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Operators task governments on fairness in taxation

Having missed opportunities that came with the first, second and third industrial revolutions, it would be a tragedy for Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries to miss the fourth revolution.

The Global System for Mobile Telecommunications Association (GSMA), which made the assertion yesterday in Kigali, Rwanda, at the ongoing Mobile 360 Conference, noted that developed countries have long left Africa behind in innovations and development.

It noted that apart from huge revenue losses as a result of obsolete infrastructure, the country risked being cut off from the global technology eco-space.Senior Director of Privacy, GSMA, Boris Wotjan, said the fourth industrial revolution presented a huge opportunity for Nigeria and other African countries to leapfrog into the global technology ecosystem.

The fourth industrial revolution is the current and developing environment in which disruptive technologies and trends such as Blockchain; Internet of Things; Machine Learning; Artificial Intelligence; Driverless car and Augmented Realty, among others, would dictate the pace of development among nations.

To leverage on this, Wotjan called for massive investments in infrastructure and upgrade of existing facilities across the country and Africa.He advised Nigeria and other SSA countries to introduce policy and regulatory frameworks for improved ecosystem and come up with digital inclusion strategy that would aid connections to rural areas, stressing the need to develop digital skills for the revolution and ensure data privacy.

The GSMA chief suggested that in enthroning data privacy regime, government should ensure transparent and accommodating policies around it.Speaking, Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA, Yasmia McCarty, charged governments across the region to embrace sustainable global digital development plans. McCarty said for the development to be impactful, “as much as the private sector will be willing to invest, governments must create an enabling environment for growth.”She appealed to governments in the region to escalate mobile Internet, stressing that Africa should lead in the adoption of new technologies for leveraging.

GSMA Head of SSA, Akinwale Goodluck appealed to governments not to over-burden telecoms operators with excessive taxation if there would be more expansion into rural areas.
He said excessive taxation on operators would hinder service affordability, saying: “Government should tax profits and not revenues. They need to discourage the imposition of sector specific taxes, as this hinders service providers’ expansion drive.”



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