NCC CEO, Eugene Juwah
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has said that all network providers in the country's telecommunication industry must pay 2.5 per cent of their annual income as operating levy.
The commission which held a public enquiry on the review of the draft Annual Operating Levy (AOL) in Abuja however accepted to look into some of the issues raised by telecommunication operators in order to develop a sound regulatory framework for the sector.
AOL is a 2.5 per cent charged on the annual revenue of both network and non-network providers.
Among the issues the NCC is seeking to address through the new regulation ranges from non-payment of operating levies, delayed remittances , noncompliance to set ruled and failure to submit financial statement to the commission as required by law.
The draft regulation also seeks to impose sanctions and penalties on defaulters.
Speaking at the public dialogue session with representatives of the telecommunications operators, t Director -General of NCC, Mr. Eugene Juwah, said the draft AOL regulations were aimed at creating and providing an effective and efficient administration of the operating levy regime.
He said the regulations would complement the Act and respective licenses issued by the commission and would also remove any ambiguity existing in respect of AOL and other fees and charges being borne by operators.
"The commission is certain that these regulations will provide the guiding standards and principles for a dynamic AOL administration regime in the Nigerian telecommunication industry and representing another effort by the commission towards ensuring that the standards in the industry reflects international best practices while taking into consideration our local circumstances, " he said.
Thursday's forum witnessed discussions on the specific mode and methods of assessment of the annual operating levy and how the regulations can be implemented without hitches.
All the industry operators, including, Airtel, MTN, Etisalat, Visafone and Glo participated in the public inquiry with most of them expressing concern about the huge inter connectivity debt they have to contend with in their operations.
The network providers asked NCC to reconsider the mode of computing the annual levy charge especially as it concerns the use of gross income.