Telecoms companies have called for the scrapping of multiple taxes in the industry, saying this would reduce the pressure on their operations.
The companies, who spoke under the aegis of Association of Telecommunications, Information Technology, Cable Satellite Network Operators and Alleid Services Employers’ of Nigeria (ATICEN), said taxes on telecoms companies by federal, state and local governments, have been a major obstacle, which retards growth, limits profits, compromises quality of service and slows network expansion.
At the stakeholders’ meeting of the union, its President, Adede John Williams said operators were facing difficulties.
Williams, who convened the meeting, said: “Multiple taxes affect the operating environment and there are nuisance taxes, which are taxes that are not in the statute, and it is in an attempt to collect those taxes that public actors often disrupt telecom services.
“Those types of illegal taxes and levies should be eliminated. The cost and process of collecting them are offensive and very destructive and that should stop. These are the two things that we are saying.
“The taxes that are not supposed to be, they should be removed. Once they are removed, the actions of public actors when collecting the taxes will end.
“We did say the classification of telecoms as critical national economic infrastructure is very important.This issue of critical national infrastructure comes to bear again. We need this classification to minimise the destruction.”
According to Williams, there is a need to remove the barriers to smooth operations in the industry.
In addition, Williams urged the government to provide some intervention, adding that this would go a long way to address the challenges.
He said the union, which was registered last year, was set to protect the interest of its members, create employment and ensure development in the sector.
“The goal of this stakeholders’ meeting is to share vital industry information at all levels and to examine, discuss, brainstorm and proffer pragmatic ideas to the challenges facing the industry today and fears for tomorrow confronting employers.
“As the chief executive officers, we owe a duty to our employees to go beyond providing employment. This is why we are here to deliberate on the relevancy of our association in helping to identify the way forward in some of the challenges in the industry. I hereby use this medium to encourage all of us to make this opportunity count.
“I congratulate you on our diligence and persistence that led to the registration of this association with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
“I wish to inform you that the Trade Union Employers Association that represents the Telecommunications, Information Technology, Satellite Cable Operators and industry subsector Allied Services Employers in Nigeria, has been registered in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette Journal, under the Trade Unions Act, Cap T.14 of 2004 as amended by the Trade Unions Amendment Act of 2005.’’
Williams reiterated that the regulator should provide some intervention to members of the trade union.
The guest speaker, Mary Ekemezie, called on the union to protect the interest of its members. She said there was the need for the union to stand out.
“You are expected to, at any given time, represent your members on collective bargaining negotiations.You are also expected to represent and defend members on labour-related matters, as well as protect the interest of members, and to foster industrial relations between employers, employees and trade unions. This will make you more vibrant as a union,” Ekemezie said.