By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has directed licensed telecommunications service providers including MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, Globacom and three others to submit their financial statements as part of its ongoing Account Separation Framework (ASF).
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the NCC Public Affairs Director, Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, who explained that the request was to speed up the exercise which kicked off last week.
The six telcos that the directive cover include – Airtel Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, 9Mobile, Globacom Nigeria, Main One Cable Company Limited and IHS Nigeria.
According to the statement, the submission will help the commission to further ensure transparency and accountability as regards effective regulation and prevention of anti-competitive behaviour.
“With the commencement of the implementation of the framework, telecoms licensees are, henceforth, obligated to submit their regulatory financial statement (RFS) to the commission in line with the new ASF, within seven months after the end of the licensees’ financial year,” the statement read.
The new framework is being instituted by the industry regulator to champion and promote an environment that fosters open and transparent financial reporting while ensuring that charges for telecom services are cost-based and non-discriminatory.
The statement further disclosed that the submission of the financial statements by the six telecom licensees will subsist for an initial period of two years after which NCC may review the list to include other operators.
NCC noted that the reason for limiting the submission to only six telecom operators was to ensure that the necessary structure was put in place for reviewing and analysing the accounts before applying the new framework to all other licensees.
The regulator added that any other licensee willing to prepare its financial statements in line with the new framework is allowed to voluntarily do so, noting that the agency may exercise its discretion to demand that a licensee prepare and submit separated account where it is determined that the activities of such a service provider are deemed critical to the overall well-being of the Nigerian telecoms industry.
The commission noted that the ASF is an effective, least evasive and less costly solution to implement to meet its regulatory objectives, adding that the implementation of the framework is also a key deliverable for the commission in the 2020-2025 national broadband plan (NBP).
The policy document, Determination on the Implementation of an Accounting Separation Framework for the Nigerian Telecoms Industry, which was developed via a consultative process in 2015, has undergone a comprehensive review by the regulator in collaboration with telecoms licensees and other critical industry stakeholders.
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