Telecommunications companies including as Globacom, Airtel, MTN, and others have vowed to hike charges unless the Federal Government resolves fundamental concerns impacting the business.
Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), spoke on behalf of the telecos at a news conference in Lagos on Thursday, giving the Federal Government seven days to respond.
The telecom business is now beset by difficulties like as the seizure of cellular sites in Kogi, worries about deteriorating service quality in Abuja, rising diesel prices, inflation, and the safety of telecom employees, according to Adebayo.
The chairman of ALTON claimed that all telecom operators had voiced worry about telecommunications infrastructure being shut down in Kogi State due to disagreements over taxes and levies imposed by the Kogi State Government through the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).
“The KIRS action was based on an ex parte court order obtained by the KIRS on unfounded allegations that our members are in default of state government tax payments (which is not the case) and that access to these key telecom sites has been restricted.”
“This issue is anticipated to result in a total communications blackout in Kogi State, parts of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, and maybe a reduction in service availability in Nassarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Niger States.”
“These are states that share boundaries with Kogi State,” said ALTON’s chairman, who also serves as a spokesman for the telecom carriers.
He further claimed that the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), under the Directorate of Signage and Advertisement, had refused to issue communications service providers with permits to establish infrastructure in the Federal Capital City.
This, he claims, is impacting service quality in the FCT and Abuja.
“The difficulty is caused by the FCT’s ruling authorities,” he stated. Telecommunications services rely on the infrastructure on the ground.
“We hereby request that the Federal Executive Council persuade the FCDA to grant our members approval/permit to deploy infrastructure.”
“DISCRIMINATORY CHARGES AGAINST THE SECTOR WILL NO LONGER BE TOLERATED BY ALTON AND ITS MEMBERS.” In order to meet their demand, the sector plans to start a research on altering rates for some of the unfriendly telecoms states.”
ALTON was particularly concerned about the growing cost of diesel and its impact on the high cost of doing business in general.
“We are afraid that unless there is an intervention to sustain this industry, operators would be forced to launch a pricing review process,” Adebayo added.
“While we applaud all of our security agencies for the work they do to keep us all safe, the impact of the general state of security in the country is that we are unable to provide 24/7 support in certain areas because it is unsafe to send out service personnel to certain parts of the country and to other parts of the country at certain times of the day.”