Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, Thursday raised the alarm over the shutting down of telecommunications base stations by state governments and agencies, saying it engenders security risk.
He made the call at the South-West Stakeholders’ Parliament with relevant agencies in charge of telecommunications matters with the theme: ‘Optimising the benefits of Telecoms Infrastructure in Nigeria’, held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Danbatta, represented at the forum by the Director of Legal and Regulatory Services of the Commission, Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, said the habit of shutting down stations must stop, adding that state governments and other agencies should rather be interested in protecting the base stations and other Telecom infrastructures.
While urging the state governments to devise other means of dealing with issues that have do with tax collection on base stations and telecoms infrastructure, he also called for certainty and transparency in the mode of collecting taxes and other revenue on the telecoms industries by the state governments.
The Executive Commissioner of the Stakeholders’ Management, Mr. Sunday Dare, whose address was read by Akinloye, said telecoms infrastructures are critical to the socio-economic progress of the states and the people, noting that it is everybody’s interest to remove any impediment to the fast deployment and their seamless operations.
Dare maintained that governments across the world are leveraging on ICTs to deepen socio-economic development, stating that Nigeria should not be an exception.
He lamented that multiple taxation and regulation across several ministries agencies and departments (MDAs) remained the greatest impediment to achieving technology infrastructure objectives.
The Director of Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement of NCC, Mr. Efosa Idehen, who said state governments can rake in more internally generated revenue (IGR) using telecoms, urged the state governments to balance the drive for IGR demand with developmental needs of the state.
He charged them not to drive away investors from their states but to encourage them, while enjoining service providers and the state governments to work together and harmonise their positions.
Also, a professor of Commercial Law, Abiola Sanni, who spoke on ‘Harmonisation of Taxation of Telecommunications Infrastructure’, urged the regulators not to kill the sector with regulations.
Also speaking, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Paul Usoro, represented by Sixtus Onuka, in his paper: ‘Legal framework for telecommunications infrastructure rollout’, urged governments to develop incentives for investors that would bring about expansion of telecommunications infrastructure.