Nigerian govt to telecom service providers: shape up or ship out
A statement released to the media by the legislative Officer, Public Relations, on behalf of Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Communications, has stated the warning issued by The Chairman, Senator (Prince) Gil Emeka Nnaji to GSM (Global System for Mobile Telecommunications) operators in the country to urgently address ongoing poor quality of service or leave the Nigerian business environment.
The Chairman reportedly alluded to this during a public hearing, held recently by the Committee, on the deteriorating service by GSM providers.
According to the statement Senator Nnaji also reacted to a claim by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that MTN is the only telecommunications service provider currently making a profit describing the situation as “unacceptable”.
He said that Nigeria’s public deserved the best in telecommunications services, particularly in light of the substantial investments the federal government had made in the subsector – specifically with regard to tax holidays upon license acquisition.
Senator Nnaji, who represents Enugu-East Senatorial District, together with the senate, wanted to ascertain the level of culpability of network service providers with regard to cases of dropped calls, poor network reception, unauthorised deductions of airtime.
According to the head of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, the NCC has secured the cooperation of the Federal Capital Territory Administration in order to establish additional telecommunication tower sites inAbujaas part of a plan to boost service.
Dr Juwah identified the absence of commensurate infrastructure to manage rapidly increasing subscriber base and lack of enabling regulations to enforce compliance on the operators as challenges facing the regulatory body in ensuring that service providers offer better quality of service.
GSM operators unanimously claimed that power, multiple taxation and regulations, and the insecurity of their facilities, were factors influencing their ability to attain sustainable improved quality of service.
The country’s Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, reiterated the ministry’s continued efforts to meet power supply requirements and urged mobile operators to work with the ministry to agree on interim special power supply.
Meanwhile Acting Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Kabir M. Mashi, refuted claims that multiple taxation was a hindrance to improved quality of service. The country’s constitution was clear on statutory taxes or levies payable to businesses to all tiers of government he said.