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Sunday, September 12, 2021

NCC begins implementation of ASF in telecoms industry

The Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC), has started its Accounting Separation Framework (ASF), in Nigerian Telecoms Industry.

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said this in a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.

Danbatta said that the ASF, which took effect from July 15,  was in order to further ensure transparency and accountability in regard to effective regulation and prevention of anti-competitive behaviour.

He explained that NCC was committed to create an enabling environment for competition among operators to ensure the provision of qualitative and efficient telecoms services as stipulated in Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003.

According to him, determination on the Implementation of an ASF for the Nigerian Telecoms Industry, was developed via a consultative process in 2015.

It has undergone a comprehensive review by the regulator in collaboration with telecoms licencees and other critical industry stakeholders,” he said.

He called on telecoms licencees to henceforth submit their Regulatory Financial Statement (RFS) to the commission in line with the new ASF, within seven months after the end of the lincencees’ financial year.

The six licencees include Airtel Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited (9Mobile), Globacom Nigeria, Main One Cable Company Limited and IHS Nigeria.

Danbatta expressed optimism about the framework noting that the new ASF would promote an industry environment that fosters open and transparent financial reporting, while ensuring that charges for telecom services were cost-based and non-discriminatory.

“With the commencement of the implementation telecoms licencees 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 licencees’ financial year.

“The submission of RFS, in line with the new framework, is currently limited to and mandatory for only six telecom licencees.

“This will subsist for an initial period of two years after which the regulator may review the list to include other operators,” he said.

Stating reasons for limiting compliance to six operators for now, the EVC said the decision was taken to ensure necessary structure was in place to review and analyse the accounts before applying the new framework to all licencees in the industry.

He also stated that any other licencee willing to prepare its financial statements in line with the new framework was allowed to voluntarily do so.

He noted that the Commission might exercise its discretion to demand that a licencee should prepare and submit separated account where it was determined that the activities of such a service provider were deemed critical to the overall well-being of the Nigerian telecoms industry.

He advised that for full and effective implementation of the Framework, every operator under the ambit of accounting separation is required to prepare an Operator-specific Accounting Separation Manual (OASM).

He, however said that the OASM contained policies, principles, methodologies and procedures for accounting and cost allocation, which must be submitted to the Commission on or before October 30, for regulatory approval.

He said that licencees would also be required to prepare their financial and non-financial reports in line with the guidelines for the ASF while reports shall be furnished by the licencees for every account year beginning from the 2020 financial year end.

Danbatta said that as part of operators’ licencing conditions, the Commission required licencees to prepare, in respect of each complete financial year or of such less periods as might be specified, separate accounting statements for all their activities.

“The commission considers the ASF as an effective, least evasive and less costly solution to implement and meet its regulatory objectives.

“The implementation of the Framework is also a key deliverable for the Commission in the new National Broadband Plan (NBP), 2020-2025,” he said.

The EVC informed that the commission took into consideration the inputs from industry stakeholders and had provided capacity-building for operators and for relevant staff of the commission to ensure seamless implementation of the Framework.

He reiterated the commitment of the commission towards continually developing policies, initiatives and programmes aimed at boosting healthy competition among telecoms operators in the country.

He said that the commission was also to ensure that consumers continued to enjoy efficient and affordable telecom services. (NAN)

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