A few weeks ago, the amendment to the sixth broadcasting code was unveiled to the public by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) via a newspaper advert. The amendment, according to NBC, is to significantly restrict monopoly and anti-competitive behavior in the broadcast industry.
On the surface, the code is well intended, as it seeks to stimulate the growth of Nigeria’s local broadcast industry. A closer look, however, shows that the intention of the drafters is anything but good. Several sections of the code carry huge potentials to endanger the industry.
Section 0.2.2.7 says the Code seeks to address the “misuse of monopoly or market power or anti-competitive…” in the broadcast industry. But how can you restrict something that does not exist? Is the NBC trying to create a problem only just so that it can solve it? Technically speaking, there is no monopoly in the broadcast industry in Nigeria, as there are various public and private broadcasting stations in the country that offer consumers various options to choose from. At worst, what exists is market dominance, which is not monopoly.
I believe Nigeria operates a free market economy where content providers as well as other businesses can operate freely with minimal government intervention. It is the duty of the government to ensure a level playing field for all those who wish to participate in the economy but doing so should not entail holding back one for the other. Competition is important to business as it creates room for innovation and it enables businesses to build those traits that are appealing to their customers.
Considering that television content is very expensive either to create or acquire, the idea that when one broadcaster does so he is then mandated to sub-licensing it to a competitor without business considerations is rather incomprehensible. Content is not sold to broadcasters at a cheap price; it is business and should remain as such. Every business is deemed successful when it makes a profit. So why would a broadcast organization use billions to acquire the right to air content and then be compelled to sub-license to another broadcaster without the view to making a profit or at a price determined by the NBC if there is any dispute?
The insistence on sublicensing emboldens the rights owner to naturally hike the price of its content. But the code then goes ahead to insist that after acquiring the rights, no profit can be made off it. Section 184.108.40.206 states that “In determining the charges offered for supply under this section, consideration should be had to the prorated cost of acquisition of the sports and news programme and/ or channels by a subscriber on the platform of the licensee “stipulated price” and the retailing thereof to each subscriber. In no event shall the charges exceed the Stipulated Prices thereof”. The very idea that a DStv, for instance, which has acquired the broadcast right to Sky Sports News, must sub-license such rights to a terrestrial TV like STV or a pay-tv platform like StarTimes at a proportional price or a price that will be determined by NBC goes against the very definition of business.
Also, the worrisome is Section 220.127.116.11, which states that “a broadcaster shall offer the sports and news programme and/or channels to other broadcasters for retail… in accordance with the requirements of this section and directions issued by the commission” finds a place of pride very close to the throne of business lunacy. While other broadcasters are working hard, what some others need to do is wait to be spoon-fed by the suit or babanriga-wearing bureaucrats at NBC. After a broadcaster spends billions in acquiring content, it will be compelled to share with competitors at a regulated price? What other more compelling reason does an investor need to put their money into importing containers of some household items instead of wasting it on content acquisition?
NBC should have engaged in proper consultation with key stakeholders in the industry before the amendment was drafted and/or made public. No right thinking content producer will spend billions in developing content and then be obligated to share at a price determined by NBC. The amendments are largely unworkable and the only good news coming from the NBC at this time is the decision of its board to take a wholesale look at the entire document by inviting stakeholders to make input, an action that would most likely have enabled it to avoid the embarrassment and ridicule it currently faces.
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Fitbit products are now available in Nigeria with Jumia
Fitbitt (NYSE: FIT), the global brand in wearable technology, is now available in Nigeria on Africa’s leading eCommerce platform, Jumia (NYSE : JMIA), in partnership with Redington Gulf.
Fitbit devices and services help people lead healthier, more active lives and this has never been more important than it is today. By empowering users with data, inspiration and guidance Fitbit is helping them reach their physical and mental health, and fitness goals. Its innovative products are sold at a wide range of accessible price points in nearly 39,000 retail stores across more than 100 countries worldwide.
“We are seeing increasing consumer demand for wearable technology on our platform, and bringing Fitbit products to our customers in Nigeria is an important step for us to address this demand and help Fitbit expand its reach across the country. Jumia delivers a seamless online shopping experience for consumers and from our platform with a dedicated official store on Jumia.” said Sandeep Narayanan, Head of Consumer Electronics, Jumia Group.
Fitbit supports healthier living
Fitbit is committed to inspiring those who want to lead a healthier and more active life through its range of innovative smartwatches and trackers that are compatible with most Android and iOS platforms, including Fitbit Versa 3 , Fitbit Versa 2, Fitbit Charge 4, Fitbit Inspire 2 and Fitbit Ace 2 (see www.fitbit.com/devices for more information).
Fitbit gives users a deeper understanding of their health with smart features such as 24/7 heart rate tracking, on-device sleep tools to help optimize your sleep, Active Zone Minutes to make the most out of workouts and help manage stress with guided breathing programmes.
Users in Nigeria can also benefit from purchasing a membership to Fitbit Premium, which when paired with any Fitbit device, your Fitbit experience through a deeper analysis of your data and more personalized insights that connect the dots across your activity, sleep and heart rate, while offering hundreds of workouts, motivating games and challenges. Users new to Fitbit Premium can benefit from the 90-day free trial through the Fitbit App.
Fitbit Health Solutions will also be offering corporate product discounts to local businesses through Fitbit’s distributor Redington Gulf.
LIRS URGES EMPLOYERS OF LABOUR TO FILE ANNUAL TAX RETURNS ON OR BEFORE JANUARY 31 DEADLINE
In line with the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) Cap P8 LFN 2011 (as amended), The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) urges all employers of labour in Lagos State to file their Company’s Annual Tax Returns on or before the statutory deadline of January 31, 2021 to avoid penalties.
The Agency’s eTax platform, launched in October, 2019 gives taxpayers the opportunity to comply with all COVID-19 protocols, by filing their tax returns from the comfort of their offices or homes. In addition, all digital platforms and tax portals are available for taxpayers’ use and convenience.
The Annual Tax Returns, which show each employee’s emoluments and tax paid in year 2020, are to be filed via LIRS online portals only, as manual filing is no longer acceptable. Tax assessments, payments and other tax administration matters can also be carried out on the same platforms. The LIRS customer care hotline: 0700 CALL LIRS (0700-2255-5477), website: www.lirs.gov.ng, chat rooms and the various social media platforms @lirsgovng are available for enquiries.
The Executive Chairman of LIRS, Mr. Ayodele Subair, stated that in the face of the prevailing realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on businesses, penalties and fines may be an additional burden on companies’ finances, and therefore urges all employers of labour to file their returns within the period stipulated by law. The essence of the ongoing media campaign and numerous reminders and appeals to companies on this statutory obligation, is to ensure they file early, to avoid sanctions.
The steps to file are available on all our communication channels, however, taxpayers with difficulties filing are also welcome to seek assistance with specially designated staff at our tax stations.
We have made the process simple, quick, secure and reliable for our esteemed taxpayers. We are also available on various digital platforms to assist taxpayers on the process of e-filing.
The LIRS urges all Lagos State residents and businesses to stay safe and obey all Covid-19 guidelines as stipulated by the relevant health authorities and the Lagos State Government
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