Nigerian telcos slam multiple taxes

Telecoms operators say over N10 billion in multiple taxation is imposed on them annually. This, they say, is threatening their survival, and could result in decreased network quality and price increases for subscribers.

Some local governments are reported to be charging taxes of up to N10 million on each base station site, in addition to state and national levies. With around 20,000 base stations rolled out, but up to 70,000 needed, the taxes could prove crippling to development, say telcos.

Nigerian telecom operators have said that the over N10 billion annual multiple taxations levied them by local, state and federal governments and their agencies was threatening the survival of the telecom sector as investors may be pushed to divest from the sector which may in turn aggravate the quality on networks.

The chairman of the Industry Working Group (IWG) on multiple taxations and Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management at NCC, Okey Itanyi, warned that the taxes could eat into gains the country had made in the telecoms sphere.

The industry still requires investments in network infrastructure to ensure full access across the country, and to guarantee good and acceptable quality of service which has become a major challenge," he said.

The President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, Chief Deolu Ogunbajo, said that as recently as five or six years ago, operators had been charged about N10, 000 or N20, 000.  However, now taxes ran into millions of naira, he said.

The Association of Licenced Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) warned that the high taxes could leave telecoms operators with no choice but to shut down.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said called on the relevant authorities to review and amend the laws on taxation.

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