Telecom Operators Demand Government Action to Overcome Industry Hurdles

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Telecommunication operators, collectively represented by the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), have reached out to the House of Representatives Committee on Communications, seeking the intervention of the Federal Government in resolving critical issues hampering the growth of the telecoms sector.

During a meeting with the committee, ALTON Chairman Gbenga Adebayo highlighted key challenges that are obstructing the development of telecom services, and urged swift government action to improve service quality.

One of the major concerns raised was the difficulty in obtaining permits from the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) to construct telecom sites in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. Adebayo emphasised that the absence of necessary infrastructure is hindering service quality in the nation’s capital.

Moreover, telecom operators expressed their grievances about excessive taxation imposed by government agencies, which they claim has had a detrimental impact on the industry’s growth. Adebayo revealed that ALTON’s members currently face at least 49 different taxes and levies: negatively affecting their investment and sustainability.

The operators also called for a review of the pricing regulatory framework and urged the House Committee on Communications to provide policy guidance to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for necessary interventions. These interventions would include revising the Mobile Termination Rate for voice services and adjusting the industry floor price for voice and data services, pending a comprehensive cost study.

Adebayo pointed out that the cost of doing business in Nigeria has risen considerably in recent months due to various factors, including inflation, currency devaluation, and security concerns. Therefore, the telecom operators encouraged collaboration with key stakeholders, such as the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), to designate telecom infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and criminalise actions like site sealing and infrastructure destruction.

They proposed that this could be achieved through an Executive Order or an amendment to the Cybercrimes Act, referencing a previous attempt by the National Security Adviser to secure presidential approval for an Executive Order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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