AMOSA Isiaka, the Permanent Secretary, Kwara Ministry of Environment and Forestry, has advised telecom operators to dialogue with state governments on optimal benefits of telecom infrastructure.
He made the call at an interactive session of Stakeholders’ Parliament on “Optimising the Benefits of Telecom Infrastructure in Nigeria” held in Lokoja on Thursday.
He said at the session, organised by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that information available showed that most of the telecom infrastructure located in states lacked due registration with the state governments, noting that any agreement documents should bear a stamp duty.
He emphasised that operators must statutorily pay 2.5 per cent of whatever cost of the land they purchased, to enable them to know the quantum of land used.
He added that “most of these telecommunication operators run to government and claim that the states are not cooperating, if you have a bill, you dont run to Federal Government.
“We are living in a Federal State and we must recognise that when a telecommunication mast is installed, it is expected to stand for 50 years, and its profit calculated for that period of time.
“Telecom operators cannot come to my territory and build and then go to my father and tell him ‘your son is charging us.’
“That is not right, when operators go to Federal Capital Territory, they can charge but when they come to states, they have to pay us for our land because states like Kwara have no oil to fall back on, our land is our resource.’’
Isiaka said the Federal Government backed operators because they pay, so they should recognise that it is also statutory to pay states.
The permanent secretary, however, added that “if operators cannot pay, they can give us other things like employing our people, because some of the staff they employ, they bring them from other states, we want them to also develop our human capital, once you development our own people, we are better for it.
“In Kwara, we are not really interested in money, we want to see what you are putting on the table that will be to our own over all interest.
“We know some of the environmental consequences of mast installation to the environment and on the people, so we want assurance of things that will mitigate that: operators should come and engage us.”
Mr Stanley Buba, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Nasarawa State on Development Control, said that the Federal Government had an executive order on ease of doing business, adding that states were trying to follow suit.
He also said that telecom operators should not come to states and do businesses without paying their dues to the states, adding that it was the problem that led to face off between some states and operators.
He explained that “for us in Nasarawa State, we have keyed into the ease of doing business but operators have to play their role by following the rules and paying their levies and not go behind our backs to start setting up masts.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that recently, over 15 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) were shut in Kogi, which affected over 150 BTS sites in Nasarawa, Benin, Enugu, Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti, Niger states and the FCT.
This led to outages of telecommunication services and degradation, affecting telecom users across the states.
It took the intervention of Gov. Yahaya Bello of KogiKogi to have the sites reopened.
Meanwhile, the NCC interactive session in Kogi was the 3rd in the series of engagements with stakeholders in the telecom industry with professionals and telecom operators’ representatives in attendance.
– Dec. 7, 2018 @ 10:10 GMT |