Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has issued a two-week ultimatum to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to release the contract award letter to facilitate the collection of NCC's 2.5 per cent annual operating levy and other government taxes from the Nigerian telecommunication industry.
He gave the ultimatum in a letter addressed to Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, dated December 18, 2018.
Falana accused NCC of "deliberately refusing to issue the contract award letter to enable the successful consultant to deploy the software and save Nigeria from further loss of huge revenue".
According to the lawyer, the refusal of NCC to issue the contract award letter is causing the nation to lose revenue of over N600billion per annum.
The letter read: "We have confirmed that the Nigerian Communication Commission under your management has since concluded the procurement process for the deployment of the revenue assurance solution that will aid the government to block the leakages associated with the revenue collection and ensure that the revenue of over N600 billion that ought to accrue to the government from the Nigerian Telecommunication Industry is monitored, analyzed and collected automatically and deposited in the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
"We are however surprised to note that several months after the issuance of the Concurrence/Guidance on the award of the contract to the successful consultant by the Federal Ministry of Finance, your Commission has deliberately refused to issue the contract award letter to enable the successful consultant to deploy the software and save Nigeria from further loss of huge revenue.
"As you are no doubt aware, the Federal Government has announced its plan to diversify the economy by generating revenue from the non-oil sector. It is our belief that the speedy deployment of the revenue assurance solution will greatly increase the country’s non-oil revenue and reduce her dependence on loans from China, Western Countries and International Financial Institutions to fund the annual budget and the infrastructural development of the country.
"In the circumstance, we are compelled to request you to use your good offices to ensure the immediate release of the contract award letter to the successful consultant for the deployment of revenue assurance solution to facilitate the collection of the Nigerian Communication Commission’s 2.5 % annual operating levy and other government taxes from the Nigerian telecommunication industry.
"Take notice that if you fail or refuse to accede to our request within two weeks of the receipt of this letter we shall be left with no other alternative than to apply to the Federal High Court for an order of mandamus to compel the Nigerian Communications Communication to issue the contract award letter to the successful bidder in line with the provisions of the Procurement Act.
"Having regard to the facts and circumstances of this matter it is hoped that you will not allow us to resort to litigation which will lead to dire consequences for the Management of the Nigerian Communication Commission for causing the nation to lose the revenue of over N600 billion per annum."