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Is Sanwo-Olu Scared of Google, Facebook, Netflix, Others or Just Confused?

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Lagos Governor Suspends Director For Imposing 5% Tax on Audio, Visual Content Creators

Despite the Federal Government of Nigeria saying it has commenced plans to tax digital businesses like Google, Facebook, Netflix, Iroko Tv, Twitter and others operating in Nigeria’s huge online market place without paying the required taxes, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, who have been imposing taxes on various local businesses in Lagos State, has suspended Bamidele Balogun, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board.

In a statement released by the state after Jason Chukwuma Njoku, the CEO and Co-founder of iroko Tv, shared a letter signed by Bamidele Balogun notifying him of the state’s plan to implement ‘5 percent levy on all Audio and Visual content on all Physical and Digital platform’, the state said Balogun acted without necessary authorisation, hence his suspension.

Gbenga Omotosho, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State, disclosed in the statement.

The statement said “There is no levy on audio and visual contents of all physical and digital platforms in Lagos State. The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board, Mr. Bamidele Balogun, is said to have announced a five per cent levy.

“The government hereby dissociates itself from the said announcement in the media. The Executive Secretary, who was not authorised to make such an announcement, has been suspended, pending an administrative enquiry.”

Omotosho, therefore, said Lagos State government is not insensitive to the challenges businesses are facing during this tough period and empathises with this and other sectors of the economy.

The same Sanwo-olu that recently imposed a levy on ride-hailing companies operating in the state, is now holding back on technology companies that have recorded exponential growth during this pandemic.

For instance, Facebook Inc market value rose to $805.45 billion with Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth growing by $28.6 billion from the year-to-date to $107 billion during this pandemic.

Similarly, the market capitalisation of Google, Alphabet Inc, crossed one trillion to $1.08 trillion during this pandemic with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two owners, growing their net worths by $10.3 billion and $10.1 billion, respectively.

The same thing with Reed Hastings, the co-founder, chairman, and Co-chief executive officer of Netflix, who has increased his total fortune by $2.01 billion this year despite COVID-19 disruption to sit atop $6.24 billion fortune.

The question is does Sanwo-Olu knows what he is doing by imposing taxes on local ride-hailing companies that are the most affected by the lockdown and letting go of multinational businesses that have more than doubled their revenue during the lockdown? Or is Sanwo-Olu scared of American firms that are profiting at the expense of the state and Nigeria as a whole or just confused?

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.

Economy

Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS

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Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.

“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.

“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”

Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.

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Economy

Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey

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The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.

The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.

He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”

Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.

“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.

“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”

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Economy

Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom

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Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.

The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.

Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.

Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.

“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.

“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.

“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.

“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.

“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?

“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.

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