Stakeholders canvass end to over-regulation in telecoms sector

Telecoms industy stakeholders have appealed to individuals, community leaders, local and state governments to help sustain the sector by removing obstacles such as multiple taxation, denial of Right of Ways (RoW), vandalisation of equipment among others.

This was the high point of discussions during the recent Quarterly Seminar of the Nigeria Information & Communications Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA) with the theme: ‘The impact of Over-regulation of Telecoms Industry on Service Quality’, which was sponsored by Airtel Nigeria in Lagos.

Speaking at the event, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, said NCC has taken several efforts toward stemming over-regulation in the telecoms sector.

He said some of the efforts include meetings with state governors and the Nigeria’s Governors Forum with the view to convincing them to take another look at the telecoms industry and create environments that will favour the operators and thus be able to contribute more in terms of investment, employment and taxes.

“Currently, the NCC has met with the governors of Kano, Ogun and Kaduna States and they have promised their support towards helping the commission create and sustain an enabling environment that would allow telecom operators and services to grow,” he added.

Head, Enforcement at NCC, Mr Efosa Idehen said the telecoms industry represents the ‘next big thing’ that will help turn around the fortunes of the country.

“Let us not kill the industry that wil be the next big thing through overregulation,” he added.

Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Association of Licenced Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr Gbenga Adebayo, said an industry with high service quality will meet customers’ needs, while remaining economically competitive.

Adebayo, who chaired the event said “there is one question we need to continue to debate: shall we continue to regulate technology or service?, adding that, “when you regulate technology, you regulate the infrastructure, which includes GSM, LTE, Fibre and Fixed Network, when you regulate service, you regulate the content and over the top services.”