There’s over taxation in telecoms sector —ATCON

From left, Senator Gilbert Nnaji; Dr Bukola Saraki, Senate president; Mr Olusola Teniola, President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Senator Adeola Olamilekan, during the courtesy visit of the executive of ATCON to the Senate President in Abuja, last week.

The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), has lamented that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector of the economy is already over taxed and that any additional taxation in the sector would further affect the industry negatively.

This was the fulcrum of the speech of the National President of ATCON, Mr Olusola Teniola, when the association paid a courtesy visit to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, in his office, last week.

According to Teniola, there is severe over taxation in the telecoms industry, saying though the association does not object to reforms in taxation neither do ATCON regard taxes as burden.

“Our mandate is to support the Federal Government to succeed in attracting and protecting investments in the telecommunications industry and to make meaningful input to all aspects of economic development including legislation and management of our industry so it continues to be the oil of growth and development.

“The ongoing work on the proposed nine per cent Communication Service Tax Bill (CST) is a trending subject. We would be happy to support government to make the best of our tax efforts, which certainly are key components of strengthening the economy and sustaining our industry. Contrary to uninformed opinions we do not object to reforms in taxation neither do we regard taxes as burden.

“No doubt, there is severe pressure at these times and government revenue cannot be different. We, however, pray that the template with which the telecoms industry is viewed and assessed be slightly modified. The truth is that there is severe over taxation in our industry. It explains the slow penetration of services into unsaved areas of the country. The truth again is that contrary to popular belief telecommunication operators and service providers are barely sustaining existence in these times,” he said.

The Senate President, in his response said the senate would only make laws that would get the economy going, adding that the telecoms sector was critical to Nigeria’s economy and as a result of that, the senate would never make laws that would push the sector to negative performance.

He said rather they would make laws that would increase the performance of the sector so that the sector generates more revenue and employment for the country and that therefore, the Senate would continue to make laws that would accelerate its growth.