Nigeria’s Telecom Regulatory Body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to ensure the tax agency ascertain accuracy and completeness of value added tax (VAT) elements and other taxes payable in the transactions of telecoms operators.
Speaking during the MoU signing ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said that diligence and appropriate due processes were undertaken to conclude the MoU, as the Commission took its time to understand the import of the MoU.
With the MoU, the FIRS will be able to integrate an application programming interface (API) technology solution with the systems of telecom Operators for independent verification of the amount of VAT that should be paid by mobile network operators (MNO) rather than relying entirely on the Operators’ books of accounts.
According to the EVC, “Our concern, as Regulator of the telecoms industry, is that we needed to be sure that it is not another way to tax telecoms Operators, who are already dealing with multiple taxation issues. We have also ensured that the integration of the solutions with telcos’ transactions systems will not, in any way, impact the cost and quality of service delivery by the Operators to telecoms consumers.”
Danbatta, therefore, assured telecoms consumers and stakeholders that the integration of FIRS solution with the Operators’ systems is entirely to ascertain the accuracy of the VAT elements being paid by the Operators on their transactions and will not, in any way, degrade the quality of service delivery or lead to high cost of service to the consumers.
The Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, FIRS, Muhammad Nami, who expressed gratitude to the NCC for accepting to collaborate with the tax agency, said the MoU is mainly to ascertain completeness of tax transactions of mobile service providers to the Federal Government due to the shift of physical businesses to electronic-based business activities.
He said: “The API, which was developed in-house, is transaction-based and all we are trying to do is to ensure we have the basis for determining the completeness and accuracy of VAT elements in telecoms transactions.”