22 March 2012

Nigeria: Telecommunications Operators Lament Over Multiple Taxes, Levies

Telecommunications operators have raised alarm over what they described as undue taxes and levies imposed on them by government and its agencies across the country.

Worried by some of the levies and taxes, which they claimed will push up tariffs in the industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), set an Industry Working Group on the 19th of January to mediate with government on behalf of telecoms operators.

Meeting for the second time in Lagos on Thursday, the Committee on Industry Working Group (IWG) on multiple taxes, gave shocking revelation on the levies and taxes imposed on telecoms operators across the country.

According to Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Okechukwu Itanyi who doubles as the Executive Commissioner in charge of Stakeholders' Management at the NCC, Abia State Infrastructural Development Fund Board is demanding N1.9 million from Airtel as infrastructural development levy, and also the State Environmental Protection Agency is demanding N300,000. per new site for Environmental Support fee and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) registration in the state. Again Abia State Town Planning Authority is demanding N65,000 per site as permit and processing fees.

Imo State Environmental transformation Commission (ENTRACO) is demanding from Airtel, N262.4 million for pest/vector control fee and fumigation charges for the year 2008 - 2011, and the State Town Planning Authority is demanding N720, 000 per base station as permit fees, while Anambra State Ministry of Environment is demanding N500,000 per base station as Environmental Impact Assessment fees.

The Anambra State Signage and Advert Agency is demanding N4.5 million from Etisalat as outdoor advertising for base stations.

The Cross River State Internal Revenue Service is also demanding N510 million for cell site revenue due for 2005-2010, and the State Town Planning Authority is demanding N1.2 million per base station .

Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment is demanding N3 million for Effluent Discharge and Turbidity levy, while in Yenegoa, the state capital, its local government council is demanding N1.05 million for operational permit, sewage, signpost/advert fee and local government support levy.

In Delta State, the Ministry of Environment is demanding N276 million from a single operator as ecological tariff levy, while in Ondo State, the Signage and Advertisement Agency is demanding for N34 million as signage/outdoor fee for base stations and N12.35 million for state support levy.

In Katsina State, the Urban Development Authority is demanding for N755,000 as building permit and Environmental Impact Assessment fees, while in Abuja, the Municipal Management Council is demanding N257 million from MTN as annual charge for the telecoms operator's base stations mounted in the Federal Capital Territory.

Reacting to levies, Vice Chairman of the Industry Working Group, Mrs. Oyeronke Oyetunde, who is a Senior Manager with MTN Nigeria, said the levies remained unacceptable because they are inimical to the growth of the telecoms industry.

The committee, she said, will continue to dialogue with government and its various agencies for them to see reasons why they must drop the levies and taxes.

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