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Telcos kick against directive to lower data cost

Telecoms companies on Wednesday kicked against the directive of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Ali Pantami to the Nigerian communications Commission (NCC) to lower data cost.

Pantami had directed the Board and Management of the NCC to resolve the issues of illegal data deduction and review downwards, the price of data in the country within five days.

He said there were numerous complaints from Nigerians regarding illegal data deduction and the high price of data adding that he had personally experienced illegal data deduction. The minister had also directed the NCC to stop the telcos from deducting USSD charges.

But the operators warned that any attempt to wittle down the autonomy of the NCC on a platter of populism will spell doom for the industry which has achieved phenomenal growth through the application of ‘light regulation’.

The President, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria  (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, said the sector was able to create over 100,000 indirect jobs, attract $70billion foreign direct investment (FDI), contribute about 40 per cent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and has become the biggest telecoms industry on the continent because of the autonomy of the regulator and its ability to balance all the interest of the stakeholders in the ecosystem.

According to him, the autonomy of the NCC is guaranteed in the Nigeria Communication Act which empowers it to regulate and mange the industry.

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