Telecoms Operators Decry Hike in Charges

Telecoms operators have decried the recent hike in telecoms charges by federal and state government agencies.

Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, expressed the displeasure of telecoms operators over the new charges.

According to him, charges such as environmental impact assessment fee, licence permit fee, carbon emission fee, sanitation charges, company income tax, education tax, annual operating levy on net revenue and VAT on consumption of services, utility tax, among others, were increased.

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He added that land rent for telecoms sites, annual administrative renewal fee, among others that were not in existence before, were newly introduced.

His words: “Although a number of states agreed to reverse RoW charges in their states to the agreed N145 per linear metre, while they were reducing RoW charges, they were also introducing new charges and increasing some of the existing charges in the telecoms sector, which made a mess of their promise to reduce RoW charges.

“Quite a number of charges that were very low initially, were suddenly increased. So the issue of multiple taxes affected additional network rollout in 2020.”

Adebayo noted that existing charges were increased between 70 per cent and 100 per cent, depending on states, while new fees were also introduced. The licence permit and tenement fees, which initially vary between N20,000 and N35,000, were increased to between N100,000 and N150,000 in some states and operators were asked to pay annually, as against the initial one-off payment.

Base Transceiver Station (BTS) sites fee has also been introduced at the rate of N500,000. This is different from the usual business premises charge of N250,000.

Environmental impact report fee was also introduced at the rate of between N1.5 million and N2 million, different from the usual environmental impact assessment fee of N500,000 that telecoms operators used to pay, Adebayo said.

Adebayo urged governors and state agencies to rise above the gains of of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and begin to see the benefits of the ubiquitous presence of telecoms infrastructure in their states.

Nelson Okoh

Categories: Economy, Local, News

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