THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, are seeking urgent attention to critical industry issues affecting telecommunications operations in the country. NCC and ALTON want government to address challenges facing the sector. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC, led a delegation from NCC and ALTON to Isa Pantami, minister of communications, to discuss sectoral challenges with the minister.
He said while the federal government, through the ministry and the NCC, was committed to deepening digital access, the RoW issue, among several others, remained the biggest challenge standing in the way of the accelerated telecoms infrastructure and by extension, broadband development.
“So ALTON is led to talk as a body about the challenges they are facing as operators in the industry. We also believe that achieving federal government’s target of 127,000 kilometers of fibre across the country, which is critical to our broadband and digital economy drive, depends on how these industry issues are addressed,” he said.
Danbatta further commended the minister for the way and manner he had hit the ground running upon assumption of office, adding that the Commission facilitated the meeting in order for the operators to ventilate their views to the minister on various challenges in the industry and as a sequel to the report the Commission already presented to the minister upon assumption of office.
On his part, Gbenga Adebayo, president, ALTON, listed and extensively discussed a number of issues confronting the operators, which include: the problem of denial and exorbitant cost of Right of Way (RoW) by state governments, vandalism of telecoms infrastructure, poor and lack of access to public electricity to run telecoms operations, multiple taxation and regulations, the need for Executive Order to protect telecoms infrastructure, and the need for a national digital policy, among others.
Adebayo solicited the minister’s interventions, requesting him to use his good offices to address the issues in view of the significance of telecoms as a central and pivotal infrastructure shaping the economy.
Adebayo, who submitted a document detailing issues requiring immediate attention, acknowledged the exceptional leadership of Danbatta, stressing that the current upbeat status of the industry is largely traceable to the good regulatory regime instituted by the leadership of the commission.
Responding to the issues raised, Pantami acknowledged that he was fully aware of 90 percent of the challenges confronting the operators through the NCC and that the ministry had started making efforts to address the issues through engaging the president and other relevant government agencies.
“The ministry is on the verge of developing a National Digital Economic Policy and Strategy, which will be ready shortly. He also stated that efforts were ongoing to address all the concerns raised by the operators,” he said.
– Oct 18, 2019 @ 17:12 GMT |