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5% Telecommunication Tax Stands; Says DG Budget Office

The Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze has maintained that the 5 percent telecommunication tax is still effective

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Telecommunications - Investors King

The Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze has maintained that the 5 percent telecommunication tax is still effective as the Budget Office of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of  Finance, Budget and National Planning had not been advised about the suspension.

Ben Akabueze opposed the position of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy. 

Investors King had earlier reported that the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami had announced that the Federal Government has suspended its proposed 5 percent excise duty on telecommunication services. 

The Ministry made the declaration on Monday during the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Committee on Excise Duty For Digital Economy where he lamented that the telecommunication sector is already overwhelmed by excessive and multiple taxations. 

Contrary to the position of the minister, Ben Akabueze stressed that the five percent tax on telecommunication services is part of the federal government’s projected revenue to fund the medium-term expenditure framework which has been passed into law.

Speaking on Arise News Television, Akabueze argued that a suspension of the 5 percent telecom tax will spell doom for the 2023 budget as it would further increase the budget deficit. 

He disclosed that there were several consultations with telecommunication operators before the bill was passed into law.

“This wasn’t something that the Ministry of Finance woke up and introduced. The finance bill went through the Federal Executive Council; it went to the National Assembly as, an executive bill from Mr President, there were public hearings, and at the end of the day they passed it into law” He said. 

“Let me say, I don’t know about the suspension, I mean, this is the law now. So, I haven’t heard beyond what I’ve read in the media. We haven’t been advised about the suspension. So, for instance, recently, the Federal Executive Council passed the medium-term expenditure framework for 2023 and 2025. That includes projections for this tax; that framework is currently before the National Assembly in the last two weeks, and the Finance Committee of the National Assembly has been holding engagements with agencies of government on this.

“So, when we are formally advised that this is no longer applicable, then we will have to rework the medium-term expenditure framework. What that means is, of course, that the projected revenues will diminish, and the deficits would increase, which means that we either have to cut back on expenditure or increase debt,” he concluded. 

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Telecommunications

Impact Amplifier, Google Launch African Online Safety Platform

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Impact Amplifier, with the financial support of Google.org, today launched its African Online Safety Platform (AOSP).

The Africa Online Safety Platform is an Africa-wide project and part of Impact Amplifier’s broader intention to address African Online Safety at a systemic level.

The African internet safety ecosystem is hindered by several issues, key among them is the lack of a central repository of all the online safety research that has been conducted on a broad spectrum of issues in Africa; lack of a central repository for education material for the plethora of online safety challenges relevant for African users; the absence of legal and social media platform support systems that are less complex and time consuming; and underfunding of the needed interventions.

The AOSP has been built to address all these challenges. The platform provides a rich repository of research, education content, funding opportunities and ways to seek help if an online crime has occurred.

The site is intended to address the complexity of understanding what online safety issues are affecting different parts of Africa, how to keep everyone and particularly young people safe online, how to teach online safety formally in schools and at home, funding opportunities for safety innovators, and how to get help if a crime or other violation has occurred.

The event also included a panel discussion with several of Impact Amplifier’s grantees which are part of its ecosystem solution.  These panellists reflected online safety innovators from South Africa and Kenya who discussed some of the complexities and solutions to staying safe online in Africa.

The panellists from South Africa were Craig Rosewarne, Managing Director Wolfpack Information Risk and Camaren Peter, Director/Executive Lead, Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC). Those from Kenya were Dennis Ratemo, Programme Manager, Terre des Hommes and Martha Sunda, Executive Director, Childline Kenya. Their discussions underscored the importance of solutions that were suited to local contexts in Africa.

Google SA Country Director, Dr Alistair Mokoena said: “We first partnered with Impact Amplifier in 2020, when we announced the initial fund. We have now launched version 2.0 to show that we remain committed to providing sustained and dedicated support to the online safety ecosystem in Africa, in order to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected from online harms and reap the benefits of the internet. We encourage the relevant parties to use this amazing new education and research resource and to apply to the fund.”

Speaking at the event, Impact Amplifier Director, Tanner Methvin said: “With over 570 million people having access to the internet in Africa, reflecting just under 47 per cent of the continent’s population, online safety concerns deserve utmost attention.”

The new platform, Methvin added, “offers innovative approaches to addressing the complex safety issues the internet presents. These range from unique ways of combating mis and disinformation, tracking of cyber criminals, supporting journalists targeted with hate speech and bullying, integrating online safety training into school curriculums, and much more,” he concluded.

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Nigeria Sees 707% Surge in 5G Subscriptions Since May 2023

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Broadband Penetration - Investors King

5G subscriptions in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria jumped in the last seven months as more Nigerians continue to embrace 5G connection.

According to recent data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), 5G subscriptions grew by 707% since May 2023 to 2.14 million in November of the same year.

This surge in 5G subscriptions reflects a growing appetite for advanced connectivity solutions among Nigerian consumers and businesses alike.

The advent of 5G technology promises unprecedented speed, reliability, and network capacity, laying the groundwork for revolutionary innovations across various sectors of the economy.

While 5G subscriptions have experienced exponential growth, the dominance of second-generation networks (2G) still persists in Nigeria’s mobile network landscape.

Despite the surge in 5G, 2G remains the primary mode of connectivity, controlling a significant portion of the market with 59.32% of total mobile subscriptions.

The rise of 5G subscriptions underscores the country’s commitment to embracing cutting-edge technology and fostering digital inclusion nationwide.

The deployment of 5G networks across Nigeria signifies a pivotal step towards unlocking new opportunities for economic growth, innovation, and social development.

In response to the burgeoning demand for 5G connectivity, major telecommunications providers in Nigeria, including MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, and Mafab Communications, have rolled out their own 5G networks.

These initiatives reflect a concerted effort to expand network coverage and enhance connectivity infrastructure across the country.

As Nigeria continues on its path towards digital transformation, the surge in 5G subscriptions signals a promising future characterized by enhanced connectivity, innovation, and socioeconomic progress.

The rapid adoption of 5G technology is poised to drive Nigeria’s digital agenda forward, positioning the country at the forefront of the global telecommunications landscape.

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Airtel Africa Director John Danilovich to Retire After AGM

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Airtel Financial Results - Investors King

Airtel Africa plc, a prominent telecommunications and mobile money services provider across 14 countries in Africa, is undergoing a significant change in its board composition.

The company has disclosed that John Danilovich, an independent non-executive director, intends to retire from his position following the conclusion of this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in July 2024.

John Danilovich’s decision to retire marks the end of an era characterized by his valuable contributions to Airtel Africa plc.

As an independent non-executive director, Danilovich has played a pivotal role in guiding the company’s strategic direction and governance practices.

During his tenure, Airtel Africa has witnessed notable growth and expansion, solidifying its position as a leading telecommunications and mobile money services provider on the African continent.

Danilovich’s leadership and expertise have undoubtedly been instrumental in steering the company through various challenges and opportunities in the dynamic telecommunications landscape.

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