By Emmanuel Elebeke
LEADERS of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, ALTON last week paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Communications Technology, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, handing over to him, a six point demand, which they said would ease the operations of telecommunications companies in the country.
The association led by its Chairman, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo listed the demands including multiple taxation, closure of base stations without court orders, proposed communications service tax bill of 2015, considering telecom service as critical national security and economic infrastructure and a bill to reduce unsolicited calls and messages to the minister and appealed for immediate intervention.
Adebayo said that to achieve the desired 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018, he said government must learn to appreciate the need to build more capacity and more viable infrastructure to sustain the success of the industry and increase in broad band roll out.
“W e require more base stations, more optic fibre infrastructure. Another element to support stable telecom operations, we are facing a number of problems, in particular the inference with smooth operations of telecom services, which requires government intervention through your office,” he added.
Speaking on what he called the stifling multiple tax system, Adebayo said time has come for federal government to ensure a streamlined tax system to save operators from unnecessary extortion and harassment from various government agents.
Tax and levies
On the approved list for tax and levies collection, Adebayo raised concerns on the recent amendment of the section 1 (2) of the taxes and levies in may, 2015, in which the former minister introduced 14 additional taxes, which he said defeated the purpose for their introduction. He urged the minister to look into the issue for quick resolution.
Proposed Communications Service Tax Bill of 2015
On the proposed Communications Service Tax Bill 2015, he urged the Minister to prevail on the President to talk the minister of finance that the new law they are trying to introduce will not help the development of telecoms. And also the proposed telecom service tax 2015 before the national Assembly.
He argued that If passed into law, it would bring additional tax to the end users, who currently pay 5 per cent for VAT, bring a total tax charge to 14 per cent will add to the affordability of broadband services. Such a tax will further increase the digital divide with resultant imp[act on our national broadband roll out objectives.”