The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has cautioned state governments against the adverse effect of multiple taxation on the growth of telecommunication sector.
The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, of the commission, Mr Sunday Dare, raised the concern at the North-East Stakeholders’ Parliament meeting with Relevant Agencies in Charge of Telecommunications Matters in Yola.
Represented by Mr Alkasim Umar, the Head of Compliance and Monitoring of NCC, he said communication is very critical to social and economic growth of a state, adding that everything needed to be done to encourage its expansion.
“It is therefore a matter of great worry that at this point in our history, we are still talking about protecting telecoms infrastructure from interference by agencies of government, or from multiple taxation and regulations, when all levels of government should actually be the ones encouraging and incentivising operators to build infrastructure in their domains.
“In essence, we all must take a long-term view of the need to provide a conducive environment for the spread of telecoms infrastructure, be they BTS sites or fibre infrastructure.
“The current practice of imposing heavy sector-specific taxes and charges on telecoms infrastructure; levying huge Right-of-Way charges and decreeing onerous regulations may appear to bring immediate revenues to the coffers of the state. But let us be clear: multiple taxation and regulation of the telecoms industry discourage investment.
“They deny government of long term revenues and they destroy the foundation for future growth.
“This is why we must all work towards win-win solutions that enable operators to roll-out fast and efficient networks which create opportunities for our citizens and develop our economies,” Dare said.
He noted that there was empirical evidence provided by World Bank that improvement in penetration of broadband and ICT infrastructure by 10 per cent would boost national GDP by 2.5 per cent in one year, saying the revenue from communication is catching up with oil.
High-point of the meeting was the presentation of papers on “Harmonisation of Taxation/Regulation of Telecommunications Infrastructure” and “Legal Framework for Telecommunications Infrastructure Rollout” presented by Prof. Abiola Sanni and Paul Usoro (SAN), respectively.