Reps summon telecom firms over alleged defaults in taxes, others

The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the operations of telecommunications service providers and vendors yesterday summoned some heads of telecoms companies in the country over alleged non-payment of taxes and the required percentages of their profits to the Federal Government.

According to the chairman of the committee, Ahmed Abu, those invited are managing directors of 9mobile, Etisalat Nigeria and Globacom Nigeria.

He said the summon became necessary following the failure of the companies to turn up for the various hearings of the companies, despite repeated letters of invitation sent to them. He warned that further disregard for the invitation might compel the committee to issue bench warrants against the companies.

“This is not about me. It is about the House of Representatives, and we are representing Nigerians. A situation where invitations would be issued to telecommunications companies over issues that affect Nigerians and they fail to appear before us is unfortunate.

“What we are saying is that if things are done right, the creative industry, for instance, can generate so much revenues for the players in it and the government,” he said.

The lawmaker wondered why the National Lottery Trust Fund has, as required by law, been unable to rake in appreciable revenues for the government based on existing legislations regulating the operations of the firms and lottery activities in the country.

But in his submission, the Executive Secretary of the fund, Habu Gumel, said the government had made N530m in the last nine years from the companies doing business in the country.

He blamed the poor remittances on “under-declaration of remittances by operators and lack of credible database to ascertain the actual and precise amount due to government as returns for good causes. “

Gumel’s position was supported by the representative of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Okechukwu Odunna, who decried the mechanisms for tracking businesses of the telecommunications firms from where parts of the proceeds are to be measured by the government.

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