In January 2020 when I first read Nigeria’s Finance Act 2019, one of the instinctive questions that came to me was “is Nigeria serious about taxing digital trade now”? There were a few reasons for this skepticism. First, the Act seeks to tax nonresident companies (NRCs) that have a “significant economic presence” (SEP) in Nigeria but then delegates the definition of that pivotal phrase. Second, I questioned how Nigeria can enforce/administer this unilateral tax, which is payable by companies outside its borders. Third, I imagined that Nigeria’s unilateral attempt to tax digital trade could undermine relations with a strategic economic, and political partner, the US. Nigeria has now crossed the first hurdle of defining SEP – no doubt, a meaningful step forward – yet, there remains much to process before Africa’s biggest economy can begin to milk the digital cow.
My teaching style is as conversational as possible: while providing an introduction through lecture style, class generally turns into a hybrid between lecture and debate between myself and the students, but also among the students. I regularly divided students up into groups with specific tasks (such as taking on particular viewpoints or positions within negotiations), which they had to develop among themselves and then present arguments to the group as a whole.