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NCC to impose 2.5 per cent operating tax on telecoms operators

By The Citizen
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THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has unfolded plan to implement an operating tax on the country's telecommunication operators in an effort aimed at repositioning the sector for improved performance.

The NCC said that all telecommunication providers must pay 2.5 per cent of their yearly income as an operating levy.

The levy would be charged on the yearly revenue of both network and non-network providers.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has commended the NCC on the implementation speed of the Digital Awareness Programmes (DAP), and the Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) projects across the country, hailing both as major citizen empowerment programmes whose impact will be felt across the nation and beyond.

The commission, at a public discussion into the review of the draft Annual Operating Levy (AOL) has agreed 'to look into some of the issues raised by operators, in order to develop a sound regulatory framework.'

Operators Airtel, MTN, Etisalat, VisaFone and Glo all participated in the public inquiry.

The telecoms companies have expressed their concern to the NCC over the huge interconnectivity debt that they must now contend with and have called on the NCC to reconsider the new levy.

Among the issues the NCC is seeking to address through the new regulation ranges from non- payment of operating levies, delayed remittances, non-compliance to set ruled and failure to submit financial statement to the commission as required by law.

The draft regulation also seeks to impose sanctions and penalties on defaulters

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah was quoted as saying, 'The draft AOL regulations are aimed at creating an effective administration of the operating levy regime.

'They will also remove any ambiguity in respect of the AOL and other fees and charges being borne by operators.'

Chairman, House Committee on Communications, Mr. Oyetunde Oladimeji Ojo, at the Commissioning of DAP at Erijiyan Government High School in Ekiti State, said the project was an indication of how the commission has faithfully utilized the budgets appropriated to it by theĀ  government, especially at this period when the availability of physical infrastructures has become the basic criteria for performance measurement.

Ojo said the impact of this project, even in rural Nigeria, can easily be felt and such, conveys the appreciation of government, and the community to the Commission for investing in the future of their youth in an area that is very crucial to the development of the Nigerian nation.

In support of the Commission, he also pledged to pay for the bandwidth fees for the school for the next three years after the expiration of the initial payment by the NCC, to ensure that the school does not experience any down time on its Internet connection in the next four years.

Ojo who led the entire community to the event where the ICT facility was declared open for use by the students and the surrounding community, also inspected the Emergency Communications Centre under construction in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital where he also commended the Commission for helping government to tackle the key issues of security and emergency situations which has become a recurrent problem in the country. He conveyed the words of the Ekiti State Government in pledging every support to the Commission for early completion of the ECC project in the state capital.

Juwah, who was represented by a Commissioner of the NCC, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi, said more than 222 higher institutions across the nation have so far benefitted from DAP while another programme called Wireless Cloud has yet another beneficiary 93 higher institutions of learning.

'DAP is part of the major objectives of the Commission to achieve universal access for ICT. Having conquered the voice telephony, the area of data has become our major focus at the NCC. DAP, and the related programmes, are some of the ways that the Commission has strived to key the Nigerian youth into accelerated universal access. By making Internet services available to the younger generation, we are helping to build the bridge to connect this generation to the next', he said.

Juwah said the components of DAP include an air-conditioned computer lab in a property renovated by the Commission, and equipped with 20 desktop computers, branded computer tables and chairs, a server, a VSAT connection with a one year Internet bandwidth supply, and a 16.5KVA Generator.