- Call Masking: NCC Sanctions Operators, Bars 750,000 Lines
The Nigerian Communications Commission on Tuesday announced a number sanctions to some operators in the telecommunications industry for their involvement in masking of international calls.
Masking involves concealing international calls coming into a country and presenting them as local in order to make profits from the difference in prices between local and international calls.
The sanctions announced by the NCC ranged from suspension of licences to issuance of warning letters.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by the Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, the telecommunications regulatory agency also announced that it had begun the second phase of investigation on the involvement of digital mobile operators in masking activities.
Ojobo said, “The NCC has recently been inundated with complaints from service providers and consumers regarding the high incidence of call masking, call refiling and SIM boxing. Generally, the practice complained of involves disguising international calls as local calls in order to profit from price differentials between international and local calls.
“Apart from the resultant loss of revenue by service providers, the practice also has some negative security implications. Following a painstaking investigation process, which included collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Department of State Services, the commission has imposed a range of sanctions on licensees involved in the fraudulent practice.”
The sanctions include suspension of the interconnect clearing house licence issued to Medallion Communications Limited for a period of 90 days, in the first instance, and issuance of a strong warning to Interconnect Clearinghouse Nigeria Limited.
Others are disconnection of Information Connectivity Solutions Limited and Solid Interconnectivity Services Limited from all networks until they regularise their operations, and issuance of letters to Exchange Telecoms Limited, NiconnX Limited and Breeze Micro Limited, cautioning them against engaging in the fraudulent practice.
The commission also barred over 750,000 numbers assigned to several Private Network Links and Local Exchange Operator licensees. The number ranges were found to have been utilised for the masking activity.
Ojobo said the sanctioned entities were found to be directly and indirectly complicit in several infractions, including covertly allowing organisations with expired licences to transit calls and failure to undertake due diligence on parties seeking to interconnect.
Other infractions include deliberately turning a blind eye to masking infractions by interconnect partners and using a licence issued to other organisation to bring in and terminate international calls, which were masked as local calls to other operators.
Regarding the barring of numbers, Ojobo said over 750,000 individual numbers across the nation, made up of about 31 number ranges had been barred.
The licensees whose numbers were barred are Vezeti Communications Services Limited, Voix Networks Limited, Mobitel Limited, Peace Global Satellite Communications Limited, ABG Communications Limited and Vodacom Business Africa (Nigeria) Limited.
Others are Swift Telephone Networks Limited, QVODA Telecoms Limited, Wireless Telecoms Limited and Emcatel Networks Limited.
The commission found that some of these firms were terminating millions of minutes, whereas they only had very few active customers, Ojobo added.
The NCC spokesperson stated, “The commission is pleased to note that the incidence of call masking has significantly reduced since it commenced a multi-faceted approach to address the menace.
“The commission hereby informs all stakeholders that the actions so far taken are just the first stage of the exercise. The second stage, which has now commenced, will focus on the Mobile Network Operators and other persons involved in SIM boxing.
“The aim of the commission is to completely stamp out the fraudulent practice in the overall interest of all Nigerians. Accordingly, every service provider that has been sanctioned still has an opportunity to correct the identified anomalies and satisfy the commission that it should be allowed to continue to operate in Nigeria.”
He added that the NCC reserved the right to revoke the licences of such service providers where they failed to take the necessary corrective measures.
More Stimulus is Welcomed – But What’s Needed is Smarter Stimulus
Stock markets are cautiously upbeat that a stimulus package can be agreed in the U.S. before the November 3 election – but even if it does happen, it’s likely to be a “short-lived sticking plaster” that masks the major long-term issue: unemployment.
This is the warning from Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations.
It comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke again on Tuesday – the deadline imposed by the Speaker – as the two sides try and strike a deal over another significant fiscal stimulus package ahead of the election.
Earlier this month, Republican senators slammed a $1.8 trillion offer made by the Trump administration to the Democrats as too big, an offer Ms Pelosi dismissed as “insufficient.”
Discussions are due to continue on Wednesday upon the Secretary’s return to Washington.
Nigel Green warns: “No doubt, a breakthrough of the deadlock that would allow for more stimulus would provide a lifeline to millions and millions of Americans.
“U.S. and global markets are, generally, cautiously optimistic that a deal can be agreed by the two sides.
“There’s a sentiment that something will have to materialize – and this is fueling markets.
“However, the window of opportunity is closing and it is not yet a done deal.
“If talks collapse, the markets will inevitably be disappointed and there’s likely to be a short-lived sell-off.”
He continues: “Even if Pelosi and Mnuchin can get another massive stimulus package agreed, and U.S. and global markets rise, this is likely to serve only as a sticking plaster.
“A market rally is going to be difficult to be sustained due to the enormous uncertainty created by other factors including the presidential election, a possible looming constitutional crisis in the world’s largest economy, and the growing Covid-19 infections in America and other major economies.”
The deVere CEO goes on to add: “Getting over the political impasse would help boost the economy and deliver much-needed money to Americans, but the major, lasting issue triggered by the pandemic remains: mass unemployment, which will hit demand, growth and investment.
“As such, a swift rebound for the U.S. economy is doubtful as unemployment claims continue to rise.
“That V-shaped recovery talked about by so many? That will be impossible with so many millions facing long-term unemployment.”
Whilst it is certainly positive that unemployment has fallen from 15% in the U.S. to 11% in recent weeks, it should be remembered that this is still at the same rate of the 2008 crash.
In addition, a second wave of soaring unemployment could hit imminently as some support measures wind-down and business’ and households’ savings and resources have been already run-down.
Mr Green concludes: “Near-term support for sure, but a long-term strategy – a multi-year vision – for growth and investment is essential.
“What’s needed is not just more stimulus, but smarter stimulus.”
The Highest Corporation Taxes Around the World and the Main Drivers Behind them
Taxes Pay by Corporation Around the World and the Main Drivers Behind them
While corporation tax rates are influenced by the country’s definition, there’s clearly a pattern with developing countries and emerging economies paying higher rates to sustain the country.
The top five richest countries in the world’s corporation tax are relatively varied, with Luxemburg standing at 27.08%, Norway at 22%, Iceland at 20%, Switzerland at 18% and Ireland at 12.5%. It would appear that some countries’ cultures factor into how much tax they pay. For example, Scandinavian countries are proud to pay higher taxes to contribute to social welfare.
On average, Africa has the highest corporation tax rate throughout the world’s continents at 28.45% and South America, the second highest with an average rate of 27.63%. However, Europe stands at the lowest rate of 20.27%. Does this contradict the claim that developed countries pay higher tax?
OECD explained that corporation tax plays a key part in government revenue. This is particularly true in developing countries, despite the global trend of falling rates since the 1980s. Let’s take a closer look at two continents, South America and Africa, paying the highest corporation tax rates in the world.
South America has most countries in highest corporation tax top 10
According to data analysed, Brazil and Venezuela have the highest corporation tax at 34%, followed closely by Colombia at 33%, and Argentina at 30%, making South America the continent with the most countries in the top 10 who pay the highest corporation tax.
It is unclear whether South America, as an emerging continent, is charging higher taxes in order to raise government revenue or to benefit from businesses that are looking to expand internationally and enter new markets. According to research, South America is becoming a popular choice for business to enter, with strong trade links and an advantageous geographic location. Indeed, South America is a large continent where some countries are business friendly and others are harder to penetrate.
Africa: the continent with the highest average corporation tax
Being the poorest continent in the world, Africa unsurprisingly has the highest average corporation tax at 28.45%. With the highest in this data being Zambia at 35% and the lowest being Libya and Madagascar at 20%, South Africa stands roughly in the middle at 28%, slightly above average for Africa overall. Does this mean that South Africa is the safest bet for business?
South Africa is one of Africa’s largest economies, with 54 diverse countries in terms of political stability, development, growth, and population. As South Africa has been a relatively slow growth area over the years, corporation tax dropped from 34.55% in 2012 to the current rate — but was this effective? GDP in South Africa has fluctuated quite dramatically since the 1960s. Business favours countries with political stability, which is something South Africa doesn’t currently have. Furthermore, South Africa’s government debt to GDP sits roughly in the middle of the continent’s countries — is this influencing their corporate tax rate?
|Puerto Rico||North America||37.5|
|Sri Lanka||Asia Pacific||28|
|New Zealand||Asia Pacific||28|
|South Korea||Asia Pacific||25|
|United States||North America||21|
|Saudi Arabia||Middle East||20|
|Hong Kong||Asia Pacific||16.5|
Lucy Desai is a content writer at QuickBooks, a global company offering the world’s leading accountancy software.
Nigeria’s Crude Oil Production Declined to 1.31mbpd in September
Nigeria’s Crude Oil Output Declined from 1.37mbpd in August to 1.31mbpd in September
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reported that Nigeria’s crude oil production declined by 58,000 barrels per day in the Month of September when compared to the nation’s oil production of August.
In its latest oil market report, the cartel said Nigeria produced 1.37 million barrels per day in the month of August but that number declined by 58,000 to 1.31 million barrels per day in September. Bringing the total decline for the 30 days of september to 1.74 million barrels.
On oil price movement in September, the organisation said prices settled lower in the month under review after four consecutive months of gains.
OPEC Reference Basket declined by 8.1 percent or $3.65 in September to $41.54 per barrel, while it moderated to $40.62 per barrel from the year-to-date.
Commenting on the recent changed in Nigeria’s monetary policy rate, the oil cartel said “the recent cut is a part of the policy to continue supporting the economy that plunged 6.1 per cent in the second quarter hit by the global pandemic.
“Nevertheless, Nigeria’s annual inflation rate surged to the highest rate since March 2018 in August 2020, as it rose to 13.22 per cent year-on-year from 12.82 per in in July.”
Oil prices sustained bullish trend on Thursday after data showed U.S oil inventories declined last week.
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