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MultiChoice Agrees to Pay N35.4Bn as Part of  FIRS Tax Claim

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MultiChoice Group has agreed to pay N35.4 billion as part of its tax obligations to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

MultiChoice Agrees to Pay N35.4Bn as Part of  FIRS Tax Claim

This is about 10per cent of the initial claim filed by the Nigerian tax authorities, after a long period of negotiation.

Multichoice is the owner of DStv, Gotv, both popular subscription-based platforms in Nigeria.

According to a statement by the group, the total tax amount (35.4 billion naira) will be offset against the security deposits and good faith payments made to date.

This follows the country’s Federal Inland Revenue Service decision to freeze MultiChoice Nigeria’s accounts in 2022 after serving the Group with a 1.8 trillion naira ($1.27 billion) tax claim for its Nigeria operation and a $342 million claim for value-added taxes.

The tax agency claimed that it relied on the power it derived from Section 49 of the Companies Income Tax Act of 2004 as amended and Section 31 of the FIRS (Establishment) Act No. 13 of 2007.

Similar: MultiChoice suffers $50.2 million after-tax loss between April 1-Sept 30

The FIRS also explained that the decision to appoint the banks as agents and to freeze the accounts was a result of the groups’ continued refusal to grant FIRS access to their servers for audit

Technext24.com reported that the Muhammad Nami, then executive chairman of the FIRS, was quoted as saying, “The companies would not promptly respond to correspondences, they lacked data integrity and are not transparent as they continually deny FIRS access to their records.

At that time, the FIRS noted that the level of non-compliance by Multi-Choice Africa (MCA), the parent Company, the Multichoice Group was alarming.

It added that the parent company, which provided services to Multichoice Nigeria had never paid Value Added Tax (VAT) since its inception.

MultiChoice went to court to challenge the penalty imposed by the tax authority. However, the South African company subsequently withdrew all pending lawsuits and the Federal Inland Revenue Service agreed to conduct a forensic audit of MultiChoice’s accounts to determine the company’s tax liability.

The Multichoice group agreed to pay a total of $37.5 million, about 10% of the initial claim filed by the Nigerian tax authorities, after a long period of negotiation.

Multichoice to allow users share DStv streaming accounts

Technext24.com recall that in 2021, the FIRS issued notices of Assessment and Demand Notices in the sum of N1.8 trillion on MultiChoice. Subsequently, a Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) sitting in Lagos has ordered Multichoice to pay 50% of the N1.8 trillion which it had determined to be the amount the company hasn’t made in tax payments.

Similar: Multichoice confirms Nigerians will pay more for DStv, GOtv subscription from May 1st

Nigeria contributes about 34 per cent of total revenue for the Multi-Choice group. Next to Nigeria is Kenya with 11 per cent and Zambia in third place with about 10 per cent.

According to the group’s reports, the rest African countries where they have a presence account for 45 per cent of the group’s total revenue.

Additional report by technext24.com


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Nigeria’s Public Debt Now N121trn – DMO

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Debt Management Office (DMO) says Nigeria’s total public debt has reached N121.67 trillion within three months.

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The Cable reports that this figure represents an increase of N24.33 trillion or 24.99 percent from the N97.34 trillion as of December 2023.

Nigeria’s public debt profile consists of the federal and subnational governments’ domestic and external debt stocks — the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).

According to the DMO, the increase was primarily due to new domestic borrowing by the federal government to partly fund the deficit in the 2024 budget as well as disbursements by multilateral and bilateral lenders.

“Total domestic debt was N65.65 trillion (USD46.29 billion) while total external debt was N56.02 trillion (USD42.12 billion). Excluding naira exchange rate movements in Q1 2024, only the domestic debt component of total public debt grew from N59.12 trillion on December 31, 2023, to N65.65 trillion on March 31, 2024.

“The increase was from new borrowing to part-finance the 2024 Budget deficit and securitization of a portion of the N7.3 trillion Ways and Means Advances at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Whilst borrowing, as provided in the 2024 Appropriation Act, will continue, we expect improvements in the government’s revenue to enhance debt sustainability.”

On June 13, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, announced the approval of two major “financial support packages” by the World Bank — valued at $2.25 billion. In May, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said the federal government has secured a $500m World Bank loan to boost electricity distribution in the country.

Prior to this, the federal government had received $750 million from the World Bank for humanitarian and social reforms and $1.5 billion for its economic stabilisation plan.


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Icasa Orders Shutdown of StarSat, StarTimes SA Arm over License Controversy

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Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has declined to renew the license of On Digital Media, the operator behind StarSat, the South African branch of StarTimes Media.

Icasa Orders Shutdown of StarSat, StarTimes SA Arm over License Controversy

The decision, communicated in a letter to On Digital Media, mandates the company to cease operations by September 18, 2024, leaving the reasons for this decision and the steps required to secure a new license unclear.

Despite the shutdown order, Debbie Wu, CEO,  StarSat assured that the company will not be closing its operations anytime soon and is actively liaising with Icasa to find a resolution.

“We can assure you and the public that On Digital Media/StarSat will not be closing its operations anytime soon” Debbie Wu, CEO, On Digital Media.

“There’s been no notice to staff and StarTimes is still selling StarSat decoders to new customers,” an insider told TVwithThinus.

Reports that Icasa hadn’t renewed StarSat’s licence surfaced in early June 2024.

Icasa claimed it had sent a letter in mid-March to Wu and Ronald Reddy, general manager for legal, risk, and compliance, On Digital Media indicating it may issue a statement to inform subscribers, content providers, and financial stakeholders about the shutdown.

“Take note that Icasa may publish a notice on its website and/or in the Government Gazette advising affected subscribers, content providers and stakeholders about the winding up of ODM’s broadcasting services“, the regulator said.

Icasa clarified that it does not have the mandate to consider transfer or renewal applications for expired licenses and instructed On Digital Media to share its plan for notifying subscribers, content providers and stakeholders about the service cessation.

Wu stated that the company is exploring all regulatory and legal issues surrounding its licensing and reiterated that StarSat will continue its operations for the foreseeable future.

“Should such an event materialise, which we doubt will happen, we will respect our obligation in terms of the law to notify all interested parties,” Debbie Wu said, according to TVwithThinus.

 


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Climate Action Africa Reinforces Africa’s Urgency for Climate Change @CAAF24 Event in Lagos

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Climate Action Africa Forum 24 (CAAF24) held in Lagos, Nigeria marked a pivotal moment in the global effort to address climate change, organized by Climate Action Africa (CAA), a leading environmental advocate in Africa. CAAF24 aims to galvanize action and underscore the urgent need for climate action across industries and communities across Africa.

The event, held at the prestigious Landmark Center, brought together a diverse array of stakeholders including government officials, business leaders, academics, civil society representatives and the media.

The theme of this year’s forum, “Green Economies, Brighter Futures,” highlights the imperative for immediate and collective action in mitigating the effects of climate change in Africa and achieving global sustainability goals.

“CAAF24 serves as a critical platform for dialogue and collaboration,” said Grace Oluchi Mbah, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CAA.

“With the event, we aim to increase education and awareness on climate change, showcase innovations and projects driving Africa to a sustainable future, and more actively contribute to the expansion of Africa’s green economy.”

The program featured addresses from Her Excellency, Madame Ramatoulaye Diallo Ndiaye, Former Minister of Culture Mali and Founder and CEO of the Great Green Wall of Africa (GGWoA) Foundation who was the special keynote speaker.

There were breakout sessions for panel discussions and workshops that focused on key issues such as the potential of forests and carbon credits, climate financing, Nigeria’s carbon market activation, mobilizing private capital for climate-positive investments in Africa, building resilient and livable African Cities and more. Sessions were designed to encourage interactive participation and exchange of ideas among participants from diverse backgrounds and sectors.

In addition to formal sessions, CAAF24 included networking opportunities and showcased the selection of outstanding innovations from over 800 registerations through the Deal Room, a platform that connected high-impact climate innovators in Africa with potential investors seeking to accelerate sustainable solutions.

Other highlights at CAAF24 were the audacious launch of the Billion Trees for Africa Initiative as part of CAA’s community programs and the unveiling of the Pan-African Green Economy Program (PAGE), a partnership with IDEA AFRICA and the Founder Institute that seeks to grow a new generation of 5,000 green innovators across Africa by 2035.

The selection of Omoniyi Praise (1st position), Treasure Nwosu (2nd position) and Alabi Abimbola (3rd position) as winners for the Climate Champion Quest organised by STEAM Funfest also stood out at CAAF24.

As Africa faces increasingly severe climate impacts, CAAF24 is a platform that is committed to unifying the participation of diverse stakeholders in advancing and achieving climate action in Africa. By reinforcing the urgency of climate change through meaningful dialogue and collaboration, CAAF24 inspires concrete steps towards a more sustainable and equitable future for all.


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