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Why Reps will probe Glo, 9mobile, others

House of Rep has mandated its committee on ICT to investigate payment and remittance of tax accruable to the NITDA by GSM service providers.

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House of Representatives has mandated its committee on Information and Communication Technology to investigate payment and remittance of tax accruable to the National Information Technology Development Agency by GSM service providers.

This came after the lawmakers at a plenary on Friday adopted a motion moved by the member representing Ukwa East/Ukwa West Federal Constituency, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, and titled ‘Motion of Urgent Public Importance on Need to Investigate Payment and Remittances of Taxes Accruable to the National Information Technology Development Fund Established by the NITDA Act 2007.’

Why Reps will probe Glo, 9mobile, others

Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta

Details of probe: The Committee is expected to “investigate payment and remittance of tax accruable to the NITDF by GSM service providers and all telecommunication companies as well as cyber companies and internet providers since 2008 till date.”

The House is concerned about reports of non-payment and underpayment of taxes accruable to the NITDF by licensed mobile network operators, international data access license owners, interconnect clearinghouse license owners. Others are cyber companies and internet providers, international gateway license owners, unified access license owners, and the international submarine cable and international landing station license owners.

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“The House is alarmed that the reports suggest that from the end of the 2008 financial year, when the NITD tax became operational, till date, the taxable companies such as Glo and Airtel have only paid tax for four years while 9mobile has not paid at all, Nkem-Abonta said.”

[READ MORE: Senate: New bill to take away road ownership and repairs from FG]

Why it matters: The lawmakers are bent on taking them up as they believe these companies make huge amount of annual profits that run into billions of naira and may, with the aid of the FIRS officials, be resorting to sharp practices that will enable them to declare loss or less profit, thereby avoiding payment of NITD tax or making underpayment.

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“The House is worried that if companies are allowed to evade or underpay tax, Nigeria will continue to lose a veritable source for generation of revenue and development will be slow or hampered,” he added.

The lawmaker also noted that Section 12 of the Act established NITDF, into which is paid a levy of one per cent of the profit before tax of companies and enterprises enumerated in the Third Schedule of the Act, with an annual turnover of N1billion and above.

He stressed that in accordance with the provisions of the NITDA Act, the FIRS was mandated to assess, collect and pay all accruable levies into the fund, while the board of NITDA had powers to manage the fund.

Meanwhile, Nairametrics had reported that the Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON) has called on the Federal Government to address the issue of multiple taxes, which it described as irrelevant, as it stifles economic growth.

Chairman, ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, in an interview, said the development had been a recurrent decimal that requires Executive Order.

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Why it matters: Over-taxation has several consequences. Foremost, it necessarily limits Nigeria’s economic growth because it directly limits telecoms operators’ expansion drive and thwarts sector investment and advancement.

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He said, “This then limits digital inclusion and mobile penetration. As some of these taxes are passed on to consumers, the vicious cycle continues, as mobile/data usage falls, the government tax net remains narrow and revenue targets are not met. 

“Our major challenge stems from the activities of supposed landowners of infrastructure sites, states, and local governments. We have instances where state and local government authorities have physically invaded offices, locked up base stations, and employed other unwholesome tactics to enforce these taxes and levies.”   

Network providers wants Facebook, WhatsApp to pay levy as Nigerians dump SMS 

[READ MORE: NCC’s restriction on VAS is endangering Telcos – ALTON]

He called for an urgent re-evaluation of Nigeria’s fiscal priorities fit for population explosion set to occur over the next two decades.

“The current fiscal landscape reflects an approach that emphasises short term unsustainable gain at the expense of long term sustainable growth. No nation has ever taxed itself into prosperity. Governments do need money. How often, and from whom they take it, are difficult political issues; but we must ask the questions that lead us on a path to envisioning a better Nigeria for us all. 

“We must designate telecoms assets as critical national infrastructure, to safeguard the lifeblood of our nation from disruptive actions with rising insecurity and terrorist activity, our intelligence and emergency forces,” he added.

Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper. The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference. The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]

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Energy

Engineer Sanusi Garba assumes office as Chairman of NERC

The new NERC boss has assumed office today in an investiture event witnessed by other Commissioners of the Commission.

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Engineer Sanusi Garba, today, December 3, 2020, formally assumed office as the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

This is according to the statement issued by the media team of the NERC via the official Twitter handle of the Commission.

Engineer Garba whose appointment was confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday will be replacing Professor James Momoh, the outgoing chairman of the Commission.

Speaking at the handover ceremony today, the New Chairman of the Commission recognized the efforts and the hard work of Prof. Momoh and thanked the outgoing chairman for his contributions to the development of the Commission and the sector in general.

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However, Professor Momoh on his part pledged his continuous support to the Commission and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve the country.

What you should know

  • The new Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engineer Sanusi Garba is a seasoned professional in the Nigerian Energy Supply Industry (NESI), and also a top officer in the Commission.
  • Prior to his nomination as the Chairman of NERC, Garba served as the Vice Chairman of NERC, under the leadership of Prof. Momoh. He also served as the Chief Executive of Katsina Steel Rolling Co. Ltd and the Director (Power) in the Federal Ministry of Power with responsibility for the Generation, Transmission and Distribution aspects of the electricity industry.
  • He also served as Executive Director (Generation) at the Niger Delta Power Holding Co. Ltd during which he provided technical and commercial leadership for the efficient operation of seven (7) NIPP thermal power plants.
  • Engr Garba, who is a seasoned professional has served on many Federal Government Committees including the Presidential Committee on Power Sector Reform (2007/8) and the Presidential Task Force on Power (2009/10).

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: Sanwo-Olu gifts families of slain police officers N10 million each

Governor Sanwo-Olu has compensated the families of slain police officers with the sum of N10 million each.

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The Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has brought respite to the families of police officers killed during the violence witnessed in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.

According to the disclosure on the Twitter page of the Lagos State Government, the families were handed a cheque of N10 million each and the children of the slain officers awarded scholarships by the government.

What they are saying: Commenting on the recent development, a tweet by the Lagos State Government read thus: “Governor @jidesanwoolu handing over a cheque of 10 million naira each to the families of police officers who lost their lives during the unrest that followed the EndSARS protest and awarding scholarship to their children.’’

Why this matters: The recent effort by the Governor is in fulfillment of the promise he had earlier made to compensate affected victims of the post-EndSARS protest which led to the loss of lives and valuable properties both in the state and the country at large.

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The compensation will be viewed by serving officers as a motivation, aimed at promoting patriotism, loyalty, commitment and dedication to national service.

What you should know

  • Lagos State Government had earlier set up a N200 million fund for victims of police brutality
  • As a follow-up, Nairametrics had earlier reported that Lagos State Government offered scholarships to children of slain police officers.

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Corporate Press Releases

How digital transformation will impact Nigeria’s projected $8.79 billion economic expansion

Businesses will need to invest in appropriately reskilling and upskilling the national workforce to create a better digital Nigeria.

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The Nigerian economy is projected to grow by $8.79 billion in the next three years to 2023, driven largely by the ICT, agriculture, health, finance and insurance sectors, according to a new study by global training providers elev8 and the BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit (BRIU).

More than half of the projected growth will come from the ICT sector, as companies continue to create innovative products and services leveraging ICT and telecoms. To take advantage of this growth, however, businesses will need to invest in appropriately reskilling and upskilling the national workforce to create a better digital Nigeria.

The research comes off the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has laid bare the digital divide, with those businesses having invested sufficiently in their digital capabilities overtaking those firms who failed to do so.

However, this trend of digitally forward businesses outperforming their technology-inferior counterparts isn’t new, the study reveals. Analysis of the data, which went back as far as 1992, showed that the major companies outperforming others in Nigeria are those that spend more on upskilling, research and development, and technology acquisition.

Economic rewards await

In recognition of its benefits, Nigeria has made efforts in the past, and continues to make more efforts at digitalizing its economy. The progress made in Nigeria’s ICT sub sector has had a positive effect on its gross domestic product (GDP). Research shows that the sector’s contribution to GDP has risen from 7.70 percent in 2012 to 14.30 percent by Q2 2020.

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Meanwhile, the Nigerian government’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, launched in 2019, aims to improve digital literacy and skills to build out the country’s digital capabilities.

However, the digital infrastructure readiness in Nigeria is still far below the global average. For this to be upgraded, the current skill set of government employees working in this area will need to be updated. This should warrant the designing of training programs that will help the government raise the level of digital infrastructure in Nigeria in the shortest possible time and at affordable costs.

The high economic rewards from closing the digital skills gap should see this become an even greater priority. If the entire Nigerian economy is digitalized, the country could take a bigger bite of the global digital economy, which is estimated at $11.5 trillion.

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Where digital leaders are made

Global training provider elev8 offers training programs focused on the latest technologies, and is uniquely placed to help businesses and the Nigerian government connect to opportunities as highlighted in the report.

Bringing together renowned industry experts, elev8 offers the flexibility of virtual classrooms or face-to-face programs, depending on what’s best for the organization and its learners.

Taking a holistic approach, power skills like communication, collaboration and analytical thinking are embedded into elev8’s technical training in order to develop well-rounded digital experts who can bring the most value to their employers.

Training methods are practical and action-based – built around projects, tackling real business challenges – enabling learners to put theory into practice from the day one.

No matter the technical need, elev8 can design and implement bespoke solutions tailored to a company’s individual requirements.

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elev8’s global academy equips business leaders, teams and organizations with the skills they need to leverage the technologies of the future and transform Nigeria into a knowledge-based economy.

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To read the report in full, or to discover more about the elev8 training academy, go to www.elev8me.com/en-us/africa.

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