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Multiple taxation choking Telcos, says ALTON


[FILES] ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo

Telecommunications operating companies in Nigeria have again urged the federal government to review the Amended Tax Order of 2015 to reduce multiple taxation.

To them, the current heavy taxes imposed on telecoms companies at the federal, state and local government levels, have been major obstacle, which retards economic growth, limits profits, compromises quality of service and slows network expansion.

In addition to the statutory taxes levied on operators; telecommunications operators pay Annual Operating Levy (AOL) of certain percentage of earnings to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and are required in addition to pay various rates and charges to other Federal Government agencies (e.g. Consumer Protection Council, Nigeria Lottery Commission, federal and state ministries of environment etc), authorities in every state and local Government in which they operate.

Also the police and thugs, who supported the drive of the multiple tax imposers make it difficult to resist them

Association of Licenced Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) therefore asked the Federal Government to review the Amended Tax Order of 2015 to reduce multiple taxation.

Recall that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, acting through the then Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had on May 26, 2015, amended the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act, Cap. T2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Gbolahan Awonuga, secretary of ALTON, said that there was need to review the order, adding that “the tax order was amended and signed by the former Minister of Finance, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala because it created more problems and confusion.

He said: “However, ALTON is seeking another review and we are planning to send it to the National Economic Council for consideration.”

Awonuga said that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had taken steps to address the issue of multiple taxation and had been having stakeholders’ meetings and discussing with states on how to put a stop to the issue.

Nodding in agreement, Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of the group, said that “our members are constantly harassed, their base stations and offices locked indiscriminately by governments, especially at the lower tiers over alleged refusal to pay taxes and levies.

“Our major challenge stem from the activities of states and local governments. Members have brought documents evidencing requests for taxes and levies that are, in our view, outside of what is prescribed by law. We hear also with evidences from our members, instances where state and local government authorities have physically invaded offices, locked up base stations and employed other unwholesome tactics to enforce these taxes and levies,” he said.

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