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20m Nigerians to Lose Access to Telecoms Services – ATCON

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Telecommunications
  • 20m Nigerians to Lose Access to Telecoms Services

The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria has said the passing into law of the nine per cent Communications Service Tax bill currently before the Senate would deprive 20 million Nigerians access to telecommunications services.

This was contained in a statement issued on Saturday in Lagos by ATCON’s President, Mr. Olusola Teniola, after he led a delegation of his members on a courtesy visit to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

He urged the Senate to use its legislative powers to reduce the nine per cent CST to 0.2 per cent.

According to the ATCON president, the nine per cent new tax on telecommunication services being proposed by the National Assembly will exclude 20 million Nigerians, which represent 10 per cent of the country’s population, from accessing telecommunication services, the News Agency of Nigeria reports .

“ATCON’s mandate is to make meaningful input to all aspects of economic development, including legislation and management of telecommunication industry, so it continues to oil growth and development. The ongoing work on the proposed nine per cent Communication Service Tax Bill is a trending subject.

“We will be happy to support the government to make the best of our tax efforts, which certainly are key components of strengthening the economy and sustaining our industry. Contrary to uninformed opinions, we do not object to reforms in taxation, neither do we regard taxes as burden,” Teniola said.

He added, “We ask for a reconsideration of the CST Bill; we recommend, as an alternative, a tax reform that increases the current Value Added Tax by a new one per cent added for the purpose of development of communications. Another alternative is that the tax being proposed in the bill should be limited to 0.2 per cent.”

Teniola pleaded that the template, with which the telecommunication industry was viewed and assessed, should be slightly modified.

“The truth is that there is severe over-taxation in our industry. It explains the slow penetration of services into areas yet to be covered by our services across the country. Contrary to popular belief, telecommunication operators and service providers are barely sustaining their existence in these hard times.

“There are reasons to suggest that the desire to widen the tax net is laudable and that as things stand telecommunication is about one of the few areas where the net-capture may be widened,” the ATCON boss stated.

Responding, Senate President, Bukola Saraki assured the ATCON leadership that the Senate would only make laws that would boost the economy.

“The ICT sector is critical to the Nigerian economy; as a result, the Senate will never make laws that will push the sector into a negative performance. Rather, the Senate will make laws that will increase its performance to generate revenue and create jobs,” Saraki said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting

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oil

Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension

Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.

“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.

Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.

“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.

Meanwhile, the U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.

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Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

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Crude oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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