The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has emphasized the urgent need for continuous engagement among telecom stakeholders to address the adverse impacts of multiple taxation on economic development. The call to action was made by Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, NCC Executive Commissioner for Stakeholders Management, during the NCC South West Regional Telecoms Stakeholders’ Workshop on Multiple Taxations and Regulations, held in Ibadan on Wednesday.
Multiple taxation has long been a persistent challenge within the Nigerian telecoms industry and has been identified as a significant obstacle to the country’s economic growth. Mr. Adewolu stressed that taxation, when appropriately designed and applied, can serve as a vital instrument for economic development. He also expressed the importance of supporting the various tiers of government in their efforts to use taxation as a means of promoting socio-economic development.
However, Mr. Adewolu cautioned against the detrimental effects of excessive taxation, particularly in the form of multiple taxes. He highlighted that such taxes can hinder economic growth, stifle innovation, and deter investment. He also referred to the 2017 Tax Policy, which specifically prohibits the introduction of taxes similar to those collected by one level of government by another level of government.
In response to these challenges, Mr. Adewolu mentioned President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to addressing multiple taxation by signing several Executive Orders aimed at curbing arbitrary tax practices in the country. This action is expected to create a conducive environment for both local and foreign investment in Nigeria.
Mr. Efosa Idehen, Director of Monitoring and Enforcement at NCC, echoed the workshop’s theme, “Navigating the Landscape of Multiple Taxation and Regulations: Fostering Sustainable Growth Through Collaboration.” He emphasized that this theme aligns with NCC’s core value of strategic partnership and underscores the imperative need for concerted efforts to enable the telecoms sector to reach its full potential. Mr. Idehen clarified that the campaign seeks to address issues related to fair and legitimate tax payments, rather than challenge the legitimate tax authorities as prescribed by law.
Contributing to the discussion, Mr. Gbolahan Awonuga, Executive Secretary of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), raised concerns about the burdensome nature of taxation on Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). He revealed that MNOs currently contend with up to 49 different taxes imposed by various government agencies in Nigeria. Additionally, Mr. Awonuga highlighted that multiple taxation, along with challenges such as power, vandalism, and host community issues, continues to impede infrastructure development and network penetration in the Nigerian telecoms sector.
The workshop brought together key figures from government agencies, MNOs, subscribers, and other stakeholders in the telecommunications industry. The NCC’s call for collaborative efforts among stakeholders signifies a step toward addressing the issue of multiple taxation and fostering sustainable growth in Nigeria’s telecoms sector.