The Nigeria-British Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders have attributed the poor service delivery witnessed currently in the nation’s telecommunications industry to insecurity of infrastructure and multiple levies by local government authorities.
Indeed, the President of NBCC, Akin Olawore explained that infrastructures put in place by telecommunications operators are constantly vandalized while issues of legislation and taxation also pose a threat to the industry.
Addressing the challenges of telecommunications industry during the chamber’s October breakfast meeting, Olawore said if care is not taken, the industry may collapse.
Olawore therefore advocated a conducive environment for the businesses to thrive before being heavily burdened by tax authorities.
He stated: “if they collapse where are we going to start from? The banks are on internet now, the airlines are on internet, and all of the businesses are done on the internet.
“Government has to come to realize that people need these things to improve business, it has been said that for every 20 mega bits of data that is provided marginally, we get a 2-3% increase in GDP, so you can imagine? Then imagine how these have impacted on the businesses especially the SMEs. so if the government look critically into it, the more money the businesses make, the more tax government should make so instead of taxing the telecom, let’s just relax a bit for them to be able to provide the right service and then make money on others doing businesses”.
He complained that the right-of-way has been a problem for the industry as operators have to pay a lot of money to the government and area boys to be able to protect their equipment, alongside other forms of taxation.
Also speaking at the event, the Director of public affairs, Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Tony Ojobo said telecommunications in the country is a work in progress.
He listed power, right of way, multiple taxation, vandalizing of infrastructures and restiveness in some communities where it has become difficult for operators to go out and fix challenges as part of the problems facing the industry.
He added: “we heard the presenter talking about situation where somebody climbs up the mast and the members of the community will go and remove the ladder and say you cannot come down unless someone is paid. So these are challenges and NCC is working hard to ensure that the challenges are addressed”.
Airtel Nigeria’s Managing Director and guest speaker of the event, Segun Ogunsanya who talked on the role of the communications industry in economy growth, said the economy has a lot to benefit from the industry.
He stated that investments in the sector as at 2017 stood at $68billion with FDI contributing to $35billion with 10,000 direct jobs and 1.3million indirect jobs created since liberalization of the sector.