From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
While Nigerians are still grappling with the 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) and the recently proposed 5% excise duty on telecommunications services, the federal government has again introduced a service charge. registration on licensed telecommunications devices and short code sharing.
The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta revealed this during a three-day back-to-back public inquiry into some draft telecommunications regulations and guidelines, where the review has become necessary due to the current realities of the industry.
“It is important at this point to state that the five (5) regulatory instruments are existing instruments that are being modified to reflect current realities.”
While the introduction of charges on qualified devices and short codes was announced in a presentation by the Senior Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Department, Nwanze Onyeye said during his presentation:
“What the commission is introducing that didn’t exist before is payment for licensed telecom devices and short codes that were previously free.”
Speaking further, Danbatta said, “The regulatory instruments under review affect all sectors/segments of the telecommunications industry.
“The first instrument, the Type Approval Regulations, provides a framework for the approval of communications equipment for connection to communications networks in Nigeria under Sections 130 to 134 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003. “
“The second instrument, the Guidelines on the Operation of Shortcodes in Nigeria, aims to prescribe a standard of practice for providers of shortcode services and to provide a revised framework for the provision of such services and for protection against misuse. .
“The third instrument, namely the Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Communication Infrastructure, provides standards to be met by communication service providers/operators, designers, manufacturers and installers of communication towers and the laying of fiber optic cables to ensure environmental safety and good engineering practices.
“The fourth instrument is the Advertisements and Promotions Guidelines, which set out the minimum requirements and standards for promotional advertisements by licensed telecommunications operators in Nigeria. Finally, the fifth instrument, which is the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations, establishes inter alia consumer protection rules and prescribes the procedures to be followed by a licensee in the preparation of approved consumer codes of practice, in accordance in section 106 of the Act. .
“It is relevant to add that the Commission has also introduced business rules for type approval to address issues that cannot be addressed in the regulation and to ensure that the type approval process is transparent.
“We hope that this review will improve the standards and procedures for type approvals, the operation of short codes and advertising and promotions, provide a more robust framework for the deployment of the communications infrastructure and ensure that the procedures to be followed by a licensee in the preparation of approved codes of practice for consumers are in tune with current realities. He added
Ms. Helen Obi, Head of the Department of Telecommunications Laws and Regulations, Department of Legal and Regulatory Services of the NCC, said that the public inquiry is a way for the Commission to incorporate comments and suggestions from industry stakeholders in the development of its regulatory instruments.
She said that the Commission had conducted public inquiries into the Telephone Subscriber Registration Regulation, the SIM Card Replacement Guidelines, the Frequency Spectrum Regulation (Fees and Pricing, etc.), Annual Operating Charge Regulations, National Roaming Guidelines, Colocation and Infrastructure Sharing Guidelines. and spectrum trading guidelines.
“This process ensures that regulatory instruments issued by the Commission are consistent with current industry realities.”
The event should be held from Tuesday August 9, 2022 to Friday August 12, 2022 with the main reason to reposition the sector.