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NCC Stays with Consumers in the Face of 5 Per cent Excise Duty

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Recently at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the federal government disclosed her resolve to commence the implementation of five percent excise duty on telecommunications services in the country.

According to Mr. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, through Frank Oshanipin, the Assistant Chief Officer in the ministry, “the five per cent excise duty has been in the Finance Act 2020 but hasn’t been implemented. The delay in implementation was as a result of government’s engagement with stakeholders”.

He further said that the duty rate wasn’t captured in the Act because it is the responsibility of the President to fix rate on excise duties and has fixed five per cent as the duty rate for telecommunication services, which include, GSM services.

Oshanipin added: “It is public knowledge that our revenue cannot run our financial obligations, so to that effect we are to shift our attention to non-oil revenue. The responsibility of generating revenue to run government lies with us all.”

The Role of NCC in the 5% Excise Duty

NCC is the federal government agency that regulates telecommunications sector of the country’s economy. It is wrong for anybody to attribute the 5 percent excise duty on telecommunications service to the commission. That NCC organised the stakeholders’ meeting where the announcement was made does not mean that it came from the Commission.

As stated in the presentation made by the representative of minister of Finance, the five per cent excise duty is contained in the Finance Act of 2020 and the percentage determined by the President.

However, the Commission opposed the implementation date of the duty as stated in the opening remarks of Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission,  who was represented at the meeting by Adeleke Adewolu, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management: “As communicated in the federal government Circular of March 1, 2022, the five per cent Excise Duty was to have been implemented as part of the 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures, but the industry considered the earlier scheduled commencement date of June 1, 2022 inadequate and we duly took this up with the federal government.”

More so, in opposition to the excise duty Prof Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, also rejected the planned implementation of the five percent excise duty on the telecommunications sector by the Federal Government.

The minister faulted the timing and process of imposing the tax on the industry, arguing that part of the responsibility of responsive government is not to increase the problems of the citizens.

Speaking at a forum organised by the Nigeria Office for Developing the indigenous Telecom Sector (NODITS), an agency domiciled in the Nigeria Communications Commision (NCC), he said he is not in support of excise duty.

“I have not been contacted officially. If we are, we surely will state our case. The sector that contributes to the economy should be encouraged,” Pantami said. “You introduce excise duty to discourage luxury goods like alcohol. Broadband is a necessity.

“If you look at it carefully the sector contributes two per cent excise duty, 7.5 per cent VAT to the economy and you want to add, more” he said, adding hardship at this time cannot be tolerated.

He urged the tax masters to expand the scope of other sectors that are not contributing to the economy to do so.

“We must come together and salvage the sector. Only telecom sector contributed 13 per cent and you want to add more.”

Pantami faulted the lawmaking process that produced the harsh tax because it didn’t involve the chairman of the House Communications Committee. “So, we reject it,” he said.

According to him, further tax on the sector will impact on its contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

NCC on Reduction of Tariff in the Industry

The commission has over the years demonstrated that consumers of telecommunications services must be treated fairly and protected from incessant tariff increase by operators.

It is on record that NCC has implemented policies and programmes that give consumers voice in expressing their dissatisfaction of services or treatments by operators such as consumer outreach programmes among others.

Through effective regulatory efforts, it has ensured that the cost of making calls has crashed from around N70 per a minute to around N20 per minute. The commission has prevented mobile network operators from just increasing tariff any-how, and that tariff or promotions of any kind that may lead to traffic increase are reviewed by NCC to ensure they are fair to consumers.

Interestingly, a reverse of common trends in the country where price increases never come down is witnessed in telecommunications sector as calls and data cost have consistently been going down from where it used to be. This is a testament of NCC’s consumer -centric approach to regulation of the industry.

The commission has also revealed plans to reduce the price of data to N390 per Gigabyte by 2025, as contained in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan. And is assiduously working to realise this objective. Among such efforts is its plans to introduce a licencing framework for the establishment of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Nigeria, which will lead to the massive penetration of broadband services to the unserved and underserved areas of the country.

Just recently, ALTON wrote a letter to the NCC, calling for an upward review of the cost of SMS from N4 to N5.61k and voice call termination rate from N6.40k per minute to N8.95k per minute. The operators said the move to increase the cost of telecom services became necessary due to the high cost of delivering telecom services across networks, coupled with the harsh business environment and the continuous rise in the cost of various items in various sectors of the Nigeria economy among others.

However, the commission responded by issuing a statement to allay subscribers’ fears over the planned hike of the voice call, SMS, and data service costs by 40 per cent.

According to the statement, “For the avoidance of any doubt, and contrary to MNOs’ agitation to increase tariffs for voice and Short Messaging Services (SMS) by a certain percentage, the commission wishes to categorically inform telecoms subscribers and allay the fears of Nigerians that no tariff increase will be effected by the operators without due regulatory approval by the commission.”

The statement read: “The demand being made by MNOs under the auspices of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), citing the high cost of running their operations as the major reason for their proposed tariff hike, is contained in a letter to the commission.

“Consistent with international best practice and established regulatory procedures, the NCC ensures its regulatory activities are guided by regular cost-based and empirical studies to determine the appropriate cost (upper and floor price) within which service providers are allowed to charge their subscribers for services delivered.

“The commission ensures that any cost determined, as an outcome of such transparent studies is fair enough as to enhance healthy competition among operators, provide wider choices for the subscribers as well as ensure the sustainability of the Nigerian telecoms industry.”

NCC noted that tariff regulations and determinations were made by the commission in line with the provisions of Sections 4, 90, and 92 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, which entrusts the commission with the protection and promotion of the interests of subscribers against unfair practices including but not limited to; matters relating to tariffs and charges.

NCC said the current tariff regime administered by the service providers was a product of NCC’s determination both for voice and SMS in the past.


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WhatsApp to Deactivate Support for Certain Phone Models over Incompatibility

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WhatsApp has announced that it will no longer be supported on a variety of phone models starting from the summer of 2024.


WhatsApp to Deactivate Support for Certain Phone Models over Incompatibility

This decision affects a significant number of devices from popular brands such as Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, Apple, Sony, and LG.

Users are advised to check the list of incompatible devices to determine whether their phones are affected and whether they need to upgrade to continue using WhatsApp securely.

Surprisingly, some of the models on the list are quite old, but due to their decent hardware or lack of upgrade options, some users have been clinging onto WhatsApp for dear life.

At present, WhatsApp is recommending that users only use the app if they have a device running on Android 5.0 or later, or an iPhone with iOS 12 or newer.

The affected models include popular devices like Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus, Motorola Moto G, and various iPhone models like 5, 6, and SE.

This development highlights the rapid evolution of technology and the need for users to stay current with their devices to access essential services like WhatsApp.

As we move towards a more advanced digital age, it becomes increasingly crucial for users to regularly check for updates and ensure compatibility with the latest software and applications.

In light of WhatsApp’s decision to discontinue support for certain phone models, there are several key points that users should be aware of regarding this future incompatibility issue.

One of the main challenges associated with WhatsApp ceasing support for older phone models is the potential security risks involved.

Unsupported devices may become more vulnerable to security threats as they will no longer receive essential updates and patches from WhatsApp.

Additionally, users who are unable or unwilling to upgrade their devices may face difficulties in communicating with friends and family who continue to use WhatsApp.

On the controversial side, some users argue that tech companies should provide support for older devices to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for all users, regardless of their device’s age or specifications.

However, from WhatsApp’s perspective, maintaining support for outdated models may hinder the app’s ability to innovate and introduce new features that require more advanced hardware.


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Glo Deploys AI Services for Customers to Earn Millions while Learning

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Digital solutions services provider, Globacom, has unveiled three innovative AI-focused services that aim to improve customer satisfaction and provide users the chance to profit from AI and win rewards on the network at the same time.

In addition to offering users the possibility to win thrilling rewards through lottery draws, Globacom disclosed in a press statement that the services would offer priceless insights into utilizing AI for everyday requirements.

One of the services, called “Glo Awoof Win EverWage,” is a gaming platform that gives users the chance to either win a lifetime wage or take part in a monthly draw that offers a N12 million prize.

Subscribers will also get regular payments from this service, thus having a steady source of income free from the limitations of a conventional job. Globacom stated that Glo EverWage “promises peace of mind in today’s dynamic economic environment, whether you seek supplementary income or financial stability.”

Subscribers can participate in the drawings for EverWage by calling *20791# and following the instructions to be eligible for a chance to win N12 million per month and daily cash prizes.

In a similar vein, “Glo Awoof Win SMS-to-Ai” uses artificial intelligence (AI) to give users rapid, precise information on any subject without requiring an internet connection.

The “Ask AI by Glo” service is an SMS-based platform that provides users with access to a variety of informational resources, including news, sports scores, weather predictions, traffic updates, educational advice, and celebrity information. By dialing *20791# on their handsets, subscribers can also take part in the network’s jackpot draws for a chance to win thrilling prizes.

Subscribers can also use Glo SMS-to-AI to ask queries even in the absence of internet access, by texting their inquiries to 20791 and the AI platform will respond to them right away. Regular questioners will be informed through their Glo lines and have a chance to win interesting rewards.

The third one, “Glo Awoof Win Ai Fortune”, is an educational service designed to empower users by teaching them how to leverage Ai for generating income and improving business processes.

“From foundational Ai concepts to advanced business strategies, our comprehensive curriculum equips you with the skills to harness Ai for income generation and business enhancement. Subscribers can engage in interactive learning modules, earn certifications, and showcase their expertise in monthly competitions”, the company disclosed.

Subscribers to AI Fortune can obtain study packets to read and enter to win prizes by dialling *20791# and following the instructions.

According to Globacom, users who want to take advantage of the three AI-powered services should dial *20791# on their mobile devices in order to choose among the available options. Daily one-time or auto subscriptions to the services cost N100, weekly one-time or auto subscriptions cost N200, and monthly one-time or auto subscriptions cost N500.


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Y’ello Care since ‘07: 17 Years of Unwavering Commitment to Community Development

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For nearly two decades, MTN has demonstrated a steadfast dedication to community development through its flagship corporate social responsibility initiative, Y’ello Care.

The annual program with the theme “Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow”, now celebrating its 17th year, exemplifies the telco’s commitment to making a positive impact across the various communities it serves.

Launched in 2007, Y’ello Care has evolved into one of the most significant corporate volunteer programs in the telecommunications sector. Each year, employees take time off from their daily tasks to give back to the community and participate in meaningful charitable initiatives, reflecting the company’s fundamental principles of innovation, leadership, and integrity.

The heart of Y’ello Care lies in its volunteers. MTN employees from different departments and regions come together to contribute their time, skills, and resources. This culture of volunteerism not only benefits the communities but also fosters a sense of purpose and camaraderie among its staff.

Since its inception, the Y’ello Care initiative has tackled various social challenges, from education and health to environmental sustainability and economic empowerment. The program’s success is measured by the number of projects completed and the lasting positive changes it brings to the lives of individuals and communities.

Speaking about this year’s edition, Tobe Okigbo, Chief Corporate Services & Sustainability Officer, MTN Nigeria, said “Y’ello Care is about the MTN ecosystem giving back and contributing their time, money, and resources to make a positive impact. This year, we’re focusing on education in remote areas, supporting three projects that will provide access to quality education for young Nigerians,” said

One of the cornerstones of Y’ello Care this year is its focus on education and this year the initiative is supporting the KNOSK charity education initiative (Study Better Packs),building and refurbishing Iwerekun Community High school, providing learning materials, and organizing vocational skills workshops. These efforts aim at bridging the educational gap and equipping students with the skills needed for the future.

Also, Y’ello Care has made significant contributions to improving healthcare services. Through medical outreach programs, health awareness campaigns, and the provision of essential medical equipment, it has helped enhance the quality of healthcare in underserved areas.

Beyond everything,

As Y’ello Care completesits 17th year, the company further proves its committment to deepening its impact on its community. MTN Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to community development through the Y’ello Care initiative is a testament to the power of corporate social responsibility.

The 17-year journey of Y’ello Care tells a remarkable story of dedication, impact, and hope. It serves as an inspiration for other organizations to engage in meaningful community service and underscores the importance of giving back to the society in which they operate.

 

 

 


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