eThink launches in Nigeria through partnership with SmartAlliance Consulting

11 April 2018 Consultancy.africa

Nigerian education consulting firm SmartAlliance Consulting has been recruited by an official partner of two major Learning Management Systems (LMS); Ethink Education. The partnership will work together to introduce eThink’s operations in Nigeria, promoting widespread accessibility as well as providing state-of-the-art educational tools and mechanisms.
 
The two major trends that characterise the current scenario in Africa are an extremely young population in need of education, and the rapid spread of internet and digital access. Combine the two, and one gets the ideal recipe for an e-learning environment.
 
Nigeria is home to the continent’s largest population and the biggest economy, which endows it with the resources required to experiment with this new paradigm; to which end Nigerian firms have already begun targeted efforts. Late last year, Information Communication Technology (ICT) specialist firm Bilyak Consulting launched a digital education app by the name of mAcademy.

Now, global e-learning solutions firm eThink has also recognised the potential in the country, launching in partnership with local education consultancy SmartAlliance Consulting. Based out of Baltimore, eThink is a global education technology firm, which offers e-learning models, customer support for the same, and customised solutions.
 
For the latter, the firm leverages its partnerships with two internationally recognised LMS’; Moodle and Totara. LMS’ are essentially software platforms that are designed to facilitate training and educational programmes, evolving to deliver study materials, conduct tests, track progress, and record grades and other information.
 
Launched in 2002, Moodle is an open-source LMS, which allows for customisation of learning modules as well as the use of data analytics to determine and improve learning outcomes, employed by more than 100 million users across the world. Moodle also offers consulting services, support, training, and certification, the last of which has been bestowed upon eThink. 

eThink + SmartAlliance
 
Totara is a similar LMS, endowed with cloud capabilities, and endorsed by more than 8.5 million users across the world, including high-profile partners such as the NHS, Sony and Tesco. Leveraging these systems, eThink has been successful in expanding across North America and the Caribbean, and has now become the first Moodle Partner in Nigeria with its entry into the lucrative African market.
 
The entry has been made possible through a partnership with Nigerian consulting firm SmartAlliance Consulting, which works with educational and vocational training institutions across the world, offering services such as executive education enrolment, education advisory and consultancy, undergraduate and graduate enrolment, as well as visa and travel support.
 
The firm is based in Abuja, and has previously worked with illustrious clients such as the University of Edinburgh, the Fortis Academy, and Sustainable Business Initiative. Together, the two firms will offer services across all stages of education, from K-12 to higher education, corporate education and training, and even government training.
 
The firms will focus on optimising the learning process, working on flexibility and increased mobility, allowing for time saved on the part of students as well as teachers. The partnership will also be aided by eThink’s African Learning Network, which extends beyond borders and allows for the free exchange of ideas, resources, and learning experiences.
 
Commenting on the new partnership, Brian Carlson, Co-Founder of eThink said, “Our team looks forward to working with Smart Alliance Consulting to support eLearning initiatives in schools, universities, and businesses in Africa. Moodle offers accessibility, flexibility, and the opportunity to innovate when it comes to how learners can engage with educational content, allowing for an easier and more thorough sharing of knowledge.”
 
Meanwhile, Senior Partner at SmartAlliance Consulting, Ekpolador-ebi Koinyan, said, “We look forward to working with eThink to help spread Moodle adoption in Africa. This strategic partnership between eThink Education and Smart Alliance Consulting aims to broaden the spectrum of successes projected for education in Nigeria by accelerating education and preparing for a digital future in a competitive global landscape.”

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.