By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, yesterday, raised alarm over multiple taxation by states and Local Governments Areas across the country, claiming it is threatening the operations of the telecom companies.
The commission’s vice-chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made this assertion yesterday during a courtesy visit to Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State in his office.
The NCC boss lamented that the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Nigerian Governor’s Forum, NGF and a former Minister of Communications, which covered all the issues, was not adhered to.
He said apart from multiple taxation, the telecom operators also suffer vandalism and pilfering of telecoms equipment, which hampered expansion of their networks.
He added that some of the government agencies across the country often threaten to shut down the firms’ Base Transceivers Stations over alleged refusal to comply with their tax regime.
This, he argued, the operators see as grossly excessive and at times inappropriate.
He said, “There have been recurring cases of multiple taxation which threaten the operators and by extension telecommunications services.
“There have also been issues of Right of Way approvals to telecoms companies. Various tiers of government including local councils and state government agencies have created enormous challenges to the sector.
“The operators are in a dilemma. And because of this, expansion of the networks is heavily stifled.”
Danbatta noted that unless these challenges were tackled with pragmatic approach, subscribers in the country will continue to witness erratic services.
He appealed to governor Amosun to help plead with his colleagues in the NGF, to find a permanent solution to these challenges.
In his response, Governor Amosun promised to talk with other governors in the NGF on the need to harmonise taxes payable by telecom operators.