Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The Association of Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ATCON) on Friday held a special reception in honour of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta where the body listed six major barriers to investment in the nation’s telecoms sector.
ATCON President, Mr. Olusola Teniola said the association is interested in the continuous development of the sector.
However, he said the association is worried about some issues that have constituted a threat to investment friendly and enabling environment for its members.
Teniola listed national broadband plan-implementation; approval of draft national ICT policy; foreign exchange impact viz-a-viz network roll-out; proposed 9% communications tax Bill; local content within ICT sector, and dumping of counterfeit phone as matters of urgent attention.
According to him, the dumping of counterfeit phone is a new growing problem for the industry hence, ATCON pleads with the Government to put in place anti-counterfeiting measures such as the facilitation of integrated Web portal based IMEI-IMSI collection to stem the menace of substandard or unregistered mobile phones circulating in Nigeria.
This he said is necessary because of obvious consequences such as poor quality of service, loss of revenue to the government, loss of business by OEMs and loss of jobs as well as in revenue to the Nigeria mobile market.
He said, “For instance, we have more than twenty mobile phone brands that do not have NCC type approved certificate to operate in Nigeria. These unregistered/unapproved brands have over one hundred and fifty mobile phone models circulating in Nigeria.”
He disclosed that the reception was to specifically welcome Danbatta to the industry by the Association members and to offer him the opportunity to share his plan for the industry with the relevant stakeholders; to give the industry the opportunity to meet him and share some of the challenges that are impacting negatively on the telecoms industry in Nigeria.
Teniola said that the Association and its esteemed members are aware that the EVC’s appointment was based on his pedigree as a thorough-bred professional with sterling leadership quality.
“We are confident that you are equal to the task ahead. Our Association, which is the umbrella body for all telecoms company operating in Nigeria is glad to welcome you and wish you a very successful tenure. We pledge our commitment to work with you and the Commission to sustain the growth and development of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria”.
Responding on the honour done on him, Professor Umar Danbatta thanked the industry stakeholders led by ATCON for making out time to honour him and NCC for their efforts to address quantum of challenges in the sector.
He said one year after he assumed office, NCC has vigorously followed critical measures to achieve its mandate tied to the eight-point agenda the Commission unveiled earlier in the year.
The EVC explained that the Commission has put in place various strategies that will enable it become a responsive, world-class communications regulatory organization that promotes a market driven communications industry that fosters universal access to Information and Communications Technology for all Nigerians.
He said that in whole, the essence of the 8-point agenda is to promote innovation, investment, competition, and consumer empowerment in and on top of the communications platforms of today and the future – maximizing the power of information and communications technology to grow our economy, create jobs and enhance national competitiveness through the deployment of broadband infrastructure to facilitate rollout of broadband services that will hold out opportunities and higher network quality of service for all Nigerians.
He pledged NCC’s commitment to aiding industry growth my engaging critical stakeholders at Federal, States and Local Governments levels to foster cordial relationship for the protection of critical telecom assets and provisioning of better business climate.
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