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Huawei ‘to go extra mile’ to reassure world on 5G spying

A senior figure at Huawei in the UK has told Sky News it is willing to go the “extra mile” to reassure countries its technology poses no security threat.

Jeremy Thompson, the Chinese telecom giant’s executive vice president, was speaking as it attempted to calm security fears over its technology by offering to sign “non-spying” agreements – including with the UK government.

The prime minister has come under fire since sources confirmed last month that the National Security Council, chaired by Theresa May, had backed the use of Huawei technology in “non-core” 5G network infrastructure.

:: Huawei gets green light for UK 5G role

That was despite a warning from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the US government that the company posed a threat.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order later on Wednesday banning US companies from using its technology.

While Huawei has always denied a link to espionage, it has a legal obligation to cooperate with China’s intelligence agencies.

Huawei has become one of the world's leading smartphone manufacturers

Huawei says it has never been asked to hand over data or information about its customers

The company says information has never been requested about its customers from the Chinese state and its founder has insisted he would rather shut down Huawei than accept any request to collect intelligence via its systems.

The issue of trust in the firm’s links to the Chinese government has become a wider issue for companies across China as the country’s trade war with the US escalates.

Washington accuses Beijing of intellectual property theft and forced transfers of technology.

Mr Thompson said Huawei recognised the concern but said those nations, including Japan and the US, that had banned Huawei tech from their 5G networks had “called it wrong”.

He told Ian King Live: “If it helps, we will sign a non-spying agreement with the UK government. There are mechanisms already in place within the UK in fact, according to the NCSC, the most rigorous activity with Huawei gloablly, but if it requires us to sign a non-spying agreement we’d be very happy to do that.

“We’re in unusual times and the press is full of articles… about ‘Huawei is not a company that they want to do business with’ so we recognise we need to go the extra mile.”

He accused the US of under-investing in its 5G network in contrast to the UK where he said plans were much further advanced – with 5G trials getting under way.

Vodafone confirmed this week it was continuing its plans to use Huawei technology, such as antennas, in its non-core network – in line with the limits placed on Huawei involvement agreed by the government.

Mr Thompson said the industry was largely awaiting the conclusions of a review by the government before committing to 5G expansion plans.

He spoke to the programme following the release of a report Huawei commissioned from Oxford Economics exploring its contribution to the UK economy.

The study claimed it had contributed £1.7bn last year and supported more than 26,000 jobs.

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Ex-CBN director reacts to FG’s plan to charge VAT on online transactions

Dr Titus Okunronmu, a former Director, Budgetary Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, has commended the Federal Government over its plan to charge Value Added Taxes (VAT) on online Business Transactions.

Okunronmu gave the commendation in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ota, Ogun, on Monday.

He spoke against the backdrop of the disclosure by Mr Tunde Fowler, the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services, in London on Friday that the Federal Government would soon start collecting VAT on online business transactions.

The former CBN director noted that the decision was a right step in the right direction as it would help to generate additional revenue for the country.

‘‘For the fact that people do manual online transactions does not mean they should not pay VAT to the Federal Government,’’ he said.

He however called on the Federal Government to ensure that the VAT should not be more than five per cent.

Okunronmu also advised the Federal Government to look for other means of generating additional revenues to boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

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FIRS to impose VAT on online transactions, gives reason

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it will soon begin collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on online transactions.
The Chairman of the agency, Mr Babatunde Fowler, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Saturday.

Fowler said: “soon, we will ask banks to impose VAT on online transactions for purchases of goods and services.

“Not that it is something new; it actually should be in existence.

“We will certainly follow up to make sure that every VAT that is due to be collected is collected.”

He explained that the move was part of measures by FIRS to meet its N8 trillion revenue target for 2019.

Fowler said the agency had started taking action against companies and businesses that refused to embrace the Federal Government’s tax amnesty programme.

According to him, FIRS hopes to generate between N750 billion and N1 trillion from the clampdown, which includes closure of defaulters’ bank accounts.

“We are going after everybody. I am sure you have heard that we have placed lien on some accounts of defaulters that have a billion naira turnover annually.

“So certainly, we are not leaving anyone out of the tax net,” he said.

Officially known as the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, the tax amnesty programme was launched in 2017.

It gave tax defaulters a one-year period of grace to declare and settle their unpaid taxes.

There have been complaints by some taxpayers of being wrongly targeted by FIRS in the clampdown.

Asked to comment on that, Fowler admitted, as he blamed it on “administrative error,” arising from the huge number of accounts involved.

“Well, there is certainly one or two instances where we made administrative error, but when you are looking at over 50,000 accounts, there is a tendency that sometimes an error might be made.
“For those that we made errors on, I wrote them personally apologising and of course we lifted the lien on their accounts.”
On plans by the Joint Tax Board to raise the country’s tax population to 45 million, Fowler said the agency was relying on multiple information sources.
These, according to him, include the country’s Bank Verification Number database and sister agencies with relevant information.

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‘We’re Not Indebted To UBA’ — Sahara Energy Responds To UBA’s Winding-Up Petition


Sahara Energy Resource Limited (SERL) says it is not indebted to the United Bank for Africa (UBA) neither did it grant a direct guarantee to UBA on any loan transaction that the bank could unilaterally enforce or sue on.

Sahara Energy stated this on Saturday in its response to UBA’s filing of a winding up petition against it at a Federal High Court in Lagos.

UBA had said the petition was based on a N15 billion indebtedness of KEPCO Energy Resources Limited (KEPCO), which Sahara Energy had stood for as guarantor.

But, in its response, SERL denied the accusations and promised to legally pursue the matter to its very end.

“The attention of Sahara Energy Resource Limited (Nigeria) (‘SERL’) and the entire Sahara Group has been drawn to a publication in the Guardian Newspaper of 11th April 2019 made by United Bank for Africa Plc (‘UBA’) and their counsel pursuant to the ex parte order made by the Honorable Mr. Justice Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, in Suit No. FHC/L/CP/387/19 pursuant to a winding up petition in Suit No. FHC/L/CP/387/19,” read an official stated on its website.

“Sahara has reviewed the publication and wish to comment as follows:

“SERL is not indebted to UBA, has no outstanding facilities with UBA nor did it borrow any money from UBA in any loan transaction that is the subject matter of either the civil petition (FHC/L/CP/387/19) or the civil summons (FHC/L/CS/387/19 as advertised) that formed the subject of the ex parte order;

“SERL did not grant a direct guarantee to UBA on any loan transaction that UBA could unilaterally enforce or sue on;

“SERL and one of its affiliate companies, NG Power-HPS Limited sued UBA in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/236/19 at the Federal High Court, Lagos, on 13th February 2019, claiming a number of declarative and injunctive remedies relating to unorthodox methods employed by UBA in relation to its dealings with the Plaintiffs.

“UBA, on 12th March 2019 sued New Electricity Distribution Company Limited and SERL along with two other institutions, First Trustees Limited and Ecobank Capital Limited in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/382/2019, by way of Originating Summons, claiming certain declarations and injunctions to which SERL has filed full and comprehensive response.

“The two suits in paragraphs 3 and 4 have been set down for hearing before the Federal High Court in Lagos on 30th May 2019.

“While the above two suits are pending and have been set down for hearing, UBA commenced a third suit on the 13th of March, and applied ex parte, (and without putting SERL on notice before serving the petition) obtained an order ex parte to advertise the petition.

“The petition was only served on SERL at about 12.25 p.m. on 11th April 2019 after it has been advertised as aforesaid.”

Sahara Energy added that its lawyers had been duly instructed and had taken all necessary steps to ensure that the order is discharged or set aside as soon as practicable.

“SERL and the entire Sahara Group will vigorously pursue and defend UBA’s petition to its logical conclusion with a view to dismissing the petition,” it said.

“We assure our esteemed clients, bankers, suppliers, stakeholders and the general public that SERL and its legal team are taking all lawful steps to ensure that SERL interest is vigorously defended and SERL has implicit confidence in the Nigerian judiciary to resolve the matter and dispense justice between the parties.

“SERL will provide periodic updates to its esteemed clients, suppliers and bankers as may be necessary, of steps being taken in connection with the suits and the results of effort to set aside the order and strike out the suit.”

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