By Kamsiyochukwu Mbamalu, Journalism Mentee
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it remains committed to its regulatory role of continually implementing requisite reforms to strengthen the communications in Nigeria.
The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at the NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, stated this while addressing stakeholders at the combined second and third quarters 2023 meeting of the Industry Working Groups (IWG) on multiple taxation and regulations in the telecoms sector.
Addressing the meeting, attended by senior executives of telecom licensees and their umbrella body, the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), as staff of the Commission, Adewolu said the IWG’s activities are geared towards ensuring fair tax policies and eliminating every incident of multiple taxation and regulations impacting the Nigerian telecommunications industry.
He stated that a lot of milestones have been recorded by the industry since the establishment of the IWG over two decades ago, as the platform has proven to be effective in articulating industry concerns in this area and also proffering solutions to these issues.
“Considerable industry gains have been recorded lately, particularly as it relates to the issue of multiple taxation. For instance, His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently signed Four Executive Orders designed to curb multiple taxation in the Country.
“Key amongst them is the Executive Order for the suspension of the five per cent Excise Duty on telecommunication services as well as Excise Duties escalation on other locally manufactured products,” he said.
He described the gains as laudable as, according to him, they continue to serve as inspiring landmarks for the industry, underscoring what can be achieved when the entire industry come together harmoniously to speak with one voice on existential concerns undermining the economic health of the communications industry.
However, the Executive Commissioner said there remains a lot of work to be done as the industry was still beguiled by arbitrary Right of Way (RoW) charges, hidden nuisance taxes and unauthorised regulatory encroachment into the communications industry.
As such, he said the Commission has continued to work assiduously to ensure harmonisation of RoW charges across the country.
He said aside several existing agencies the Commission has been working with, it is also collaborating strategically with sister agencies such as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), in line with the National Economic Council (NEC) resolution of 2012 and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
“We are also working with the Nigerian Mainstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), all in a bid to ensure the regulatory actions taken by the agencies are well synchronised with the regulatory objectives of the Commission, in a manner that boosts market development and industry sustainability,” he said
While tasking telecom licensees to continue to bring burning issues on multiple taxation and regulation to the attention of the Commission as they experience in their daily operation, Adewolu also assured them of NCC’s decision to always make necessary regulatory intervention to boost industry growth.
“The Commission is always inclined to executing the requisite reform that will strengthen the Communications Sector and deepen market development,” he said, as he urged all stakeholders at the IWG meeting to deliberate frankly and productively in highlighting pressing and key issues that require urgent attention.