: African press review 22 December 2015

We begin with Vanguard’s big splash on the tug of war between Nigeria and the South African mobile phone provider MTN over the hefty 4.7 billion euros penalty slapped by the telecom regulator for missing a deadline set to disconnect unregistered SIM cards from their networks.

Nigeria had revised the November 17 deadline for the settlement of the fine, setting December 31 as the new date,after MTN managed to secure a postponement until negotiations between the two parties over the fine had concluded.

According to the paper, it had expected that the government, in the end, might reduce the fine and yield to pressure from the African business world that the fine might scare off foreign investors from the country. But as Vanguard reports, the Federal Government is calling MTN’s stay of execution a bluff, with Abuja warning that it would neither be cowed nor threatened by MTN’s court action.

The Sun looks forward to President Muhammadu Buhari’s maiden appearance at the National Assembly this Tuesday. He is due to present the 2016 budget to a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives.The Finance bill stands at 6 trillion Naira, (27.7 billion euros) and is reported to include a major review of the extant taxation system aimed at improving the legal framework, and enhancing compliance.

Punch says the review is likely to see wealthy Nigerians pay more under new tax laws, quoting the Minister of Budget and National Planning, as he emerged from a meeting of the Federal Executive Council.

Nigeria’s Information Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who also briefed newsmen after the cabinet meeting, explained that the review became imperative because the Federal Government had noticed some inadequacies in the current tax regime.

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Punch says he expressed concern that the inadequacies were being exploited by both individuals and corporate organisations to evade tax which has led to loss of revenue to the government.

The Nigerian Tribune has been reading President Buhari’s handling of the explosive arms procurement file that led to the arrest for graft of several top officials of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.

According to the paper Buhari explained on Monday how procurement of arms for the nation’s armed forces was compromised under the last administration, saying that his administration was taking urgent and appropriate actions to restore order, due process and probity to the processes.

Speaking at a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday, he said the process became open to corruption and shady deals under the last administration to the point where they just put foreign exchange in a briefcase and travelled to procure equipment for the military.

That is why we have found ourselves in the crisis we are now facing,” President Buhari is quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Source: rfi afrique