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6.63% of Lagos residents without basic telephony service

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Telecoms mast. SOURCE: Nairametrics

• Borno, Yobe, Zamfara have highest gaps in Nigeria
• Three states earn more taxes from telecoms operators

Five states in Nigeria, including Borno, Yobe, Zamfara, Taraba and Sokoto, have the highest number of communities without any basic telephony services.

As at October, the country had 285 million connected telephone lines, out of which 207 million were active. However, about 30 million, according to the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, who reside in some 115 communities, have not had access to basic telephony services.

These gaps identified by Danbatta, were confirmed in a report by the Commission, which ranked Borno as the state with the highest access gaps of 83.41 per cent in the country

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This is followed by Yobe with 81.54 per cent; Zamfara 79.23 per cent; Taraba 77.35 per cent, and Sokoto 75.52 per cent.

The report, with the title: A Compendium of Taxes, Levies and Fees by State Governments on Telecoms Operators in Nigeria and Its Effect on the National Digital Economy Agenda,” discovered that some areas in Lagos are unserved. In other words, Lagos has 6.63 per cent access gaps. Abia State has only 1.99 per cent unserved area; Akwa Ibom with 3.83 per cent; Imo state with 4.13 per cent, and Ekiti with 7.82 per cent.

The NCC report showed that Adamawa 72.6 per cent; Anambra, 14.99 per cent; Bauchi 71.3 per cent; Bayelsa 40.05 per cent; Benue 50.7; Cross River 49.99 per cent; Delta 27.85 per cent; Ebonyi 13 per cent; Ondo 22.86 per cent; Oyo 58.7 per cent; Ogun 13.07 per cent; Rivers 19.86 per cent; FCT 43.55 per cent, Edo 31.25 per cent, among others.

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In all, the report claimed that 61 per cent of the areas of the states in the country are unserved with telecommunication services in Nigeria where 39 per cent are fully served. This, according to the report, is in spite of the significant progress made in the telecom industry in Nigeria. It stressed that there is still space for strong growth in the future.

The report observed that broadband penetration remains weak at 45 per cent as of 2020 relative to peers such as South Africa and Egypt, suggesting that more investment is needed and there are significant earnings prospects.

It stressed that the unserved area by telecommunications operators in the country is still wide and therefore there is still a huge prospect for investment and higher profitability in the country.

MEANWHILE, the report confirmed that there are over 40 different taxes and levies meted out upon the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) carrying out telecoms services in Nigeria. Although these taxes serve as critical sources of revenue for the various tiers of Government in Nigeria, the report, however, stated that there are nonetheless severe national consequences of over-taxation.

According to it, over-taxation limits the prospects of the rollout of a national digital economy because it impedes network expansion efforts by telecoms operators and hinders further build out advancements and investments.

The document informed that Lagos State Government collects the highest amount of taxes, fees and levies from telecoms operators in Nigeria, compared to other states.

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The findings showed that Lagos State collects 32.36 per cent of the total taxes, levies and fees collected by all states in the country.

The study revealed that next to Lagos, Gombe State collected 10.29 per cent of the total taxes, levies and fees and was followed by Delta State with 8.91 per cent.

The report stated, “Lagos having the highest score might be due to the fact that it is the commercial hub of the country housing the largest population in Nigeria, and in addition, is the headquarters of all the mobile network companies in Nigeria, with a huge rollout of terrestrial, sub-terrestrial infrastructure already in place.

“Lagos stands to have a vast amount of businesses operating within its boundaries and most of the telecommunications organisations have their main operational offices within the region.

“Users of telecoms services of various scopes are dispersed in and around the city and its environs, which makes it one of the major reasons for the concentration of telecommunications companies in the state.”

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