The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, ALTON has made an 8-Point demand from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
ALTON is the Umbrella Association for all licensed and network operating companies in Nigeria.
Led by its Chairman, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, the association enumerated key areas of concern which it believes hold the key to unlocking the potential growth of the Nigerian telecom sector.
It noted with disappointment that issues of the multiple taxation, indiscriminate closure of telecom sites and Right of Way among others were still persistent and reduces the speed of industry leapfrogging to the next level.
The association said that while acknowledging the fiscal pressure on government and its agencies in the face of the dwindling federal allocation, multiple taxation on the telecom industry has remained one of the most critical risks to the growth of the telecom sector.
He charged the Nigerian Police, the regulator (NCC) and all other critical stakeholders to do a lot more on public awareness on these taxations and the attendant impact of incessant site closures to enforce them
Declaration of emergency in telecoms sector
Adebayo also argued that unless operators receive first level of protection by government, with the declaration of state of emergency on the telecom sector, growth will still remain stunted.
Damaged telecom infrastructure in North-East
While taking a stock of the impact of damage telecom infrastructure in the North Eastern part of the country, the Association Chairman lamented the destruction of base station sites, exchanges and other critical equipment in the regions by insurgents and appealed for support, considering that it has remained increasingly difficult to restore services in those areas.
Sim cards data harmonization
On harmonization of Sim cards data, he reminded the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, that ALTON had submitted some position papers to the NCC on it and urged the Commission to ensure definition of Controlled Environment and seamless approach in the entire exercise.
Communication Service Tax Bill
He warned on the potential impact of the proposed communication service tax bill 2015, which he said portends danger of widening the digital divide the more. The bill, which is already with the National Assembly is for the establishments of communications service tax and for the imposition, charging and collection of Communication Service Tax.
The association demanded a critical look and implementation of a report “Industry Report on the Socio-Economic Impact of Telecom in Nigeria, aimed at tackling the challenges to usher in the Nigerian ICT industry into the next decade of growth,” which it presented to the regulator.
Spreading good news of telecom impact
The association also called on NCC to join ALTON in telling the good story about the impact of telecommunication sector on the Nigeria Eco-system.
NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Danbatta acknowledged the contribution of the association to the sector and to the larger Nigerian economic growth.
He, however, decried the discriminated value added services by operators, warning that if the trend was not reversed, there will be consequences.
“When you refuse to regulate that, then you have agreed to poor quality of service, no matter how much operators make, there is need for them to do so in an orderly and proper manner,” Professor Danbatta said.
He called on ALTON to support NCC’s broadband initiative and Accelerated broadband initiative, Wire Nigeria Project, as well as the 8-Point Agenda of his administration.