NCC Directs MTN, Glo, Four Others to Submit Financial Statements

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Ikechukwu Adinde

Emma Okonji

The Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC), has directed the Airtel Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited (9Mobile), Globacom Nigeria, Main One Cable Company Limited and IHS Nigeria to submit to submit their Regulatory Financial Statement (RFS) to the commission within seven months after the end of the licensees’ financial year.

The NCC said the directive is part of the implementation of the Accounting Separation Framework (ASF) in the Nigerian telecoms industry, which took effect from July 15, 2020, as stipulated in Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003.

The agency said it would further ensure transparency and accountability in regard to effective regulation and prevention of anti-competitive behaviour.

The Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said: “With the commencement of the implementation of the framework, telecoms licensees are, henceforth, obligated to submit their Regulatory Financial Statement (RFS) to the commission in line with the new ASF, within seven months after the end of the licensees’ financial year.”

He quoted the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, as expressing optimism about the framework.

Danbatta noted that “the new ASF will promote an industry environment that fosters open and transparent financial reporting, while ensuring that charges for telecom services are cost-based and non-discriminatory.”

The commission, however, stated that submission of RFS in line with the new framework, would be limited to only six telecom licensees.

The NCC added that this would subsist for an initial period of two years after which the regulator may review the list to include other operators.

The six licensees include Airtel Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited (9Mobile), Globacom Nigeria, Main One Cable Company Limited and IHS Nigeria.

Danbatta explained that the decision was taken to ensure that necessary structure were in place for reviewing and analysing the accounts before applying the new framework to all licensees in the industry.

He, however, stated that any other licensee willing to prepare its financial statements in line with the new framework would be allowed to do so.

He said the commission may exercise its discretion to demand that a licensee prepare and submit separated account where it is determined that the activities of such a service provider are deemed critical to the overall well-being of the Nigerian telecoms industry.

“Therefore, for full and effective implementation of the Framework, every operator under the ambit of accounting separation is required to prepare an Operator-specific Accounting Separation Manual (OASM) containing policies, principles, methodologies and procedures for accounting and cost allocation, which must be submitted to the commission on or before October 30, 2020, for regulatory approval.

“Licensees shall also be required to prepare their financial and non-financial reports in line with the Guidelines for the ASF while reports shall be furnished by the licensees for every account year beginning from the 2020 financial year end,” Danbatta said.

Also, as part of operators’ licensing conditions, the commission requires licensees to prepare, in respect of each complete financial year or of such lesser periods as may be specified, separated accounting statements for all their activities.

According to him, the commission would consider the Accounting Separation Framework “as an effective, least evasive and less costly solution to implement to meet its regulatory objectives”, adding that the implementation of the framework is also a key deliverable for the commission in the new National Broadband Plan (NBP), 2020-2025.”

He added that the commission took into consideration the inputs from industry stakeholders and has provided capacity-building for operators and for relevant staff of the commission to ensure seamless implementation of the framework.

Danbatta further reiterated the commitment of the commission to develop policies, initiatives and programmes aimed at boosting healthy competition among telecoms operators in the country to ensure that consumers continue to enjoy efficient and affordable telecom services.