Don't Miss

Telcos threaten to shut operations over arbitrary taxes

By on January 31, 2016

Telecommunications companies have threatened to shut down their operations in six states of the federation over alleged arbitrary taxes and incessant closure of Base Transceiver Stations sites, among others.

The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said that the action had become necessary given the continued harassment of telecoms operators by state agents.

“Such harassment in Ogun, Ondo, Akwa-Ibom, Ebonyi, Osun and Kaduna states is impacting negatively on service quality,” he said.

Adebayo said that the body had continued to record cases of arbitrary site closure in many states of the federation in an attempt to force service providers to pay local taxes and levies.

“Some of these taxes are multiple in nature and most of them are only aimed towards telecoms operators,” the ALTON chairman said.

Adebayo added that the states were treating the industry as an extractive one and imposing myriads of taxes on members as well as closing down the BTS sites arbitrarily by their agents, not minding the security and economic implications on their states.

Meanwhile, the association stated that telecommunications operators were subjected to the payment of taxes, including ‘Eco Tax for gaseous emission.”

It stated that this was the case even when players did not have moving machinery and production lines; and others such as sewage, sanitation and public convenience levies.

“What has telecoms services got to do with sanitation and refuse effluent tax, and when we don’t operate fast food centres. How can a base station’s situation in a farmland be regarded as business premises and therefore liable to business premises tenement rate payment?

“Why is the rate charged per base station in the urban areas different from the rate applied for residential and commercial buildings when the infrastructure occupies the same land?” it said.

However, Adebayo said that telecommunications operators had resolved that the arbitrary sealing of their sites without clearly following the guidelines provided by the Nigeria Communications Commission, and in line with best practices, would no longer be tolerated.