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Regulatory Affair: NCC restates commitment to activating reforms to strengthen telecoms industry

L-R: Henry Ojiokpota, Lagos Zonal Controller of NCC; Chika Anohu, Assistant Director, Financial Services; Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at NCC; Isa Olatinwo, Head of Compliance Monitoring; Gbolahan Awonuga, Executive Secretary,  Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria; and Dr. Olubunmi Bamijoko, Ibadan Zonal Controller of NCC, at NCC’s Quarterly Meeting of Telecoms Industry Working Group on Multiple Taxation and Regulations in Ibadan, Oyo State Capital     Photo: NCC

*The Nigerian Communications Commission restates its commitment to regulatory role of continually implementing requisite reforms to strengthen the communications sector, stating how the Industry Working Groups’ forum addresses fair tax policies and regulations impacting the country’s telecoms industry

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has restated its commitment to the Commission’s regulatory role of continually implementing requisite reforms to strengthen the communications sector in the West African country.

Adeleke Adewolu,  Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM) at NCC, 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.

Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, disclosed the telecoms regulatory Commission convened the meeting held in Ibadan, Oyo State capital Tuesday, September 5, 2023, as a prelude to a more elaborate Regional Stakeholders’ Workshop on Multiple Taxation and Regulations, scheduled to hold in the ‘Pacesetters State’ Wednesday this week.

On multiple taxation, regulations in telecoms ecosystem

Addressing the meeting, attended by senior executives of telecoms licensees and their umbrella body, the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), as staff of the Commission, Muoka noted Adewolu said the IWG’s activities were geared towards ensuring fair tax policies and eliminating every incident of multiple taxation and regulations impacting the Nigerian telecommunications industry.

The ECSM also stated that a lot of milestones had been recorded in the industry since the establishment of the IWG over two decades ago.

The platform has proved to be effective in articulating industry concerns in this area and also proffering solutions to these issues, said Adewolu.

The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management of NCC further stated: “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.”

He said: “Key among 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.”

The ECSM as well described the gains as laudable as they continue to serve as inspiring landmarks for the industry, underscoring what can be achieved when the entire industry stakeholders come together harmoniously to speak with one voice on existential concerns undermining the economic health of the communications industry.

NCC identifies other areas requiring attention

The Commission stated the Executive Commissioner, however, said there remained 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 had continued to work assiduously to ensure harmonisation of RoW charges across the country.

Collaborations for market development, industry sustainability

Aside from several existing agencies the Commission has been working with, Adewolu disclosed the telecoms industry regulator 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).

He also disclosed, “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.”

The Commission tasked telecoms licensees to continue to bring burning issues on multiple taxation and regulations to the attention of the Commission as they experience in their daily operations.

The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Engagement assured them of the NCC’s decision to always make necessary regulatory intervention to boost industry growth.

Adewolu stated: “The Commission is always inclined to executing the requisite reform that will strengthen the Communications Sector and deepen market development.”

He, therefore, urged all stakeholders at the IWG meeting to deliberate frankly and productively, in highlighting pressing and key issues that require urgent attention in the industry.

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