House of Representatives resumes telecoms firms’ probe

Telecommunication mast


Investigates five per cent VAT on recharge cards 

House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating operational activities of telecommunications equipment and service companies and vendors in Nigeria is today resuming investigations into activities of telecommunications companies in the country.

Part of these investigations, the chairman of the committee, Ahmed Abu said, is the scrutinization of service providers over allegation of non-remittances of five per cent Valued Added Tax (VAT) on every recharge card sold to consumers.

In a media chat yesterday, the committee chairman informed that the providers ought to be remitting the taxes to the Federal Government, but regrettably, he said the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) appear not to possess the facility for verifying the accurate VAT required from the telecoms firms. 

Following this, the committee has invited managements of FIRS, NCC and telecommunications companies to appear before it at the resumed sitting of the committee today to clarify the issues. 

To also appear alongside with them, he said, are managements of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), National Office for Technology Acquisition Programme (NOTAP) and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). 

“We are concerned with the investigation of five per cent VAT that telecoms firms ought to be paying to the Federal Government. “Is it being paid? To what extent? Who’s auditing their accounts? How many calls are being made? How much data are Nigerians using? How much data have bloggers been using and how much VAT have they been paying out of the data they are using?” Abu queried. 

He regretted though that despite repeated invitations to the helmsmen of the firms, to enable the committee conclude its assignment this week, some of them have rather chose to send in representatives. 

At the last sitting, the committee said a number of the representatives, who turned up for their heads, lacked requisites to comment satisfactorily on the matter, hence were turned back by the committee. 

“This is unacceptable to us. It amounts to undermining the powers of the parliament for chief executives to personally fail to honour our invitations.

“We are not out to witch-hunt any of them, but to hear from them and see how their inputs can help us strengthen existing laws,” he said. He warned that a repeat of their action at the resumed sitting of the committee might compel the committee to issue warrants of arrest on them. 



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