The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has released the list of States, Local Government in the country with the highest levies and taxes that is making the telecoms operators in the telecoms industry unable to breath.
The list showed how Governments in all levels of the Federation make it difficult for the telecoms companies to deploy infrastructure needed to drive the nation’s digital economy to the desired destination.
According to a document of the NCC, sighted by TechnologyMirror, the Commission revealed that some of the states have established special Agencies for the purpose collecting these additional levies and taxes from the operators.
In the document titled: “Telecoms Infrastructure Deployment in Nigeria and the issues of Multiple Regulation/Taxation”, the regulator stated the several ways of how these states collect huge sums of money from the telecos and the actions taken against defaulting companies.
The Commission disclosed that in Cross River State, the Internal Revenue Service demands N510 million for cell site revenue between 2005 and 2010 from telecos while the operators were also expected to pay to the Ministry of Lands and Housing Town Planning Authority N1.2 million per base station site before works commences.
Similarly, in Delta State, the NCC said that the Ministry of Environment demanded N276 million from a single operator as ecological tariff levy, and that is besides N1.2 million collected by each Local Government Environment Ministries for gaseous emission, effluent discharge, sanitation fees/levies cell sites.
At the Nigerian capital city, the Abuja Municipal Area Council demanded N257 million from MTN Nigeria Plc as annual charge for the telecoms operator’s base stations while in Imo State, the Imo State Environmental Transformation
Commission (ENTRACO), asked from Airtel Nigeria, N262.4 million for pest/vector control fee and fumigation charges for the year 2008-2011.
In Ondo State, the Signage and Advertisement Agency demanded N34 million as signage/outdoor fee for base stations and N12.35 million for state support levy, base stations of telecos that did not pay were shut-down for days, and that is besides Economic Development Levy on Mast Installation at N700,000 per site.
In Imo State, the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning replicated planning permit approval fee of N500,000.00 per site despite previous payments to Town Planning Authorities for the same sites and for the same purpose while the State’s Town Planning Authority collects N720,000 per base station as permit fees.
The Lagos Government has an Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit that asks telecoms operators to pay N2 million for each newly installed telecoms masts, N1 million for each existing ones, and N500, 000 as renewal fees for each telecoms masts installed in the state.
In Anambra State, the Anambra State Signage and Advert Agency demanded N4.5 million from 9Mobile formerly Etisalat and that is beside N700,000 for every new base stations constructed in the state, which comes with a defaulting fine N1 million while every telecos in the state must cough-out to the state Ministry of Environment N500,000
per base station as Environmental Impact Assessment fees.
And in Abia State, the Abia State Infrastructural Development Fund Board slammed a N1.9 million on Airtel Nigeria as infrastructural development levy, when the fee was not coming, staff of the telecos in an Airtel shop in Umuahia shops were harassed and threat issued to lock up Base Stations.
Also in the Abia state, the State Environmental Protection Agency has a N300,000 per new site for environmental support fee in the state, a failure to comply comes Forceful stoppage of work at site, threat to use Police to arrest Contractor. The Abia State Town Planning Authority also has a demand levy N65,000 per site as permit and
processing fees for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) registration.
The Bauchi State Signage and Advertisement Management Agency collects Signage, Branding and Advert Levy of N755,560,000 from the operators and the penalty often results to threat to shut down base stations, offices
and Institution of Court action.
For the Bayelsa State Government, the Ministry of Environment receives N3 million from operators for Effluent Discharge and Turbidity levy, while in Yenegoa, the state capital, its local government council demands N1.05 million for operational permit, sewage, signpost/advert fee and local government support levy.
In Kano State, all the 44 Local Government Authorities demands erection permit fees that are not fixed, and in Ogun State, it is the same, the Government Emission Control Scheme payment which is not fixed, and also Petroleum Product Storage Facility Assessment which is not fixed as Operators were asked to negotiate with selected consultants.
while expressing his concern on the impact of these additional levies and taxies on the industry, the Commission in the document that was signed by the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr Aminu Maida said that the taxes and levies charged by the different three tiers of government should be ascertainable, predictable on a clear
defined criteria and known in advance what taxes they are liable to pay.
The 93 pages study document recommended that there is need to set up a Telecom Finance Corporation on the principle
to provide additional investment for the industry adding that the 3 tiers of government should adopt uniform RoW across all states at a uniform and reasonable cost.