Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged stakeholders to harness the potentials and protect telecoms infrastructure across the country.
The Executive Commissioner stakeholder management of the NCC,Mr Sunday Dare stated this at the North-Central Stakeholders Parliament with relevant Agencies in Charge of Telecommunications Matters in Lokoja, Kogi state.
Represented by the Deputy Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, Mr. Giwa Mohammed, Dare said that NCC continuous engagement with telecom stakeholders is key to the deployment of telecom infrastructure and protection.
Mr Dare however expressed concern over the activities of some States Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which refused to grant required approvals timely leading to the hampering of the progress made so far in the telecoms sector.
Some state MDAs impose inordinate charges for building approvals and right of way and frequently interfere with the operations of such infrastructure by shutting them down at will.
When the industry faces challenges of this nature, it is ultimately the citizens that suffer.
If we were to quantify the monetary impact of the disruptions to communications, security, health and other platforms which rely on these infrastructure, i am sure the national economy would have lost billions of naira.
Events such as this underscores the need for closer cooperation and consultations between stakeholders in public and private sectors of our economy, Mr Dare said .
Dare noted that the common objective was service to the citizens and not to allow short term revenue goal to hamper the nation's ability to leverage technology for growth and development.
In a paper presentation titled Legal Framework for Telecom Infrastructure Roll-out, the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA),Mr. Paul Osoro said infrastructure was the platform on which Information Communication Technology (ICT) network thrive.
Mr. Osoro, who was represented by Mr. Sixtus Onwuka, explained that the Nigerian laws grants the Federal Government powers to collect National Information Technology Development Levy.
The state governments also have the power to collect infrastructure maintenance charge, these two are similar types of charges for one person to pay and these are being demanded by two levels of government which amounts to multiple taxation and duplicate levies, he noted.
He added that these as some of the challenges facing operation saying that that included multiple taxation which hindered telecom development, lands tenure system, the lack of adequate security and vandalism.
Disruption of infrastructure and poor engineering personnel, the charge of ecological and environmental levy, payment of value added tax and sales tax over the transaction could be streamlined even if it was increased.
That way, the operator who paid would know that he or she had paid once and for all.
He commended the NCC for setting up an industry working group over multiple taxation.
Osoro tasked stakeholders to work collective towards the review and harmonisation of technology, information and telecommunication laws in Nigeria.
This meeting is the 3rd in the series of NCC sessions with senior officials of Telecoms Agencies in Charge of Telecommunications Matters.
Source: Voice of Nigeria