by the governor and his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat,” he added.

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