Merit Ibe

With the COVID -19 pandemic now at a critical juncture in Nigeria’s economy, Managing Director of  Kawai Technologies, Akinbo Akin-Olugbade, said the situation has  highlighted the need for a holistic review of the different sectors of the economy including health, communication, manufacturing and other sectors.

He stated that the situation is a wakeup call to the country.

Akin-Olugbade, who is also the deputy chairman of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Power Sector Group,  noted that with the pandemic which brought the poor state of Nigeria’s healthcare to limelight, it has become necessary for budgetary appropriations  to be made to shore up healthcare across the nation.

On the manufacturing sector, he noted that there was need for revitalisation. “Most countries are seeing manufacturing of ventilators, masks and pharmaceutical products equipment locally as a timely intervention from the private sector, but Nigeria as an import dependent economy is not able currently to support local production as we lack the means to produce most of these things even if we had the will.”

While advocating tax incentives be given to the communications sector to deepen the  Internet infrastructure, deploy broadband services to more parts of the country, he urged telco’s to reduce the costs of data  as the economic situation has shown the need for online services as a backup;  with “banking, insurance, education, communication can all be done online if the appropriate infrastructure exists. Deliveries can be booked online as well as many other production-based services.”

Acknowledging the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) input, he said the service  has been quick to the mark on the tax front, after releasing some timely initiatives, online tax filing, extending the window for WHT returns to the end of the month following the month of deduction, and extending the filing deadline for Company Income Taxes by a month.

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