Plans by the Federal Government to compel international social network services and digital platforms to register and open offices in Nigeria have been scrapped.
According to BMA Sources, the government’s effort to ensure that all over-the-top media services register with the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has also hit a snag. NBC has yet to roll out the registration modalities six months after publishing an advertorial requesting that all online platforms do so.
In June of last year, the Nigerian government suspended Twitter barely days after the platform deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Federal Government, as a result, stated that Twitter and all other over-the-top media services must now register with the NBC and pay tax.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, said, “it would help if all platforms are registered as corporate entities before doing business in Nigeria.”
“Whether it’s Netflix, Iroko, or Facebook, they’re all in Nigeria conducting business, making money, and not paying taxes. So the above mentioned is in addition to being able to regulate them.”
“They are making billions in the country while paying no taxes. That cannot continue,” added the Minister.
As a result, the NBC invited all Nigerian social media platforms and online broadcasting service providers to apply for a broadcast license.
The commission stated in an advertorial that the NBC establishment code allows it to request that the companies be licensed.
IPI Group Limited CEO Adamu Garba, who is also the co-founder of social media platform Crowwe, said multiple attempts by his company to register with the NBC have been unsuccessful.
“Frankly, there is a problem because, based on what I saw, there is no framework to register social media,” he said.
“The truth is that all of the restrictions brought out at the time were geared towards Twitter,” an NBC official said on condition of anonymity. The government is no longer talking about others now that Twitter has decided to open an office in Nigeria.”