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Apple Wins $15 Billion Appeal Against European Commission

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Apple Beats the European Commission on $15 Billion Tax Judgment

Apple Inc, a global tech giant, has just won a record 13 billion Euro or $14.9 billion appeal against the European Commission.

In 2016, the European Commission had ordered the tech giant to pay $14.9 billion in back taxes to the Irish government.

This, the EU’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, called a ‘sweetheart deal’ as at the time and explained that the Irish government, a member of the European Union, does not have a single right to exempt Apple from paying tax.

“Member States cannot give tax benefits to selected companies — this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” Vestager stated in 2016. “The Commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years.”

The Irish government and Apple immediately refuted the commission judgment and filed two separate appeals with the European General Court, with Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, calling the European Commission decision ‘total political crap.’

On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, the European General Court annulled the European Union Commission judgment regarding Irish tax rules.

The General Court said, “the Commission did not succeed in showing to the requisite legal standard that there was an advantage” for Apple.

“The General Court considers that the commission did not prove, in its alternative line of reasoning, that the contested tax rulings were the result of discretion exercised by the Irish tax authorities,” said the court.

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.

Technology

FarmFix to Use Technology to Achieve Food Security

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The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of FarmFix Investments, Damilola Oladehin, has said his company would use technology in achieving food security in the country.

FarmFix is an integrated farm and agro-allied business that is innovatively and technologically driven to, according to the management of the company, ensure food security and sustainable returns on investment for the stakeholders or investors.

During a virtual press briefing held from their head office in Ibadan, Oladehin said that their company, FarmFix focuses on the entire agricultural value-chain, investment, production, processing, trading and exporting.

He said, “FarmFix is a leading agribusiness offering diversified farm products, services and profitable projects. Our vision is to be a leading player in the agricultural industry space and investment destination for individuals and organisations that want to be involved in farming. Our mission is to increase the nation’s food security while creating wealth for her people.”

Speaking on the unique selling point of the company, he stressed that though it was true that many other agro-investment companies may have reneged on financial returns accrued to investors, especially those who were not directly involved in farming, FarmFix was poised to regain the trust deficit of agro-investors.

“Many companies have rushed into the business without any pedigree. They say they are in the business of rice farming but all they do is buy in small quantities and rebag for sale. At FarmFix, we are here to fix the problems mitigating against all stakeholders, especially investors.

“We have acquired various expanses of land around Nigeria for rice planting and have started harvesting in some of our farms, we are in partnership with a rice mill currently nearing completion and the business is fully insured by a leading insurance company in Africa.

“For us, our business starts from planting the seedling till it gets to the consumers’ tables. Our team is led by astute professionals whose industry leadership would be achieved through the integrity of our skilled and knowledgeable workforce.

“We foster a culture of personal and professional integrity characterised by trust, respect, and a spirit of partnership among employees and investors. Innovative and diversified services drive our continuing profitable growth while providing the scope and flexibility to accommodate the customised needs of our clients nationwide”, he said.

Also speaking at the event, the Business Development Manager, Bisi Adeyemi, highlighted the potentials of the agricultural market in Nigeria, Africa’s fastest growing and second largest economy.

He said that all activities necessary to bring about the transformation of Nigerian agriculture hinges on agribusiness spanning services from production, manufacturing of agro-inputs, packaging and distribution besides extension of credit facilities for agricultural investments.

He assured potential future investors that the company would guarantee its mandate by ensuring that quality of service and market expectation is fulfilled.

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Telecommunications

Glo Enriches Customers’ Experience With Glo Café

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In line with its commitment to delivering value, National Telecommunications Company, Globacom has unveiled Glo café, a self-care application that offers customers a convenient self-service channel to manage their accounts.

Globacom, in a statement in Lagos, said that the newly repackaged app was designed to unify Glo services under one platform, thus empowering Glo subscribers to manage their mobile accounts hassle-free.

“It is a one-stop entertainment shop with unfettered access to a plethora of content covering video, music, sports, comedy, celebrity news and gist. The Glo Café is available for FREE on Web, Google Play Store and Apple App Store”. Glo said.

The company explained that its extensive research into the needs of customers, their understanding and requirements for a simple and time-efficient platform offering customer support underscored the need for the development of the app.

It added that “The launch of Glo Café is part of our efforts to deliver the best customer experience in the digital space and empower customers with a convenient, non-intrusive and 24/7 available channel of support. The self-care app is a simple, secure and convenient way for Glo mobile customers to access a whole host of functionalities- buying, sharing and gifting of data, borrowing credit and data, recharging any Glo account and paying postpaid bills, accessing Value Added Services (VAS), among other things”.

Glo customers will also have access to a world-class gaming portfolio, and easy access to customer support – including direct contact to call center executives, raising service-related requests, chatting with agents, etc, in addition to entertainment content including top-rated music, videos, comedy and sports.

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Fintech

Adebola Sanni: FinTech, Solution to Africa’s Financial Inclusion Problems

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Financial inclusion and provision of sustainable energy is at a turning point in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria. With a population of over 200 million, about 50 per cent of the total population live in rural areas, and only 39 per cent of those living in rural communities have access to electricity. This is in addition to over 40 per cent of the entire population who are financially excluded or underserved.

However, the proliferation of digital financial services in Nigeria – powered largely by growth in fin-tech companies – has catalysed an unparalleled increase in the current number of people with access to formal financial services, while further opening up opportunities to address power supply challenges across rural communities; a major feat instrumental towards achieving the broad Sustainable Development Goal 7. With over 200 fin-tech companies in operation within its borders, Africa’s largest economy has found a way to target and capture over 40 per cent of its financially excluded or underserved population.

In a conversation with Adebola Sanni, co-founder, Infibranches Technologies and the Group Head, Business Development & Partnerships at Swifta Systems and Services, she highlighted the growing awareness of the transformative power of fin-tech and how if properly harnessed can help address both problems of financial inclusion and the more pressing sustainability challenges in the area of affordable and reliable power supply needed to drive the growth of local economies.

“Fintech has increasingly provided innovative ways to address existing gaps in the availability, accessibility and use of finance particularly among the unbanked population. By leveraging the proliferation of technology, agent banking and mobile money solutions now offer affordable, instant, and reliable transactions, savings, credit across rural communities where no bank had ever established a branch. Similarly, about 75 million Nigerians who mostly fall within the financially underserved or excluded demography live without reliable electricity access as the existing electrical grid serves largely the country’s urban population.”

“We understand how pivotal the provision of sustainable power is to driving growth of local economies in rural communities and by extension the need to boost financial services penetration across these communities. These are both enablers for catalysing positive transformation and driving sustainable economic progress across the country.”

Adebola, a leading business strategist and technology consultant also said, “To address these challenges, we believe distributed energy solutions that leverage digital payments will open up opportunities to reach the underserved market at low cost.”

We partnered NGOs, including Shell Foundation, USAID, to extend agent networks together with off grid energy providers in 2019 where we set up about 200 agent locations across Nigeria, identifying communities across the rural and peri-urban regions with needs for both power and financial services. We also partnered renewable energy companies such as Green Light Planet (Sun King), D.Light Solar, Sosai, PAS BBoxx, Konexa to set up payment points necessary to expand access to highly subsidized power for such communities.

“This solution provides affordable home solar systems to rural communities with an affordable and convenient payment structure where beneficiaries pay as low as N500 (less than $2 dollar a month) which allows for people to pay off the cost in a year to fully own the solar equipment.”

Till date, over 400,000 people have been impacted across 22 States and 108 local government areas in Nigeria through various initiatives supporting energy access especially in rural areas. The addition of the ‘Solar Power Naija project’ by the Federal government initiative under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) and managed by REA, for off-grid communities, will further expand energy access to 25 million individuals through the provision of Solar Home Systems (SHS) or connection to a mini grid. This is a good initiative to help expand energy access faster.

One of the success stories underpinning how providing innovative energy solutions can transform communities is the Havenhills mini-grid project in Kigbe community located in Kwali Local Government Area Council, Abuja. Before executing the project, the Kigbe community with geographical limitations had no electricity as they were completely off-grid. The project upon completion delivered a 20KW solar enabled mini-grid through 3km 3-phases and 1-phase grid lines to 145 homes, enabling them to power basic electrical appliances such as light bulbs, fans and TVs. The project also supports 5 local businesses including a barbing salon, grocery store and viewing center.

As part of creating sustainable economic empowerment, Adebola Sanni, who has strong passion for financial inclusion and energy access, has facilitated the implementation of a pioneer digital infrastructure that supports micro insurance, pension and savings providers and the first API infrastructure that aggregates renewable energy products and services making them accessible to any payment service providers, banks and other financial and non-financial institutions.

She is vastly experienced in driving growth, creating market focused products and providing innovative solutions to businesses in Financial Technology, eCommerce, Telco and Private/Publics sectors as well creating partnership opportunities for growth.

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