Finance Ministry insists on 5% tax on data, calls

By Favour Nnabugwu




Ministry of Finance has insisted that 5percent tax would be deducted on data and calls

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed, stated that proposed 5 percent Telecommunication Tax on calls and data.

In a statement, the Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Tanko Abdullahi, in Abuja, yesterday, the minister cited the Finance Act 2020 as the enabling legislation for the tax.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami had opposed the tax which he said was ill-timed.

However, the Finance Minister said she would implement the tax on all voice calls, SMS and data services, in addition to the existing 7.5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT), paid for goods and services across all sectors of the economy.

The five percent excise duty came to the fore during a recent stakeholders’ meeting, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator.

At that meeting, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Tax Policy, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Musa Umar, noted: “The five percent excise duty has been in the Finance Act 2020, but has never been implemented.

“Henceforth, the five percent excise duty will be collected by telecom operators and payment made to the federal government on a monthly basis, on or before 21st of every month.”

Against the comments by Dr. Pantami, concerning the five percent excise duty hike on telecoms services, Mrs. Ahmed said that there was a circular stating the planned hike which was addressed to the Communication Minister and other relevant ministries and agencies of government.

According to her, “The circular Referenced No. F. 17417/VI/286 dated 1st March 2022, and titled “Approval for Implementation of the 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures and Tariff Amendments” was addressed to different Ministers, including Honourable Minister, Communications and Digital Economy and other heads of government agencies.

The circular was addressed to The Secretary To The Government of The Federation, Attorney-General of The Federation, Ministers of Industry, Trade an Investment, Agriculture and Rural development, Mines and Steel and Development.

“It, therefore, means that all stakeholders have by that singular provision been aware of the Act.

“The excise duty on telecommunication services provided in Nigeria introduced through the Finance Act, 2020 with statutory enactment on 1st January, 2021 is yet to be implemented considering the need to ensure reasonable transition period before the implementation of the new tax, as well as providing clarity to all stakeholders on implementation modalities.

“As a matter of emphasis, Mrs. Ahmed had vide Circular dated 1st March, 2022 informed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other heads of government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), including the Federal Ministry of Communication & Digital Economy about Mr. President’s approval of the implementation of the five percent excise duty on telecommunication services with effect from 1st June, 2022.

“An issue as serious as the excise tariff cannot be taken single handedly, as all stakeholders and agencies have been involved including Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Association of Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), who wrote to the Ministry to be involved in the modalities for implementation of the excise duty.

Mrs. Ahmed added that the National Assembly passed the Finance Bill before President Muhammadu Buhari signed it into law and that by so doing, the legislature supported the telecom tax.

She added that many countries in sub-Saharan Africa such as Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana and Burundi currently impose excise duty on telecommunication services ranging between five percent to 20 percent and that Nigeria should not be an exception.

ECOWAS Parliament suspends recruitment, sets up committee to investigate process

By Favour Nnabugwu


The speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, has ordered the immediate suspension of staff recruitment and set up a panel to investigate alleged malpractices in the recruitment process.

Dr. Tunis gave the directive in a statement by the parliament’s communications division, suspending the process following allegations by the Nigerian delegation at the parliament that the country’s candidates were marginalised in the recruitment.

The Nigerian representation to the bloc had threatened to withdraw its membership as its citizens were margininalised at the parliament in employment and promotions.

The speaker had received written complaints from the First Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, and Nigeria’s permanent representative to the ECOWAS Commission, Musa Sani Nuhu.

According to the statement, the work of the eight-man independent ad hoc investigation committee will start this month, with its findings expected within a week.

It added that a bureau meeting would be convened immediately to consider the report for onward submission to the plenary.

The Ad hoc Committee is headed by Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, Chairman of the Committee on Administration, Finance, and Budget of the regional parliament.

Other committee members include Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu from Nigeria, Fatoumatta Njai from the Gambia, Amadou Djibo Ali from Niger, Kounon Nahou Agbandao from Togo, Caramo Camara from Guinea Bissau, Moussokora Chantal Fanny from Cote d’ Ivoire and Arboncana Oumarou Dicko.

“The terms of reference of the ad hoc committee shall be as follows: investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct in the ongoing recruitment process at the ECOWAS Parliament; investigate allegations of marginalisation of Nigerian candidates in the current recruitment process; investigate and determine if indeed the plenary adopted any resolution concerning the subject matter (recruitment of staff), using normal parliamentary procedure,” the statement added.

It stressed that in executing its mandate, the committee should be granted access to all documents relating to the recruitment exercise and work with the Advisory Committee on Recruitment and Promotions at the ECOWAS Parliament to under-study and review the exercise.

“The ad hoc committee would be guided by the provisions of the Supplementary Act and the ECOWAS Staff Regulations,” the institution said.

The leadership of the parliament said it was committed to upholding and protecting the rights of all citizens of the ECOWAS to aspire to positions in any ECOWAS institution, in line with the provisions of the group’s staff regulations and all related protocols.

Africa Re’s underwriting profit increase by 146.21% in 2021

By Favour Nnabugwu
Africa Reinsurance Corporation (Africa Re), the leading pan-African reinsurer announced a net underwriting profit increased by 146.21 percent to stand at US$ 34.56 million
The gross written premium by 5.04 percent in 2021 to reach US$ 845. 35 million.
Speaking at it’s 44th Annual Ordinary Meeting of the General Assembly held recently in Cairo, Dr Mohammed Maait Chairman of the Board of Directors and the General Assembly of Africa Re, stated that investment and other incomes also grew to US$ 54.14 million thanks to the Corporation’s investment strategy that prioritises the preservation of capital and liquidity.
Maait further stated that the company’s  feat was dampened by the depreciation of the functional currencies against the dollar, our reporting currency.
He said the situation resulted in a considerable loss of US$47.78 million (compared to US$9.25 million in 2020). This has seriously affected the overall net profit of the Corporation which stood at US$ 38.42 million (against US$55.71 million in 2020).
He added that the reinsurer’s shareholders’ equity remains stable at US$ 1 billion despite a slight decline of 1.6 percent”
He added that the efforts and determination behind these good results have been recognised by Standard & Poor’s and A.M. Best international rating agencies. Standard & Poor’s and A.M. Best reconfirmed the financial strength of the Corporation at “A-“ with stable outlook and “A” with stable outlook respectively.
Dr Maait also highlighted some other key milestones achieved by the Corporation in the last 12 months, namely its preparation to meet the requirements of COP 26 in relation to climate change ; the advanced stage of compliance with IFRS17; the African insurance Awards; Young Insurance Professionals Programme; the official inauguration of the Africa Re DIFC in Dubai and continued disbursement of the pledged Covid-19 intervention of US$ 3.32 million.
Africa Re’s General Assembly decided that the 2021 net profit of US$ 38,823,000 be distributed as follows: “US$ 19,412,000 to the general reserve in accordance with Resolution No. 4/1992 which stipulates that 50% of the net profit after tax of each year is set aside as general reserve; “US$ 1,000,000 to be transferred to the reserve for loss fluctuation in accordance with the decision taken by the board during its 57th meeting to set aside an amount over and above the outstanding claims provision to moderate the effects of possible fluctuation in losses in future. ”US$ 576,000 to be transferred to the Africa Re Foundation as 1.48% of net profit. US$ 25,200,000 to be paid as dividend at the rate of US$ 8.8% (2020: US$ 8.8 % ) per subscribed and paid-up share of US$100 par value.
Nigeria to showcase culture in Germany August 13

By Favour Nnabugwu


Nigeria to showcase it’s culture in Germany city of Potsdam on Saturday, 13 August.

Organised for the first time by Deutsche und Immigranten e.V., ‘WAZOBIA Nigerian Day 2022’ will feature, among others, music and dance performances, a fashion show, culinary specialities of Nigeria, an exhibition of products from Nigeria and a children’s programme.

According to the organisers, the event, which is henceforth to hold annually, seeks to showcase Nigerian cultural expressions and thereby contribute to multicultural understanding in the eastern state of Brandenburg, whose capital city is Potsdam.

Other objectives of WAZOBIA Nigerian Day 2022 are to promote mutual tolerance and acceptance in society and create more opportunities for social participation for people of African descent.

Germans, Nigerians, other Africans and indeed friends of Nigeria and Africa are expected to attend the open event, which will take place at the Bassinplatz Potsdam, a famous square in the city of Potsdam

ARC to fight climate change in Africa continent

By Favour Nnabugwu



The African Risk Capacity Insurance Company (ARC) plan to address the role of insurance in fighting climate change impacts on the African continent.

African Risk Capacity, from ARC member states and funding donor partners met in Malawi to discuss how parametric insurance has the potential to transform how the continent deals with climate-change-induced events such as droughts and cyclones.

ARC has made a record payout of almost $60 million in claims this year, protecting Africa’s most vulnerable against the worst impacts of extreme weather.

A significant $797,049 cheque was issued by ARC and the African Development Bank to the Government of Madagascar earlier this year as an insurance payout after delayed rains caused draught during the 2021-2022 agricultural season.

The meeting brought together key stakeholders in the ARC ecosystem to address the challenges and opportunities of working together to fight the impact of climate change

Addressing delegates, ARC Limited CEO, Lesley Ndlovu, commented on the value of ARC on the African continent.

“In the history of ARC, we have paid about US$125 million in claims and half of that was in last year’s Pool 8. We are extremely happy when we pay claims because these go towards meeting the needs of Africa’s most vulnerable people. These payouts also demonstrate the value of the insurance mechanism.”

“Further, the fact that about half of the claims paid were paid by the insurance
market means that ARC is able to take weather-related risks on the African continent and seed them into global markets such that when there’s a disaster on the African continent, part of the payment for the cost of that disaster also comes from the global reinsurance markets, again demonstrating the value of having a mechanism like ARC.”

During the session, representatives from Malawi, Mali, Madagascar and Zambia, all shared their insights on how the ARC insurance mechanism had supported their risk management programmes in the last year.

In the meeting, ARC also expanded on the intention to increase coverage in wider countries.

The overreaching goal, Ndlovu shared with delegates, was to increase the participation of African countries in its insurance programme and position ARC as Africa’s premier institution for disaster risk financing.

“Currently, we have 13 countries that participate out of 55 on the African continent. We need more to participate, and are also working very hard to bring partners into the ecosystem so we are able to overcome the two main barriers we face in the growth of insurance – the affordability of premiums and increasing capacity building so there is greater understanding of the role of insurance in disaster risk management.”

Ndlovu concluded the event by saying, “We all know that Africa is a continent that is most exposed to climate-change-related risks and with ARC we have in our hands an instrument that can play a vital role in creating the solution to protect the most vulnerable African citizens against the worst impacts of extreme weather. It really is up to us to make this initiative a success.”