The Senate has been tasked on the enactment of a strategic national telecommunications infrastructure Act that would criminalise the vandalisation of telecom infrastructure nationwide.
The ICT Publishers, Alliance, a leading technology media made the call in a 24-page paper it presented to the Senate Committee on Communications hearing held last week in Abuja, on problems associated with quality of service in mobile phone operations in Nigeria and co-location.
The Committee chaired by Gilbert Nnaji, held for two days and took both oral and paper presentations from stakeholders in the telecom industry.
In a paper presented by its Chairman, Aaron Ukodie, to the Senate hearing, the Alliance said telecom services should be considered as Strategic National Services so as to free it from the debilitating effect of multiple taxation and regulation from various government agencies at the three tiers of government.
According to the Alliance, the perception today among different strata of government was that telecom operators were cash-cows and therefore should be milked to no end such that taxations at even council levelswere notoriously and arbitrarily imposed in such a way as to make continuous or seamless service delivery impossible.
This year alone, the NCC has had to intervene in several locations where telecom infrastructures (base stations) have been shutdown by council officials enforcing compliance with imposed taxes by local councils, the Alliance said. “Although cases of multiple regulation and taxation may not be limited to Nigeria alone, our position is that Nigeria can eliminate such cases and become an example to other countries and regions.”
The Alliance said further that a situation where every agency of government taxes telecom just because they saw the industry as the cash-cow, did not and would not augur well for our fledgling telecom industry.