Telecommunications companies plying their trade in Nigeria, have cried out once again over what they described as, increasing tax burdens on their shrinking business.
Speaking through their body, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), specifically, sought clarification on whose right is it to issue Demand Notices on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) - Federal Ministry of Environment; National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), or the State Ministries of Environment.
In a letter to the Ministry of Environment, ALTON demanded a notice from state ministries of environment on EIA.The letter dated February 21, 2019, and signed by its Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, ALTON said it has received complaints from its members that they have been receiving demand notices for EIA payment from some states government ministries of Environment, which it considered as an aberration of the existing law.
The letter urged the federal government to make a clarification on a number of issues at stake: "That the Federal Ministry of Environment has ceded the EIA oversight functions to some States Ministry of Environment to issue EIA Certification to our members. "That some States Ministry of Environment, as the case may be, can conduct EIA process to our members without recourse to the Federal Ministry of Environment, and National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).
"That the statutory responsibility on environmental issues of the Federal Ministry of Environment (FME), has been transferred to the States Government, and that the states now have the power to collect ecological fund from the private sector after payment has been made to them by the Federal Government."
Recall that a fortnight ago, ALTON had called on the Federal Government to review the Tax and Levy Amended Order 2015. ALTON claimed that the 2015 order, signed by the Minister of Finance in the Goodluck Jonathan's administration, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, created lot of confusion in the taxes and levies regime, making the environment harsh for business, not minding the government's Ease of Doing Business programme.