Telecoms Watchdog Leads Service Providers to Govt to Discuss Critical Industry Issues – IT NEWS NIGERIA

Telecoms Watchdog Leads Service Providers to Govt to Discuss Critical Industry Issues – IT NEWS NIGERIA

– ALTON seeks
Minister’s interventions, commends NCC

– We’re  already
dealing with the challenges – Minister

NCC: The Executive
Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar
Danbatta, today (14/10/2019) led a delegation of the Association of Licensed
Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) to the Honourable Minister of
Communications, Dr. Isa Pantami, to discuss critical industry issues affecting
telecommunications operations in the country.

The visit was the
first industry stakeholders meeting with the Minister which is facilitated by
the Commission.

Tabling the sectoral
challenges before the Minister, ALTON President, Gbenga Adebayo, listed and
extensively discussed a number of issues confronting the operators. These
include the problem of denial or exorbitant cost of Right of Way (RoW) by state
governments, vandalism of telecoms infrastructure, poor or lack of access to
public electricity to run telecoms operations, multiple taxations and
regulations, the need for Executive Order to protect telecoms infrastructure,
and the need for a national digital policy.

Adebayo earnestly
solicited the Minister’s interventions requesting him to use his good office 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 specially
acknowledged the exceptional leadership of Prof. Danbatta as the EVC of NCC,
stressing that the current upbeat status of the industry is largely traceable
to the good regulatory regime instituted by the leadership of the Commission. 

Earlier in his
remarks, Danbatta said while the Federal Government, through the Ministry and
the NCC, is committed to deepening digital access, the RoW issue, among several
others, remains the biggest issue standing in the way of the accelerated
telecoms infrastructure and by extension, broadband
development.   

“So, ALTON is led
here today 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,” the EVC 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.

Responding to issues
raised, the Minister 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.

Pantami disclosed
that the Ministry is on the verge of developing a National Digital Economy
Policy and Strategy which will be ready shortly. He also stated that efforts
were ongoing to address all the concerns raised by the operators.

While assuring ALTON
delegation of his unflinching support, Pantami said: “We are already working on
some of the issues raised by ALTON. I have had continuous engagements with the
President on some of the issues, we would study your submission and begin to
address the various issues you have raised. Accordingly, we will also explore
better alternatives besides and beyond what ALTON has recommended in its
submission to us towards ensuring that the issues are dealt with in the
interest of all Nigerians.”

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