PwC Francophone Africa strikes partnership for blockchain services

29 March 2018 Consultancy.africa

Global professional services firm PwC’s Francophone Africa division has put its Blockchain Lab to good use; having signed a partnership with Singapore-based blockchain payment solutions firm Request Network Foundation. The duo hopes to become a leading provider of blockchain solutions.

In operation for approximately a decade now, Blockchain is a platform for data storage and exchange, characterised by two distinctive features: decentralisation, and the absence of an intermediary. In essence, each user with access to a Blockchain has the ability to share data, and trace each step of the same, thereby substantially improving security and boosting overall efficiency. 

The Blockchain Lab is a multifaceted space, established by Big Four accounting and advisory firm PwC. The lab is run by a team of 25 experts drawn from a variety of backgrounds, including data analytics, law, auditing and accounting, as well as consultants working in risk or quantitative finance.

The lab is based in the firm’s France and Francophone Africa division, wherein it offers services surrounding the concept of blockchain, such as assessments of potential, development of strategies, identification and designing of targets, implementation, and subsequently security. In addition, the lab also offers training and knowledge within the highly specialised domain.

Among the more prominent strategies employed by the lab is the formation of partnerships in order to promote innovation in the field. To this end, PwC has participated in a number of conferences and hackathons, wherein collaborative relations can be formed with talented firms to develop new products.

Strategic Partnership

The latest partnership of this nature has now been formed with the Request Network Foundation, based in Singapore. Request Network is essentially a Blockchain-based entity, which offers solutions in the financial segment, including but not limited to its comprehensive payment gateway built on Ethereum.

PwC Francophone

This flagship product allows payment requests to be made and carried out without the need for an intermediary. Each request is saved on a Blockchain ledger, which is not subject to manipulation, thereby constructing a clear accounting process. In addition, the gateway runs in tandem with international trade laws, and accommodates every currency across the globe.

The new partnership will offer consulting services for transitions to Blockchain and its implementation, and will also lay emphasis on R&D practices through its centre of excellence. In addition, the team will consist of a “thought leadership group,” which will seek to predict and exert an influence on the future of Blockchain adoption across the world, including in Africa, where rapid digitalisation is underway.

Commenting on the partnership, Christophe Lassuyt, Co-Founder of the Request Network Foundation said, “We are glad to form a partnership with the PwC France Blockchain Lab, creating a bridge between the corporate and blockchain industries. This partnership facilitates industries to innovate and adopt financial solutions using blockchain technology.”

Fellow Co-founder Etienne Tatur added; “Combining our cutting-edge blockchain technology with the experience of a trusted business partner offers corporations the best of both worlds, allowing a smooth business transformation." 

Meanwhile, Marie Line Ricard, Partner at PwC France and Francophone Africa and Leader of the Blockchain Lab said; “Today we’re taking a chance to experience new opportunities, new technology, new type of management, new mindset of living together, share and collaborate: this is exactly what Blockchain promises to us.”

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Technology is essential to simplifying the tax compliance process in Nigeria

03 April 2019 Consultancy.africa

Despite increasing pressure on public coffers and the expanding need for tax collection, inefficiency and a lack of user-friendly mechanisms are posing a major barrier to paying taxes in Nigeria, according to Head of Tax at global professional services firm PwC Nigeria Taiwo Oyedele. He posits technology as the solution to this problem.

As one of the largest economies in Africa, Nigeria is increasingly progressing towards higher degrees of economic prosperity, although the government is struggling to benefit from this growth in the current scenario. According to Oyedele, the country’s “revenue to GDP ratio” is at the lowest end of the global spectrum.

Oyedele attributes this high rate of default to the difficulty that Nigerian citizens face in paying their taxes, something that is simultaneously acting as a barrier to other government efforts to solve the problem. “It is a contradiction: you need tax money but you make the process very difficult,” he says.

Currently, the use of digital applications to pay taxes is among the payment options. Oyedele recommends that technology should be made the sole avenue through which tax is collected and administered, thereby making the process of calculation, payment, and filing for returns more efficient.

Technology is essential to simplifying the tax compliance process in Nigeria

In addition, using technology is expected to reduce the costs of paying taxes in the long run, due to what Oyedele terms as “cost of compliance.” “It is actually the money the taxpayer pays that doesn’t get to the government. So, both the taxpayer and the government have an objective to reduce that cost,” he said. 

Oyedele was speaking at the Tax Academy Clinic, and urged tax authorities in the country to enforce reforms in the system. These would be over and above the reforms introduced under the previous Minister of Finance, who initiated the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration to reduce default rates.

Technology is the key according to Oyedele, and he pledged that PwC would support in the process of integration. “In the past, getting your tax clearance certificate used to be like rocket science.When you need it to buy a plot of land or get a contract, getting the TCC is difficult. With technology now, one should be able to get that immediately,” he said.

“We know that these platforms are not perfect yet; so, our role as PwC, helping so many people to pay their taxes and also paying taxes ourselves, is that once we identify what the problems are, we get the stakeholders to come together to see how we can fix the problems,” he added.