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Don’t panic, MoU with FIRS won’t jerk cost of telecom services, says NCC

By Juliet Umeh

There’s palpable fear in the air that the telecom transactions Memorandum of Understanding the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC signed with the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS recently, could jerk up cost of telecom services.

Many subscribers have also expressed worry that the MoU at the long run, may affect quality of service, QoS which has remained a sore finger in the whole gamut of telecom service provision in the country.

But, the regulator has come out to dismiss such

Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, FIRS, Muhammad Nami

fears, stoutly claiming that it considered all those impediments and plugged the holes they could spring from, before signing the MoU.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta says the Commission went into agreement with FIRS after it became convinced that it was not another way to tax telecoms Operators, who are already dealing with multiple taxation issues.

He said that the Commission also ensured that the integration of the solutions with telcos’ transactions systems will not, in any way, impact the cost and quality of service delivery by the Operators to telecoms consumers.

NCC recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to ensure the tax agency ascertain accuracy and completeness of value added tax (VAT) elements and other taxes payable in the transactions of telecoms operators.

With the MoU, the FIRS will be able to integrate an application programming interface (API) technology solution with the systems of telecom Operators for independent verification of the amount of VAT that should be paid by mobile network operators (MNO) rather than relying entirely on the Operators’ books of accounts.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta

Speaking during the MoU signing ceremony in Abuja Danbatta, said that diligence and appropriate due processes were taken to conclude the MoU, as the Commission took its time to understand the import of the MoU.

He assured telecoms consumers and stakeholders that the integration of FIRS solution with the Operators’ systems is entirely to ascertain the accuracy of the VAT elements being paid by the Operators on their transactions and will not, in any way, degrade the quality of service delivery or lead to high cost of service to the consumers.

Also, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, commended the NCC for accepting to collaborate with the tax agency, adding that “the MoU was mainly to ascertain completeness of tax transactions of mobile service providers to the Federal Government due to the shift of physical businesses to electronic-based business activities.

“The API, which was developed in-house, is transaction-based and all we are trying to do is to ensure we have the basis for determining the completeness and accuracy of VAT elements in telecoms transactions,” he added.

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