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Pantami Explains Why FG Suspended 5% Excise Tax on Telecom Services

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The Federal Government on Monday suspended the controversial 5% excise duty on telecommunication services recently announced by the Ministry of Finance and Nigerian Customs.

Isa Ali Pantami, minister of Communication and Digital Economy

The suspension was made known by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami,  during the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Committee on Excise Duty for the Digital Economy Sector in Abuja.

The minister, while announcing the decision, explained that the telecommunications sector is already overtaxed with multiple taxation.

This is even as he directed that a committee to be constituted to look into the matter carefully and advise him carefully.

It would be recalled that the ministry of Finance and the Nigerian Customs Service through the had recently at a stakeholders’ engagement announced plans that it would commence   the implementation of its proposed  5% exercise duties on telecommunication services and beverages in 2023.

But in a swift reaction, the CDE Minister kicked against the move, which he said would increase the cost of telecommunication services and increase for Nigerians and widen gap in access.

“It is because of my intervention that the President have grant my prayers, no one immediate suspension of excise duty in the digital economy sector, and no two he approved that a committee be constituted to look into the matter carefully and advise him accordingly. This committee is to be chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

“The president has appointment me to be his eyes and ears in the sector and it is my responsibility to ensure we are just and fair to the operators, government and most importantly our people that are the consumers,” the minister said.

Speaking further on how he presented the case to the president on the possible effect of the excise duty on the sector, Pantami, “Of recent it was announced that some of our respected brother and sister (government officials), kick started the process of introducing excise duty in the telecom sector in which there and then, based on the constitution and being the representative of president Buhari in the sector. I rejected that whole heartedly being the representative of the president.

“I formalized my position and explained to him in a letter that could be referred to as a petition, (reasons; excise duty is usually fixed on luxury products.

“I told the president (in the letter) that if care is taken that attempt will destroy the digital economy sector that is becoming the backbone of our economy.”

On why he kicked against the excise duty, the minister said, “Despite our achievements we have been recording some challenges in the sector and if care is not taken these challenges could be a barrier in the development of the sector in the next few years to come.

“One of them; excessive taxes and sometimes multiple taxation.  As it is today in the tax category of ICT sector (39) which is very worrisome. But as of today, the ICT sector is over burdened by so many categories of taxes to the extent that today there are 41 categories of taxes at the federal and state level, particularly in the telecom sector. Some at federal level and some at state level.

“Beside these taxes are multiple taxes (the same taxes being collected at the federal is also what the states are insisting be paid to them. If care is not taken this is what will jeopardize the achievements and gains that we have recorded so far in the sector.”

Speaking further, the minister noted that prices of products and services in other sectors had increased significantly but the prices of products and services in the telecom sector remained unchanged in the last three years.

‘’The mobile Network Operators looking at things outside our sector like petroleum products, exchange rate, inflation, devaluation of the currency among others have been coming with many initiatives asking the regulator to allow them review their prices upward. In these three years, there were more than 15 attempts to increase the price of telecommunications services and in all of them I retained my position; saying no.

“And whenever the regulator escalates the matter to me; I will always encourage and urged them to try and persevere with the little profit they are making because the current economic situation in Nigeria doesn’t allow us to continue to add burden on our poor citizens that our suffering and can hardly get three square meals in a day and broadband and telecommunications services are becoming a necessity that a luxury, Pantami said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy will serve as Chairman of the Committee.

Members of the committee include: Pantami Chairman, while the Minister of Finance and National Planning,  Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Representative of all Telecom companies in Nigeria.


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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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