Remove Multiple Taxes on Telecoms Companies – NCC

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The Nigerian Communications Commission wants the government at all levels in Nigeria to end multiple taxation of companies in the telecom industry as well as remove other barriers hampering growth in the sector

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Nov 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, is calling on the federal government to remove all barriers that are hindering the fast deployment of broadband services in Nigeria, especially incessant and multiple taxes and their enforcement. Tony Ojobo, director, public affairs, NCC, made the call at the recent International Telecoms Union, ITU, Telecom World conference held in Budapest, Hungary.

“Unfriendly tax system is usually a disincentive to investment and so, if you have a friendly tax regime especially for investment, there will be actually no anxiety for investors and it will go a long way to create jobs and also grow businesses,” he said.

According to Ojobo, the commission had been working hard with various stakeholders in the country to make them understand the negative implications of multiple taxes on foreign direct investment, FDI, into the nation’s telecoms sector, adding: “This is the direction we want the country to toe going forward.”

He explained that to encourage telecoms investors to come to Nigeria to invest in the broadband sector, there was need for various stakeholders in the country to join the NCC’s efforts in creating a much friendlier and more conducive environment for telecoms business. By encouraging more investment into the country, Nigeria stands the chance of getting improved quality of services on their mobile networks and from licensed internet service providers.

He noted that the challenges confronting telecoms sector in most developing countries were peculiar, and they include, power, vandalism and multiple taxation, among others. “Some governments at some level are looking at telecoms as ‘cash-cow’ that they need to milk as much as possible. You find out that  in developed countries, it is not so because telecoms is now an enabler, which continues to impact existing sectors and creating new ones such as e-commerce in the economy. So, I think there is need for a bit of understanding and government also needs to know it,” he said.

Ojobo explained that already the NCC had started engaging the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, to ensure that all existing bottlenecks to broadband infrastructure deployment are removed to encourage investment inflow. “Our Executive Vice Chairman made a presentation at the NGF recently on the need for state governments to remove the bottlenecks hampering the deployment of ICT infrastructure in the states with a view to getting them to understand that, being an enabler, it will be more beneficial to have this infrastructure on ground that would help to generate revenue and create jobs and also grow the middle-class in those states than having to tax operators heavily before investment.”

According to him, the NCC had quality engagement with international communities and global investors at the ITU conference this year. The event provided NCC the opportunity to share best international practices with other regulators and equipment manufacturers on how to move the nation’s telecoms sector forward. “The quality of engagement and discussions with investors has been very impressive, especially after the Nigerian Night, which held on the second day of the conference, precisely on October 12.

“At the Nigerian Night, we showcased the giant strides that we have taken in the area of ICT as well as the potential, looking at our population and what has happened in the area of entertainment, education, agriculture and e-commerce among others. Indeed, investors have been coming to ask us questions to really know how they can go about bringing investment in those areas. Huawei invited us to make a presentation, looking at the technology of the future, especially in the area of broadband and we believe it was engaging.

“Some investors from Hungary have also come to ask questions and they have been given the kind of information that they require and I think that will go along in helping them to take decision on how best to invest in Nigeria’s broadband initiative,” Ojobo said.

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