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Multiple taxation hinders investment in telecom sector, says NCC



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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said multiple taxation and regulation of the  telecoms industry discourage investments and  deny government of long-term revenues as well as destroy the foundations for future growth.

The Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management) of the NCC, Sunday Dare, disclosed this during the  South-East edition of  the  NCC Stakeholders’ Parliament themed: “Optimizing The Benefits of Telecoms Infrastructure in Nigeria” held in Enugu.

He emphasized that it was a matter of great worry that at this point in Nigeria’s history, “we are still talking about protecting telecoms infrastructure from interference by agencies of government, or from multiple taxation and regulations, when all levels of government should actually be the ones encouraging and incentivizing operators to build infrastructure in their domains.”

Represented at the occasion by Mr. Alkassim Umar, Head, Compliance Monitoring at NCC, Dare said that in essence, “this is why we must all work towards win-win solutions that enable operators roll-out fast and efficient networks which create opportunities for our citizens and develop our economies.”

He said the NCC must take a long-term view of the need to provide a conducive environment for the spread of telecoms infrastructure, “be they BTS sites or fibre infrastructure.”

He, however, stressed that the current “practice of imposing heavy sector-specific taxes and charges on telecoms infrastructure; levying huge Right-of-Way charges and decreeing onerous regulations may appear to bring immediate revenues to the coffers of the state.”

Dare said the NCC must always insist that all “our licensees must comply with all legitimate tax and other obligations binding on them anywhere they operate.

“Section 135 of the Nigerian Communications Act is very clear on this point, and it is one of the key elements of the NCC’s Code of Corporate Governance for the Telecoms Industry.”

He further said: “We must all appreciate that the growth and seamless operations of telecoms infrastructure is critical to the social and economic growth of our states and communities.

“This is why they are called “Critical National Infrastructure”, and this is why both the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, and the Cybercrime Act of 2015 both prescribe heavy penalties (including terms of imprisonment) for those who tamper with such infrastructure.”

In his speech titled “Legal Framework For Telecommunications Infrastructure Rollout,” the National Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro (SAN), said some of the challenges plaguing the telecoms infrastructure included multiple taxation and duplicated regulations.


He said these challenges were major hindrances to telecoms infrastructure rollout and broadband penetration.

“Multiple levies by governments are major disincentive to investors and threaten investment opportunities. It subdues telecoms infrastructure rollout and expansion,” said Usoro, ably represented by Chinedu Anyaso.

However, a tax expert and  Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Lagos, Prof. Abiola Sanni, described telecoms sector as the bedrock for economic growth in the country, explaining  that the main problem bedevilling the sector was the abuse of regulatory power by the agencies.

He advised stakeholders to sustain the advocacy for curbing exorbitant, arbitrary and oppressive charges by government ministries, departments and agencies.”

The stakeholders who attended the parliament were drawn the telecom operators and state government agencies related to telecoms industry.

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