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Telcoms demand executive order on vandalism, tax

Telecom operators and other professionals in the Information and Communications Technology, ICT, industry, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to issue an executive order against vandalism of telecom infrastructure, double taxation and regulation in the sector to properly harness the developmental potential of ICT in nation-building.

The call was made as Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, flagged of Nigerian telecom leadership summit in Lagos.

The summit, according to NCC, is meant to restructure and reposition Nigerian telecom industry to accommodate current realities that shape world economies.

The theme of the 2019 edition of this summit is: ‘Repositioning the Nigerian Telecom Industry for the Future: Prospects and Challenges.’

Challenging the government on the travails of the industry, Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, said the only way to have a telecom industry that would become the backbone of the economy, was for President Muhammadu Buhari to pronounce executive order on telecom infrastructure to forestall incessant vandalism and facility shut down by ”unknown” state and local government agencies.

Adebayo said these have hampered telecom activities and diverted revenue that should have ordinarily accrued to the Federal Government.

Also corroborating was former Minister of Communications Technology Omobola Johnson.

During my time as minister, there is hardly any state I didn’t travel to have meetings with the governors on how to have a harmonious relationship with the telecom operators. However, it appeared that after the meetings, the governors reneged on everything we agreed and continued to fix arbitrary levies and charges on operators. For me, I think time has come when the approach should change.

However, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo promised that the Federal Government would take a look at certain decisions taken in the past to see if some amendments could bring the desired change.

Osinbajo, represented by Special Adviser to President Buhari on Political Affairs, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, said the Federal Government was displeased with the lingering issues of ‘Right of Way,’ saying it had become a huge encumbrance to broadband infrastructure deployment across the country.

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