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FG charts path to successful 5G deployment as MTN pays N757b in taxes

By Adeyemi Adepetun
04 April 2022   |   4:02 am
The Federal Government has charted path to successful Fifth-Generation (5G) deployment in Nigeria.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami PHOTO: Twitter

The Federal Government has charted path to successful Fifth-Generation (5G) deployment in Nigeria.

To the government, for 5G technology to be effective and efficient in the country, three key stakeholders, including policymakers, national regulatory authorities, and network operators, would be very strategic.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, made this known at the weekend in Lagos, when stakeholders converged on the second edition of Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PAIFo), organised by BusinessMetrics Nigeria. The initiative is on Nigeria’s national policy on 5G, with the theme: “Ascertaining Full Readiness to make 5G Work in Nigeria.”

Pantami, who called on Nigerians to support and accept the new technology, said the aforementioned stakeholders must ensure the provision of robust government policies, excellent regulatory and operational efficiency, as well as optimum network performance.

Represented by Head of Spectrum Administration Department of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Abraham Oshadami, the minister stressed that the 5G policy document aligns with other policies of the government and would support their implementation.

His words: “Some of these policies include the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for Digital Nigeria, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020-2025) and the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector.”

“In summary, the 5G policy is designed to ensure effective deployment of 5G to cover major urban areas by 2025; ensure security of 5G ecosystem and the protection of data; ensure that international best practices and globally accepted standards and specifications are entrenched in Nigeria’s 5G ecosystem, besides ensuring that the required infrastructure needed for successful deployment of the network such as data centres, power, etc are catered for in the deployment strategies of 5G Networks,” he added.

On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Uamr Danbatta, represented by Principal Manager, Spectrum Administration Department, Joseph Emeshili, reiterated that to achieve success in the uptake of any technology within any administration, governments are required to put in place excellent policies that would foster development and provide adequate room for innovation.

“As policymakers, the government should foster a pro-investment and pro-innovation environment. It should also consider to undertake its own independent economic assessment of the commercial viability of deploying new technologies (such as 5G in this case) networks with a view to providing a clear regulatory path and to enable all relevant stakeholders, including the network operators, to make informed decisions,” he advised.

Similarly, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, acquainted the forum with various 5G cases in Nigeria to spur investment appetite for the new technology.

Represented by Yau Isa Garba, National Director of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), the NITDA DG delved deep into what the 5G technology is bringing to the table and its industry applications or use cases.

MEANWHILE, in 2021, the amount MTN paid in taxes to all government agencies, including the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), amounted to N757.6 billion.

While the revenue agency collected a total of N6.4 trillion tax revenue in the year, specifically, MTN Nigeria paid a total of N618.7 billion in direct and indirect taxes to the FIRS in the 2021 tax year, which represented approximately 13.5 per cent of the total FIRS collection for the year.

A statement at the weekend, which revealed this, observed that the telecommunications firm was recognised with two awards at the just concluded National Tax Dialogue event organised by the FIRS in Abuja.

MTN Nigeria was applauded as the most tax compliant organisation and a top 20 taxpayer in Nigeria for 2021.

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Modupe Kadri, who received the awards on behalf of the firm, stated: “I am delighted at our performance and recognition at this year’s National Tax Dialogue event. While the past 24 months have been challenging for our country and nations worldwide, we are committed to supporting the Federal Government’s ongoing Economic Growth Recovery Plan (EGRP).

“We will continue to invest heavily in network expansion with focus on expanding access to under-served communities. We also plan to connect an additional 2,000 rural communities in 2022.”

Also speaking, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had said the dialogue was to engage stakeholders in the Nigerian tax space in meaningful discourse to glean information, ideas and experience to aid policy formulation and improve the tax environment.