The Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Tony Ojobo, has advocated for flexible and robust tax regime for operators of the nation’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector as a way of boosting growth and profitability.
Mr. Ojobo said this on the sideline at the recently held International Telecoms Union (ITU) Telecom World conference in Budapest, Hungary. He said: “unfriendly tax system is a disincentive to investment and so, if you have a friendly tax regime especially for investment, there will be no anxiety for investors and it will go a long way in creating jobs and also growing businesses.”
He said the commission has been working assiduously with various stakeholders in the country to make them understand the negative implications of multiple taxation on the inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the nation’s telecoms sector.
“We are talking with Governors and other stakeholders to reach a common ground in the way telecoms taxes are imposed so that it does not hurt the government, the investors and the consumers. At the end of the day, we expect a win-win situation for all the stakeholders including the government because if we have more investments coming in, it will translate to more subscribers across all platforms namely voice, data and video and this will in the long run aggregate to more tax paid to government”, he said.
Meanwhile, the commission has clamped down on seven major importers of unapproved phones and accessories in the country. The importers are based in Kano State.
The NCC Director said to encourage telecommunications investors into Nigeria to invest in our broadband sector, there was need for various stakeholders in the country to join the NCC’s efforts in creating a much friendlier and more conducive environment for telecoms business.
He also said by encouraging more investment into the country, Nigeria stands the chance of getting improved quality of service on their mobile networks and from licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Ojobo, who noted that the challenges confronting telecoms sector in most developing countries are peculiar, said emerging challenges are power, vandalism and multiple taxation, among others.
“Some governments at some level are looking at telecoms as ‘cash-cow’ that they tried to milk as much as possible. You find out that in developed countries, it is not so because telecoms is now an enabler, which continues to impact existing sectors and creating new ones such as e-commerce. So, I think there is need for a bit of understanding and government also needs to know it,” he said.
On the Kano clampdown, the commission said the unregistered firms were raided for being marketers of unregistered mobile phones.
The commission’s raid also included a phone shop on Beirut Road, Kano over complaints of selling unapproved products to the public. The NCC Head of Enforcement in Kano, Salisu Abdu, said that a major competitor filed a complaint on the marketing of one of the unapproved handsets by the dealer on Beirut Road.
“Based on our investigations, it was established that Rokea Merchant Group is dealing in non-type approved handsets, which ought to have been registered by NCC but it failed to comply hence the clampdown”, he said.