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ICT Minister decries deterrent taxes, levies

08 May 2014, 20:16

Abuja - Information and Communication Technology Minister, Omobola Johnson, has decried the prohibitive multiple taxes and levies different tiers of government placed on telecommunications operators.

Speaking at a conference in Abuja, Johnson said taxes and levies were having a negative impact on the performance of telecoms operators.

The minister noted that almost 70 percent of the investment by the telecoms operators goes to various tiers of government in the form of taxes and levies, which she said was discouraging.

She said that no business would survive in the long run with such heavy tax burden.

“Out of every Naira investment in the sector, 70 kobo goes into different shades of taxes. No investment can survive under such huge burden,” she said.

She however said her ministry has initiated a Smart State Project programme that would reduce the tax burden on operators and increase investment in telecoms infrastructure.

The project has commenced in four states- Lagos, Anambra, Ondo and Gombe.

“We have four states that have signed up for the Smart State Project.

These are Lagos, Anambra, Ondo and Gombe states. What they are doing is to work with us to remove all the bottlenecks to rolling out ICT infrastructure so that we can have better broadband and better voice services in their states,” she said.

Johnson said the initiative would eventually be introduced in all the states.

“We are hoping to enroll all the 36 states but we want to start with the few states. All the telecoms companies have signed up to this. The states have said that they would reduce the taxes on ICT infrastructure; ensure that the base stations are protected, reduce the cost of right of way to lay fibre and ensure that the fibres are also protected.”

– CAJ News

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