Don’t Kill Telecoms Industry, ATCON Tells FG
By Josh Babatunde
Umbrella body of telecoms companies in Nigeria, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON has tasked the government to review policies that could kill the telecoms industry.
Rising from a briefing recently, Atcon said the collection of 0.005 per cent levy on all electronic transactions into a National Cyber Security Fund account within the Central Bank of Nigeria ,CBN would negatively impact some businesses.
Atcon, which is not happy with the CBN directive, harped that any premeditated actions that are capable of killing the telecoms industry must be eschewed by all tiers of governments in Nigeria as the perceived benefits of imposing this levy on aforementioned businesses have the direct capability to erase if not destroy the achievements that have been made since the telecoms sector was liberated.
Speaking, Atcon’s National President, Mr Olusola Teniola said, “We therefore advise government to review this directive as it would affect some macro-economic elements such as loss of employment and we as Industry will have to increase prices to cover the collection, processing and pass on these costs to the 150 million subscribers.
“Our Association is of the opinion that formulation and implementation of policies are not properly coordinated in the sense that while some government agencies are working towards migrating all government services online some other government agencies are working towards discouraging people from making use of electronic channels via this obnoxious levy. It should be stated for the purpose of records that government should not think that the elasticity of demand for the use of electronic channels is inelastic as this move can stop people from transacting their businesses via available electronic channels”.
Teniola further stated that the accruable benefits of imposing this levy on his members are far lower than the revenue that it is going to create for the government.
“In view of this and other reasons enumerated above, the Association’s position is that the proposed levy of 0.005 per cent tax bill should be withdrawn and its implementation seriously reviewed”.
Meanwhile, Atcon revealed that all efforts to meet with the CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to discuss the issues that affect his members with respect to sourcing for foreign exchange to purchase the needed equipment were not honoured the invitation.
The Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act 2015, Section 44 that the CBN seeks to implement, states in Section 44 an establishment of a National Cyber Security Fund. In Section 44.2 (a) a Levy of 0.005 of all electronic transactions by the businesses specified in the second schedule to this Act. Where in the Schedule five categories including GSM Service providers and all telecommunication companies and Internet Service Providers are to apply this charge.