Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo has revealed that telecom operators in the country faced about 36 levies and taxes, and an additional 5 per cent duty.
Adebayo who disclosed this during an interactive session said another five per cent excise duty has been imposed on recharge cards and vouchers, stressing that all the levies and taxes are making the cost of production too expensive.
The new 5 per cent duty would add to some of the taxes levied on telcos in the country, including tertiary education tax, companies’ income tax, value-added tax, right of way charges, annual operating levy, among others.
Adebayo said all the taxes and levies affect the sector hence the need to review upward the prices of various services being offered by telecom companies.
“Regulators should look at the challenges that we are facing. Government should intervene where they can intervene and I must say not in the way of a bailout but to use the regulatory instruments to get what we want for us.
“The sector should be declared as national critical infrastructure. When this is done, it becomes important like the oil and gas sector across the country. We’re saying any negative impact on the telecommunication sector will affect the entire economy.
“There are levies and taxes defined in the statutory, we have no objections to those ones. The nuisance taxes are the ones that are problematic. If the government says they will charge effluent discharge tax on operators, what is that, we are not an oil service company. What is the environmental sanitation tax on telecommunication companies’.”
Telcos last week asked for upward reviews in voice calls, short message services (SMS) and data costs. The group said the recent excise duty of five per cent on telecom services will further increase the burden of multiple taxes and levies on the industry.