ATCON Canvases Incentives to Attract More Investments in ICT Sector 

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(Last Updated On: 2016-11-26)

Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen

 

The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, (ATCON) has called on the Federal Government to create incentives such as waivers and tax holidays for its members as a way of encouraging further investments into the nation’s Information and Communications Technology, (ICT) sector.

The President of the association, Olusola Teniola who addressed ICT journalists on the state of the industry at the weekend warned against introduction of any form of tax in the sector.

Teniola who faulted the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele’s call for surcharge on any call that lasted more than three-minutes, said government must provide enabling environment to sustain businesses and not to further discourage investment through multiple taxes.

He described Emifiele’s proposal as technically and economically wrong which cannot be substantiated with any theory.

Teniola noted that while the association is ready to work with government on getting out of recession quick, ATCON stands on it suggestions of one per cent increase in Value Added Tax across all sectors or the Communication Service Tax of not more than 0.2per cent as against nine per cent being proposed.

He said, “At a time like this when the government is looking at diversifying the economy through ICT, it is imperative that the sector is allowed to grow by way of incentives such tax rebate, tax holiday and waivers to drive foreign investment into the country and deepen broadband penetration as data is gaining more popularity than voice service.”

ATCON President also frowned at low level of engagements by CBN with ICT industry players.

This he said is wrong because it not done anywhere that a regulator fails to engage stakeholders in the sector it intends to make money from.

He said, “The truth is that there is severe over-taxation in our industry. It explains the slow penetration of services into areas yet to be covered by our services across the country. Contrary to popular belief, telecommunication operators and service providers are barely sustaining their existence in these hard times.

“There are reasons to suggest that the desire to widen the tax net is laudable and that as things stand telecommunication is about one of the few areas where the net-capture may be widened.”

Teniola said ATCON demands replication of local content policy in the Oil & Gas  in ICT industry.

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He said, “It is necessary at this stage that the local content bill be adopted and also implement in Oil &Gas to is adapted to ICT through the Office of Nigerian Content Development in ICT (ONC) to cut down capital flight.”

He lamented the difficulties in accessing foreign exchange by telecom operators, urging government to look into it without any delay.

 

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