Fellow Citizens, we need to ensure that we are objective on things. The sound of our tribal names in Nigeria should not be used to assess the quality of our thinking. If we follow that path, the nation is lost. As I read through comments on my commendation on Lai Mohammed’s new playbook in which he posited that Netflix and Twitter should pay some taxes in Nigeria, many cannot come to terms that we are praising the government. As a nation, we need to be objective to commend the government when we see positive moves, and challenge we see something bad.
LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, pays taxes in Nigeria. Facebook pays taxes in Nigeria because it runs operations in Nigeria. Google also does. Are they paying enough? That is open for a debate since most of us do not work in the tax office. But at least, they are paying something.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation. Nigeria is Africa’s digital square. If we see ourselves as being so small to ask Twitter, Netflix, etc to do the needful, we are making a real mistake. Who will do it for Africa? Gambia, Cape Verde or Gabon?
Sure, Twitter’s tax will not fix Nigeria. But also, that small money will not make Twitter go bankrupt. So, we need it.
The current protocol on taxation for digital platforms is broken. A new one is urgently needed. The more ad-naira goes to Twitter, the less Lagos ad agencies will earn to pay local taxes. While we agree that the government has seen the mistake in the President’s post, and is now changing the topic, so be it.
That Lai Mohammed proposed it MUST not mask that he has a message: Africa needs a playbook on the future of global taxation, and Nigeria is a key nation in Africa that can get that going. While suspending Twitter is not the path for that, but that conversation is important. My suggestion is this: unsuspend Twitter and begin to hammer a plan for Nigeria while also bringing African Union on that table.
Suspending Twitter is a distraction but asking Twitter, Netflix, etc to pay taxes must not be diminished!
This suspension of Twitter is a moving target, now that ex-President Trump is commending Buhari for the ban. But that is also a distraction. We do not need to ban Twitter to harmonize our economic positioning when it comes to taxation.
“Congratulations to the country of Nigeria, who just banned Twitter because they banned their president,” he said in a statement released on Tuesday.
He suggested that he should have banned Facebook while he was in office, but said the company’s boss Mark Zuckerberg “kept calling me and coming to the White House for dinner telling me how great I was”.
Mr Trump also backed unnamed rival social media platforms, saying they “will emerge and take hold”.
The 45th US president has struggled for attention since his access to Twitter and Facebook was blocked. A website he launched last month to get his word out was closed because of poor traffic.
But yet, taxes will not save Nigeria if we do not begin to run the nation responsibly. The news is that Niger, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso plan to buy idle electricity from Nigeria even when Nigerian citizens and companies have no electricity!
Niger, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso are collaborating to buy the unutilised power produced in Nigeria, the Chairman of the Executive Board of the West African Power Pool, Sule Abdulaziz, said on Wednesday.
Abdulaziz, who is also the acting Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, said the four countries were collaborating to make the power purchase from Nigeria through the Northcore Power Transmission Line currently being built.
Update: Twitter is engaging with Nigeria
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