The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has convened a meeting with state representatives to discuss multiple taxation and issues of Right of Way for telecom operators in the states.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of NCC stakeholders’ engagement meeting with relevant state agencies in charge of telecommunication matters with the theme: “Optimising the Benefits of Telecoms Infrastructure in Nigeria,” yesterday in Abuja, the executive vice chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the meeting was to find an efficient solution to the pressing issue being faced by mobile telecom operators in deploying services in the states, stressing that multiple taxation and high/exorbitant charges for Right of Way (RoW) in states were affecting output of operators.
In his welcome address, NCC’s executive commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr Sunday Dare, noted that telecoms infrastructure were becoming more ubiquitous, adding that licensees were finding it more and more difficult to meet prescribed rollout and quality of service benchmarks.
“The NCC carefully studied the issues and realized that the national network was not functioning at optimal levels due to a number factors such as frequent interruptions, security of infrastructure, power issues, high cost of approvals and slow permitting processes. We therefore we developed an engagement template to deal with those factors that were understandably not within the control of the operators.
“ We approached the governors of the 36 states of the federation and the FCT through the National Economic Council (NEC) for their assistance, and in 2013, they agreed on basic principles to create a more enabling environment for the speedy deployment of new telecoms infrastructure and seamless operation of existing ones,” he said.
Dare said the commission invited the key stakeholders in states telecom sector with the hope to facilitate better mutual understanding and agreement on key issues in order to work together to develop win-win strategies and deliver long-term benefits to our respective states.
In his lecture, a lawyer , Paul Usoro , said the states needed to stop multiple taxation imposed on the telecom operators in the country.
He argued that multiple taxation would always add to what the end users of telecom services pay.
He also said the gains recorded in the telecom industry might decline if the states’ tax policy was not reviewed.
Similarly, Prof Abiola Sanni, argued in his lecture that the telecom industry was already feeling the heavy weight of over regulation.
But he said the telecom operators shouldn’t because of stop deploying infrastructure.
Multiple taxation, he said, wasn’t the problem in itself but proper deployment of telecom infrastructure.