Nigerian cellcos lament multiple taxation

17 Dec 2014

MTN Nigeria, Africa’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, and Etisalat Nigeria, the local unit of UAE telecoms group Etisalat, have told Reuters that the country’s telecoms companies face multiple taxes and fees at local, state and federal level, with service disruptions related to tax claims costing the industry millions of dollars annually. ‘Operators have been seeking a one-stop shop to ease administration of taxes,’ MTN said, adding that telecoms firms suffer arbitrary enforcement actions and service disruptions by parties working on behalf of tax-raising bodies. Etisalat Nigeria, meanwhile, is cited by Reuters as saying that it wants the federal government, through telecoms watchdog the National Communications Commission (NCC), to be the sole sector regulator. ‘It is common to have government agencies trying to impose duties and enforce regulatory functions similar to that of the NCC,’ Etisalat Nigeria said. ‘There are levies and other charges that are demanded by government institutions which have all the characteristics of a tax.’

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that on top of multiple regulation and taxation, Nigerian mobile operators have in the past complained that inadequate power supply, vandalism of facilities, and heightened insecurity in several parts of the country have impacted on their ability to meet service quality measures.