Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON) has called on the federal government to address the issue of multiple taxes which it described as irrelevant saying it stifles economic growth.
The group claimed the government is in the habit of imposing taxes that have no bearing with telecoms operations like Parking tax, Effluent Discharge tax, Social Service levy, PAYE tax, Right of Way tax, Sewage tax, Environmental/Ecological tax, Hawking levy, Building Fitness levy, among many others.
Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, ALTON, in an interview, said the development had been a recurrent decimal that requires an Executive Order.
Over-taxation has several consequences which includes limiting Nigeria’s economic growth due to its negative impact on telecoms operators’ expansion drive, sector investment and advancement.
He said, “This then limits digital inclusion and mobile penetration. As some of these taxes are passed on to consumers, the vicious cycle continues, as mobile/data usage falls, the government tax net remains narrow and revenue targets are not met.
“Our major challenge stems from the activities of supposed landowners of infrastructure sites, states, and local governments. We have instances where state and local government authorities have physically invaded offices, locked up base stations, and employed other unwholesome tactics to enforce these taxes and levies.”
He called for an urgent re-evaluation of Nigeria’s fiscal priorities fit for population explosion set to occur over the next two decades.
“The current fiscal landscape reflects an approach that emphasises short term unsustainable gain at the expense of long term sustainable growth. No nation has ever taxed itself into prosperity. Governments do need money. How often, and from whom they take it, are difficult political issues; but we must ask the questions that lead us on a path to envisioning a better Nigeria for us all.
“We must designate telecoms assets as critical national infrastructure, to safeguard the lifeblood of our nation from disruptive actions with rising insecurity and terrorist activity, our intelligence and emergency forces,” he added.