Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state has reportedly ordered the shutting down of Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) operations in the state which will take effect any time from Monday, September 1, 2014 if the telecoms operators refuse to pay a new levy.
The fee, put at N750,000 per base station is intended to raise internally generated revenue for the south eastern commercial hub.
In addition, new base stations are expected to pay N700,000 for new base stations where a fine of N1,000,000 is to be paid by erring base stations.
The Cable NG reports:
The combined revenue from the levy on the four major service providers is estimated at N1.5billion.
The levy is called “Telecommunications Mast Installation/Approval Permit” and is to be applied retroactively to existing base stations.
The operators, who have not complied with the new directive, currently pay other levies, including planning permit fees, tenement rate and advertisement signage fees to the Anambra government.
Telecoms companies have been complaining about multiple taxes and excessive levies across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
If Anambra shuts down the stations, there are gross economic and commercial implications for a state where Nnewi and Onitsha ─ two of Nigeria’s biggest commercial centres ─ are located.
A demand notice was issued to the telcos last month by GeoSonic Nigeria Limited, revenue consultants to the state government. TheCable was informed by industry sources that the telcos have made efforts to meet with Obiano over the impending closures without success.
Minister of Communications and Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has also been making frantic efforts to reach the state government without success, TheCable learnt.
She recently announced plans by her ministry to work with regulatory agencies to help tackle the challenge of multiple taxation across the country. The operators claim they are compelled by the three tiers of government to pay various levies.
This, they argue, compounds the other challenges of multiple regulations in Nigeria where the cost of doing business is regarded as one of the highest in the world.