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Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Dambatta
Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, has said that experience of early depletion or rise in data consumption by telecoms consumers are not necessarily as a result of illegal deductions or sharp practices by mobile network operators.
Rather, he said, “The reasons include the advancement in technology, which has led to the rise in applications, updates and services that leverage on this technology and advancement of supportive data infrastructure.”
Others, according to him, are increase in video-based advertising content by social media companies which in some cases are layered on free services offered by the companies; auto updates of apps on the phone over mobile data network without any sort of prompting or intervention by the user of the mobile phone.
Danbatta spoke during a presentation at the monthly briefing on Short-Term Key Performance Indicators by agencies under the Federal Ministry of Communications.
The Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, and other officials of the ministry, attended the meeting.
In his presentation, Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Bako Wakil, stressed that while regulatory efforts are ongoing towards a downward review of cost of data and improved quality of data services for telecom subscribers, the drivers of the cost of data provision and quality of service in Nigeria are, however, not entirely within the control of the Commission.
“These data provision drivers and factors include Right of Way issues, fibre cuts, vandalism, multiple taxations, insecurity and power outages as well as site access denial that tend to temper seamless service provision.
Speaking on measures being taken by the Commission towards curbing proliferation of pre-registered SIM cards in the country, Danbatta elaborated on a broad-based identity management database solution being worked on to permanently curb the menace.
“In view of the grave impact of pre-registered SIM cards and other SIM-related crimes on national security of the country arising from this challenge, the Commission is considering implementing a robust identity management solutions to curb the menace once and for all as the telecom sector transit into a new SIM Card Registration Regime based on the Mandatory Use of National Identity Number Regulations issued by the National Identity Management Commission.”
On Call Drop Rate, Danbatta said, based on its monthly monitoring of operators’ level of quality of service delivery, “the call drop rate across all mobile networks this year has been below one per cent threshold, a situation that has steadily and relatively improved quality of service of telecoms consumers.
Meanwhile, Pantami has commended the NCC for doing well in enlightenment on consumer issues and other ongoing initiatives, adding that “we can re-strategise and heighten campaigns in all media, especially in local languages.”
The 2017 audit report of the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF) has revealed that the there was an unusual delay in payment of N23,096,824,505 by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). According to the report, the audit reviewed records of outstanding tax refunds for the level of compliance with the law on tax refunds. “In the course of ascertaining the appropriateness and accuracy of outflows from tax refund account maintained by both FIRS and OAGF for the year under audit, we observed that FIRS internal processes were not compliant with Section 23(3) of FIRS ACT 2007, “Any tax refund shall be made within 90 days of the decision of the service made to subsection (2) of this section, with the option of setting off against future tax by the tax payer. “The following specific observations were made; applications for tax refund as at 31st December, 2017 stood at N47,436,473,379.94 while amount due for payments on that date stood at N23,096,824,505; the budgetary provision for tax refund in year 2017 was N25,000,000,000; there were delays in approval from management after tax audit. “There were also delays in refund to taxpayer after tax audit and approval stages had been carried out. “This is inconveniencing to tax-payers and impacts on the finances of households and businesses.” As a recommendation, the AuGF, Mr Anthony Ayine, said the Chairman of FIRS was required to ensure that the yearly budgetary provision for tax refund is adequate and that the 90-day time frame for tax refund is met. In another development, out of the revenue of ₦2,407,699,164,056.12 payable to the federation account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Corporation deducted the sum of ₦1,332,077,481,384.22 for Joint Venture Cash Call (JVC) before paying the resulting net figure of ₦1,075,621,682,671.90 into the Federation Account. Again, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) collected the sum of ₦733,054,301,173.04 but paid a net figure of ₦706,283,397,141.80 to the Federation Account after deducting excess proceeds on royalty of ₦26,770,904,031.24.