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‘We may increase tariffs’ — telcos union laments insecurity, high energy costs

  Telcos under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) say they are considering an upward r...

 


Telcos under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) say they are considering an upward review of tariffs.

 

According to the telcos, the development is due to the rising cost of diesel and its implications for the cost of doing business.

 

They also said the security situation in the country has made it unsafe to send out service personnel to some parts of the country, thereby hampering their operations.

 

Speaking with TheCable on Thursday night, Gbenga Adebayo, ALTON chairman, called for government intervention in the telecommunications sector.


He said unless there is an intervention, operators will have no choice but to begin a process of price review.

 

“We will continue to provide services but we are concerned about the high costs. Without government intervention, we may consider increasing tariffs to reflect current realities,” Adebayo said.

 

“We can’t just wake up and increase prices. There are regulatory procedures that we need to follow to review prices. We may consider following those steps to commence the process of price review.”

 

FACE-OFF IN KOGI ‘COULD LEAD TO BLACKOUT’

 

The ALTON boss expressed concern about the shutting down of telecommunications facilities by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS) over tax disputes.

 

He said the action was hinged on an ex parte court order obtained by the KIRS over “unsubstantiated allegations” that its members are in default of tax payments to the state government.

 

“This issue is likely to lead to a total communications blackout in the entire Kogi state, parts of Abuja and possibly impact on service availability in some parts of the following states: Nassarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Niger. These are states sharing borders with Kogi,”  Adebayo said.


Adebayo said that as a result of the state government’s action, the affected telcos were unable to refuel the power generators nor provide any support or maintenance services at the sites.

 

“The impact of these outages will gradually spread to the states mentioned above and if no action is taken within the next few days, a total outage of telecommunication sites in all these states will be catastrophically experienced,” he said.

 

“To the best of our knowledge, our members have settled all statutory levies and taxes due to the Kogi government and have taken necessary steps to comply with local laws that govern business activities within the state.”

 

INABILITY TO BUILD INFRASTRUCTURE IN FCT

 

He also said the signage and advertisement office in the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) has refused to grant telecommunication service providers permits to build infrastructure.

 

This, he said, is affecting the quality of services around FCT and Abuja.

 

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Adebayo urged the federal executive council (FEC) to prevail on the FCDA to grant permits for its members to deploy infrastructure.

 

“ALTON and its members will no longer tolerate discriminatory charges against the sector,” he said.

 

“The industry is planning to begin a study on varying tariffs to some of the unfriendly telecommunications states in other to accommodate their demand.

 

“Those states that are requesting for non-statutory levies and taxes are the ones being subsidised by some viable states.”

 

Adebayo asked for protection from sub-national governments and non-interference in the operations of telecom services.

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