Telecommunications operators under the aegis of the Association of Licenced Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has called on the federal government to look into the Tax and Levy Amended Order 2015 that was signed by the former Minister of Finance in the last administration, Mrs. Ngozi Okonji-Iwaela, and repeal it in order to save telecoms business from going under.
Chairman of ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, who made the call in a statement yesterday, said since the order was signed in 2015, it has created a lot of confusion in the taxes and levies regime and made the telecoms environment hash for business, not minding the federal government executive rrder on ‘Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.’
According to him, “The telecommunications industry has been the best customer centric sector, where issue pertaining to subscribers are taken very seriously by both the operators and the regulator, and despite all challenges there has not for once been an outage compare to other sectors, where you are put on estimated bills and inconsistence in flight schedules that have made several people missed appointments and valued meetings just to mention few.”
Adebayo who was reacting to media reports making the rounds that there was a face-off between ALTON and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) following the outcome of last week’s meeting held between both bodies, however denied such face-off.
He said: “There was no face-off between NCAA and ALTON and its members. Although we need clarification on the charges, this led to the agreement at the meeting to form an advisory committee which comprises NCAA and ALTON representatives. Our members are responsible corporate citizens of the country and natural partners in progress that follow due processes.”
He further explained: “At the meeting, it was cleared that all taxes charged by the NCAA are statutory as it was in the NCAA Act. The issues of aviation mast height clearance was discussed at the meeting because our members are being charged across the country whether close to the airports or not, and the agency tried to increase some of the charges as reported to us by our members and we took it up with NCAA. ALTON and its members were informed that the essence of the Aviation Height clearance is purely for safety, because they have to identify the routes to guide the Pilots in navigation. We were informed that there are categories of aircraft, big, medium and small, also the choppers and the drones are part of their responsibilities and these are not limited to telecoms infrastructure but to banks, radio stations and high rise building.”
The NCAA Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman, said there are lots of airstrips and helipads, the reason for charging across board.