The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) says multiple taxation stifle growth of Nigerian telecoms sector.
Mr. Olusola Teniola, President of ATCON who said this when the telecoms pressure group paid a courtesy visit to Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, a former ATCON President appointed Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government identified multiple regulations and taxation on telecoms as barriers to industry growth and ICT (information and communication technology) convergence in Nigeria.
Heavy taxes imposed on telecoms companies at the Federal, State and Local Government levels have placed major obstacles to network expansions thereby compromising quality of service in the Nigerian telecoms market, ATCON says.
According to the ATCON president, ”factors responsible for low broadband penetration in Nigeria include:multiple taxation which does not encourage further direct investment to the country, shutting down of base stations and destruction of masts and towers which accounts for poor quality of telecoms service in Nigeria. ”
“Today’s courtesy visit to you is exceptionally unique in that it is to one of us who have been part and parcel of supporting the creation of an enabling environment for the continuous and profitable existence of telecoms companies in Nigeria.
We can recall vividly some of the things you craved for and pursued with all your energy when you were the President of ATCON.: SIM card registration, Number portability and a call to redesign the curriculum being used in our tertiary institution for engineers.”
While describing Ekuwem as a thorough bred technocrat, professional and promoter of human relations with sterling leadership quality, the ATCON president says the new Secretary to Akwa Ibom government’s good performance while he was the ATCON President was responsible for his appointment as the SSG.
” We are of the opinion that your recent appointment as the Secretary to State Government is a pointer to the fact that while you were the President of ATCON you did performed very well and that was the singular reason that the Governor is surrounding himself with people who have track records of performance.
You left an indelible mark of achievement in ATCON which has been the reason why ATCON is seen as the most veritable platform to advocate for all that telecoms companies need to succeed in Nigeria.”
In his response , Dr.Ekuwem, said he was very pleased to receive the ATCON NEC led by Engr. Olusola Teniola to his office.
He explained that he was surprised the telecommunications companies he invited over immediately he was appointed informed him that there were no incidence of multiple taxation, no harassment from the state as the state has been cooperative.
He noted that the Government of Akwa Ibom is aware the importance of broadband as 10% broadband penetration is equivalent to 1.3 % increase in GDP, adding that it enhances productivity.
He urged telecoms companies operating in Akwa Ibom to maintain a higher level of maintenance culture so as to prevent the incidence of mast collapse and malfunctioning of base station in the state as they are being encouraged by the state.
To enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the state, Ekuwem says that Akwa Ibom plans to connect all the local governments in the state through broadband and IPTVs are being installed in all government offices.
“The focus of the government of Akwa Ibom is to have smart classrooms, smart city and smart cities and the state is currently working on electrification projects called Ibom Power and seven local government are expected to enjoy Portable Power Supply in no distant time”, he said.
“The government of the state is also working earnestly to lift boys and girls from the street by ensuring that they have jobs so that they can have a sense of accomplishment as well as contribute their quota to the development of the state”, the SSG added.
Also speaking, Professor Nse Udo Essien, Commissioner for Science and Technology stated that the state has an innovation hub which is fully funded by state and the hub is on two storey buildings and it has a total numbers of twenty six companies.
” The state has computer laboratories and another ten laboratories are under construction. The state has the biggest e- library and this e-library has over 4 million subscribers and the state is fast
migrating from resources based state to a knowledge economy through massive investment in infrastructural facilities that can leap frog the state to one of the leading state in Nigeria”, he noted.