NCC, FIRS get joint revenue quality assurance committee for telecoms
In order to improve the level of efficiency in tax management and revenue generation through deployment of technology, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) recently set up a Revenue Quality Assurance Committee for the telecommunications sector.
This was the highpoint of the discussions between Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman (EVC) of the NCC, and Mr. Babatunde Fowler, chairman of FIRS, after a courtesy visit of Fowler to the NCC Headquarters.
Specifically, the joint committee with four members each from the two organisations is to examine and suggest ways through which the level of transparency can be attained via technology in tax management for FIRS and the returns from Annual Operating Levy (AOL) for the NCC.
The committee should also see how staff matters including payments are addressed. It is also to audit the states and proffer what benefits are accruable to them in terms of taxes collected.
It is expected to work out a recommendation to facilitate the Type Approval of telecommunications equipment that can be used for a transparent assessment of the operators revenues.
Prof. Danbatta told his visitor that the NCC has expressed serious concerns over the shutting down of Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in the States indiscriminately without recourse to the Commission.
“This is worrisome as it undermines the capacity to provide telecom services, thereby denying consumers quality of services”
The EVC cited the Resolution of the National Economic Council on Multiple Taxation, Levies and Charges on ICT Infrastructure in Nigeria dated March 21, 2013 saying the document is very clear on the issues of multiple taxations, levies, Right of Ways (RoWs) among others.
Danbatta pleaded with the FIRS Chairman “to help us propagate the provisions of the policy to the Joint Tax Board (JTB)”.
The FIRS boss had earlier narrated his worries over the taxes being collected from MNOs in the States.
Mr. Fowler said his concerns stem from the fact that MNOs do not remit the Value Added Tax (VAT) already charged as at when due, “while some decide when they will remit it but the law stipulates that such taxes must be remitted to the FIRS between 20/21 of each month.
Some too have not fulfilled the annual returns”, he added.
In an earlier working document sent to the Commission, the FIRS had requested the permission of NCC to connect its equipment to the MNOs networks for a direct interface to which Prof. Danbatta responded that such equipment must go through the Type Approval process.
Danbatta however said that the NCC sees collaboration with the FIRS as a decision in the right direction.
This underscores what Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari said recently about the collaboration of inter-governmental agencies which saw to the timely completion of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja ahead of the time schedule.