The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it is going to deploy Revenue Assurance Solution (RAS) to monitor revenue generated by its licensees in a bid to block leakages in their Annual Operating Levy (AOL).
The Executive Vice-Chairman, (EVC) of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this on Friday in Abuja, during an interactive session with stakeholders on the deployment of RAS in the Nigerian telecommunication industry.
Speaking on the importance of RAS to the nation’s economy, Danbatta said it would enable the commission determine how much their licensees generate annually.
He explained that the technology solution would not wait for licensees to submit information to the commission before determining what they should pay as AOL.
“The financial burden of deployment will be on the operators. This project relieves the commission of the initial financial burden that will be required for the deployment of the RAS project.
“It will also ensure that accurate revenues generated by the licensed network operators are tracked, analysed and utilised for the benefit of the industry. Beyond revenue assurance, when deployed, the NCC RAS will bring a lot of solutions to the industry,” he said.
He added that the solution would include a more effective and enhanced monitoring and regulation of the licensed telecommunications operators by the commission.
The EVC said, the commission believed that the deployment of appropriate revenue assurance solution would confer higher levels of integrity and fidelity on the AOL figures obtainable in the industry.
He said the RAS would enable NCC to validate the information, records and data supplied to it by the licensees from time to time, amongst others.
“This is in addition to plugging possible loopholes and leakages in the revenue computation and collection processes. The AOL, is a very important tool in the regulation of the telecommunications industry. In Nigeria, the importance of AOL is well expressed in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.
“AOL can be described as the tap root of an efficient and effective telecommunications regulatory environment. The mechanisms for collection and computation of AOL, are of interest and important to both the regulator, and the operating networks,” he said.
He explained that various efforts had been made towards achieving a very effective AOL administration, pursuant to the powers of the commission under Section 72 of the NCA Act 2003.
He informed that one of these key efforts include the making of the Regulations 2014, which was also currently undergoing review.
According to him, some of the major objectives of the AOL Regulations, as provided in Part 1 (2) of the AOL Regulations 2014, are to: “Create and provide a regulatory framework for the effective and efficient administration by the Commission of the Annual Operating Levy regime and all matters related thereto;
“Stipulate the mode and methods of assessment of Annual Operating Levy and the payment modes thereof; specify guiding standards and principles for the administration by the Commission of the Annual Operating Levy regime.”
He also said that, the size of the Nigerian telecommunications industry and revenue events engaged by the network operators, demands effective, accurate and technology-driven revenue assurance solution which NCC-RAS represents.
He said appropriate revenue assurance systems have resulted in higher revenues and plugging of leakage and that modern revenue assurance systems had shown to be equipped with additional capacities to generate and analyse information beyond those required for revenue computation.
“The system is designed to be connected to the licensed telecommunications operators’ systems. It will have the capability of capturing and reporting in near real-time billing activities by the operators for the purposes, amongst others.
“Computing and assuring with minimal, if any, error margin, the accrued AOL payable to the NCC by the licensees,” he said.
He advised Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) who might need data not to duplicate efforts but come to the NCC for it.
“This effort maybe relevant to the FIRS for payment of taxes by our licensees and so there is no need for a duplication of this effort by another agency of government.
”So the whole essence is to ensure a seamless cooperation of all MDAs that require the kind of data we will be getting from this effort. Which is for the purpose of computation of other levies, operating tax levies that are supposed to be paid to government.
“The benefits of this exercise is a very long one and that is why the Federal Government attaches great Importance to this effort,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently gave approval for the RAS project through the Design, Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer (DFBOT) Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
The transaction received the Certificate of Compliance from the ICRC in line with the Provisions of the ICRC Act 2005 on December 17, 2021. (NAN)