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Telecoms stakeholders’ seek Executive Order to end official hostilities on facilities

Having tried all possible official diplomatic engagements in reaching out to the 36 states governors to prevail on their revenue agencies to end incessant shut down of telecoms infrastructures as sanctions for multiple taxation defaults, Nigerian stakeholders’ in telecommunication industry have in unison, called for a presidential Executive order against such acts henceforth.
The resolution was reached Thursday at the maiden Nigerian Telecoms Leadership Summit organised by the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), held in Lagos.
Leading the clarion call for Executive Order, a lead panelist and the chairman of Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), Engineer Gbenga Adebayo, said “We have tried and used all possible means to get the governors into understanding that telecoms infrastructures are critical national assets though owned by companies that should not be tampered with by anybody except the companies, time has come to invoke Executive Order to compel state governors to come to terms with the realities”.
According to him, several networks had been hobbled in the process of indiscriminate shut down ordered by governors that their revenue agencies without recourse to the sensitive nature of base transceiver stations and other infrastructures upon their huge security implications.
Corroborating the need for Executive order on the matter, former Minister of Communications, Dr Mrs Omobola Johnson recalled that “As a minister between 2011 and 2015, we met with governors on this matter more than 15 times and they never changed their minds hence the most available option now should be a presidential Executive Order to save telecoms infrastructures nationwide”.
Earlier in his address, the special guest of honour and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the federal government in the last four years have continued to power foreign direct investments in the sector with salutary policies and growing enabling environment.
According to him, the federal will continue to listen to stakeholders as a way of encouraging both indigenous and foreign investors in the drive to knowledge economy which has become the trending economic model worldwide.
The Vice president, represented by Senator Femi Ojodu, recalled that “Today, in virtually all aspects of human life, telecommunications have become indispensable. In Nigeria, we have experienced the positive impact of that contribution of the telecom industry in our economy. The contributions of this industry to the national Gross Domestic Product has continued to grow, with the last Quarter or 2019, indicating 10.1 per cent.
This sector contributed an impressive N1.9 in the 4th quarter of 2018, a clear indicator, that the sector is one of the goose that lay the golden egg of our economy, and therefore, must be encouraged, protected, sustained, supported, and projected”.
“The Federal Government is proud of the performance of the Nigerian Communications Commission in its sustained democratisation of access to telecommunications services and maintaining stability in the sector.
“With 174 Million Connected lines, 116 million access to the Internet, and current broadband penetration at 33.22%, the impact on life styles, business, and social interactions, have continued to improve. Direct and indirect employment opportunities have been remarkable”.
In his welcome address, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta said “The leadership of the NCC has taken a deep and predictive look at the financial health of our industry, and the aspiration of Nigerian in the context of the 4th industrial revolution; the potentials of emerging technologies; the global movement, and demand for expanded frontiers of availability’ accessibility and affordability of all the ICT drivers and enablers of economic growth, like broadband infrastructure and services’ the dynamism of growth, among other things, and reached a conclusion that investments are very critical for our future growth”.
Prof Danbatta made it clear that “This is an event that epitomizes our desire and commitment to collaboration and consultation which are very crucial for a successful telecom regulatory regime”.
Business Hilights reports that key industry stakeholders attended the summit and resolved to move the nation’s telecoms industry to the next level.