NCC expresses concerns over indiscriminate shutting down of BTS by States

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The Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, has expressed serious concerns over the shutting down of Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in the States indiscriminately without recourse to the Commission.

Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta stated this while playing host to the Chairman of FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

The EVC cited the Resolution of the National Economic Council on Multiple Taxation, Levies and Charges on ICT Infrastructure in Nigeria dated March 21, 2013 saying the document is very clear on the issues of multiple taxations, levies, Right of Ways (RoWs) among others.

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“This is worrisome as it undermines the capacity to provide telecom services, thereby denying consumers’ quality of services,” Danbatta explained. He pleaded with the FIRS Chairman “to help us propagate the provisions of the policy to the Joint Tax Board (JTB)”.

The FIRS boss had earlier narrated his worries over the taxes being collected from MNOs in the States. He said his concerns stem from the fact that MNOs do not remit the Value Added Tax (VAT) already charged as at when due, “while some decide when they will remit it but the law stipulates that such taxes must be remitted to the FIRS between 20/21 of each month. Some too have not fulfilled the annual returns”, he added.

In an earlier working document sent to the Commission, the FIRS had requested the permission of NCC to connect its equipment to the MNOs networks for a direct interface to which Prof. Danbatta responded that such equipment must go through the Type Approval process.

Danbatta however said that the NCC sees collaboration with the FIRS as a decision in the right direction.

Recall that the NCC in collaboration with the FIRS recently set up a Revenue Quality Assurance Committee for the telecommunications sector.

Specifically, the joint committee with four members each from the two organisations is to examine and suggest ways through which the level of transparency can be attained via technology in tax management for FIRS and the returns from Annual Operating Levy (AOL) for the NCC.

It is expected to work out a recommendation to facilitate the Type Approval of telecommunications equipment that can be used for a transparent assessment of the operators revenues.

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