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General News of Friday, 17 November 2023


Telecom operators hint at tariff increase

Telecom operators Telecom operators

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Thursday said that the current tariff regime in the telecom sector is not sustainable.

The Chairman of ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, disclosed this in Lagos, during a stakeholders’ meeting with the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida.

He said price review should be considered in line with the rising operating cost, adding that operators are burdened by 52 taxes across the country.

“Our current pricing regime is no longer sustainable. That is the fact, with the way things are going, I am not sure we can sustain this sector with the current pricing regime."

He also urged the EVC to intervene in the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debts owed them by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), which he noted has now hit N200 billion. He noted that the total debt must be paid, stressing that the association would not hesitate blocking debtor banks from accessing the service.

While assuring the NCC EVC of the support of stakeholders in the sector, he said it is important to put a timeline on resolutions reached at the meeting.

On his part, the President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr Anthony Emoekpere, said there is a need to bridge the telecom infrastructure in the country as part of measures to improve the quality of service.

The NCC boss while assuring the stakeholders of his support and commitment to the growth of the sector, said his action would be guided by the Renewed Agenda of President Bola Tinubu and the policy guidelines enumerated by the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani.

Noting that the government sees the telecom sector as critical to the economy, he urged the operators to improve the quality of their services as well as boost job creation in the country.

Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday confirmed the nomination of Dr. Aminu Maida as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The confirmation followed the consideration and adoption of a report by the Senate Committee on Communication, which screened the nominee.

The Committee Chairman, Senator Aliyu Ikra Bilbis (Zamfara Central), while presenting the report during plenary Thursday, said Maida’s nomination was in accordance with section 8 (1) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Act, 2003.

He said that during the screening, the committee found that Maida passed security clearance as well as possessed the requisite qualifications, professional experience, competence and capacity to occupy the office.

Dr. Maida had, prior to his appointment by President Bola Tinubu as the new Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, served as the Executive Director, Technology & Operations at Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS).