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Multichoice Gets Approval to Appeal N1.8Trillion FIRS Claims

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The Lagos Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) that Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV, has met the conditions to appeal against the N900bn levied on it by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Multichoice Gets Approval to Appeal N1.8Trillion FIRS Claims

The decision is coming two months after a Tax Appeal Tribunal sitting in Lagos ordered Multichoice to pay 50 per cent of N1.8trn which the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had determined through a forensic audit to be the tax liability owed the government by Multichoice Nigeria.

By this, Multichoice is to pay the sum of N900bn to the tax authority before the matter could be heard.

The FIRS had on April 7, issued Notices of Assessment and Demand Note in the sum of N1.82trn to Multichoice, which was disputed.

Not comfortable with the decision, Multichoice filed a suit in the TAT in August which it was ordered to settle the 50 per cent based on the Order XI of the TAT Procedure Rules 2010.

The court had told Multichoice that for the case to be heard, based on the Order XI of the TAT Procedure Rules 2010, it must make the statutory deposit required under Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 (FIRS Act).

In certain defined circumstances to which the Multichoice appeal fits, Paragraph 15(7) of the Fifth Schedule to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007 (FIRS Act) requires persons or companies seeking to contest a tax assessment to pay all or a stipulated percentage of the tax assessed before they can be allowed to argue their appeal contesting the assessment at TAT.


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How Afam Osigwe Emerged New NBA President

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Afam Osigwe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria has emerged as the president-elect of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) following the 2024 NBA election held online.

Afam Osigwe

Osigwe secured the highest number of votes, with 20,395, surpassing his closest rival, Tobenna Erojikwe, who got 10,970 votes, and Chukwuka Ikwuazom (SAN), who received 9,007 votes.

He will succeed the outgoing president, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN).

See below the other positions filled by the newly elected executives of the NBA:

1st Vice-President: Sabastine Anyia defeated Bartholomew Aguegbodo

2nd Vice-President: Mrs. Bolatumi Animashaun with 26,534 votes, defeating Pius Oiwoh, who scored 11,121 votes.

3rd Vice-President: Mrs. Zainab Garba with 23,550 votes, defeating Michael Olorunmola, who received 13,897 votes.

General Secretary: Dr. Mobolaji Ojibara with 25,713 votes, defeating Abdulwasiu Alfa, who received 11,730 votes.

Assistant General Secretary: Henry Ehi with 28,552 votes, defeating Oluwaseun Aka, who received 8,317 votes.

Treasurer: Mrs. Blessing Udofa-Poromon with 17,998 votes, defeating Mbamala Chukwuemeka, who garnered 9,825 votes.

Publicity Secretary: Mrs. Bridget Edokwe with 19,542 votes, defeating Charles Ajiboye, who scored 10,989 votes.

Assistant Publicity Secretary: Miss Ebiere Ekpese with 26,955 votes, defeating Lawrence Ayewa, who scored 9,690 votes.

Welfare Secretary: Nyada Auta with 18,369 votes, defeating Oaikhena Osagie, who scored 12,855 votes.


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Nigeria Makes Giant Strides in Economic Growth and Continental Leadership with the Launch of Guided Trade Initiative Under AfCFTA 

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Nigeria has embarked on a historic endeavor with the launch of the Guided Trade Initiative under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signaling a pivotal moment in boosting intra-African trade and fostering economic diversification. Spearheaded by President Bola Tinubu, this initiative is anticipated to unlock an estimated $50 billion in economic opportunities for Nigerian businesses.

President Tinubu underscored AfCFTA’s transformative potential, positioning it not merely as a trade pact but as a catalyst for industrialization, equitable growth, and continental prosperity. Nigeria is steadfast in creating an enabling business environment that fosters innovation and enhances the competitiveness of local enterprises across diverse sectors.

The launch event, supported by international partners such as the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation (BMZ), celebrated Nigeria’s leadership role in AfCFTA’s implementation. The Country Director for GIZ Nigeria and ECOWAS, represented by GIZ ECOWAS Cluster Coordinator, Svenja Ossman, highlighted Germany’s commitment through the ECOWAS AfCFTA project, aimed at bolstering the implementation framework across West Africa.

“We are pleased to witness Nigeria’s official commencement of trade under the preferential regime established by AfCFTA,” stated the GIZ country director. “Germany acknowledges Nigeria’s proactive stance in advancing regional economic integration and pledges support in aligning national efforts with ECOWAS-coordinated AfCFTA strategies.”

The GIZ ECOWAS AfCFTA support project has been pivotal in providing technical assistance to Nigeria through the AfCFTA National Action Committee, now called, the Nigeria AfCFTA Coordination Office (NACO). This support includes the development of a comprehensive Action Plan aimed at optimizing trade facilitation and maximizing opportunities for Nigerian businesses, including women and youth entrepreneurs.

“We commend Nigeria’s dedication in preparing the AfCFTA implementation Action Plan,” continued the GIZ country director. “In collaboration with relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), we anticipate finalizing this plan to ensure robust financial and institutional support for its successful rollout.”

Emphasizing the importance of collaboration, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, National Coordinator of NACO, highlighted the transformative impact of AfCFTA on Nigeria’s economic landscape. The conversion of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA into NACO underscores Nigeria’s commitment to effective AfCFTA implementation, including finalizing tariff concessions to enhance competitiveness within the continental market.

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, reiterated Nigeria’s dedication to leveraging AfCFTA for industrial growth and job creation. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, emphasized the strategic importance of the Guided Trade Initiative in propelling Nigeria’s economic growth and fostering regional integration.

President Tinubu concluded the event by affirming Nigeria’s commitment to assuming a leadership role in continental and global trade through AfCFTA. Beyond immediate economic gains, AfCFTA promises a transformative future for all Africans, grounded in collaboration, innovation, and the collective strength of the continent.


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FCCPC Slams $220m Fine on WhatsApp, Facebook over ‘discriminatory practices’ in Nigeria

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Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has imposed a $220,000,000 penalty on Meta Platforms Incorporated over alleged discriminatory practices against Nigerian data and consumers.

This was disclosed on Friday in a statement signed by acting chief executive officer, FCCPC, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi.

The penalty follows a joint investigation by the Commission, and the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) into Meta platforms’ conduct, privacy policies, the operation thereof, and practices between May 2021 and December 2023, and over this period of 38 months.

According to the statement, in May 2021, the Commission had directed WhatsApp LLC and Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly called Facebook Inc.) to defend themselves regarding its investigative report which detailed how their conduct allegedly violated relevant data laws.

Meta was said to have provided some information in response to the requests and summons under the joint investigation.

“Meta Parties by themselves, and retained counsels have also repeatedly engaged with, and met with investigators and analysts from the Commission, and the NDPC, including as recently as April 4, 2024,” the statement added.

The Commission disclosed that the totality of the investigation has now concluded that Meta platforms over a protracted period of time have engaged in conduct that constitutes continuing infringements of the FCCPA and NDPR, “particularly, but not limited to abusive, and invasive practices against data subjects/consumers in Nigeria, such as appropriating personal data or information without consent, discriminatory practices against Nigerian data subjects/consumers or disparate treatment of consumers/data subjects compared with other jurisdictions with similar regulatory frameworks, abuse of dominant market position by forcing unscrupulous, exploitative, and non-compliant privacy policies which appropriated consumer personal information without the option or opportunity to self-determine or otherwise withhold or provide consent to the gathering, use, and/or sharing of such personal data.”

FCCPC stated that being satisfied with the evidence on the record and that Meta Parties have been provided with every opportunity to articulate any position, representations, refutations, explanations or defences of their conduct and practices under law, the Commission has now entered a final Order and issued a penalty against Meta Parties including $220,000,000 fine.

The final order highlighted Meta’s alleged infringements to include, denying Nigerian data subjects the right to self-determine; unauthorised transfer and sharing of Nigerian data-subjects personal data, including cross-border storage in violation of then, and now prevailing law; discrimination and disparate treatment and abuse of Dominance.

“The Final Order of the Commission mandates steps and actions Meta Parties must take to comply with prevailing law and cease the exploitation of Nigerian consumers and their market abuse, as well as desist from future similar or other conduct/practices that do not meet nationally applicable standards and undermine the rights of consumers.

“The Final order also imposes a monetary penalty of $220 million (at prevailing exchange rate where applicable) which penalty is in accordance with the FCCPA 2018, and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection (Administrative Penalties) Regulations 2020 (APR).”

The Commission stated that it remains committed to its respective mandates to protect the privacy of Nigerians under the Constitution and all data protection laws and regulations, as well as to ensure that consumer rights are respected, and the markets operate in a fair and transparent manner.

The Commission in collaboration with the NDPC plays a role in ensuring compliance with the law relating to data, competition (businesses) and consumers.

The decision is coming less than seven hours after the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja struck out a N30 billion alleged illegal advertisement lawsuit instituted against Meta Platforms Incorporated (owners of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp platforms) and its agent AT3 Resources Limited by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON).

Justice Peter Lifu struck out ARCON’s case on Friday, in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/1701/2022, following a notice of discontinuance entered by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Barrister Micheal Okorie.


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