…Contractors groans in agony
By Bukola Olanrewaju
Over 40 local contractors in the country have allegedly accused indigenous communication giants, Globacom Nigeria Limited of owing them over one billion naira which findings revealed has led to frustration and disappointment from the contractors.
The contractors were contracted for installation of Radio Frequency (RF) across the country for efficient and quality service delivery for the telecommunication subscribers.
According to the terms of the contract, contractors are to carry out the installations from their personal fund 100% with the agreement of paying the contractors full payment of the contract immediately after the execution of the project.
Radio Frequency (RF) is a measurement representing the oscillation rate of electromagnetic radio waves, from 300GHz to as low as 9kHz. With the use of antennas and transmitters, an RF field can be used for various types of wireless broadcasting and communications.
Additionally, many types of wireless devices make use of RF fields. Cordless and cellphones, radio and television broadcast stations, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Satellite communications systems and two-way radios all operate in the RF spectrum.
Findings revealed that Globacom Nigeria in recent years have been facing competency test from stakeholders with alleged inefficiency in their service delivery which prompted them for sustainable action that will fight its set back in the market.
However, despite move by the telecom company, they still live in their old shadow following their failure to honour contract signed with the contractors.
Down the memory lane, some of the contracts have been undertaken since 2012 with the telecom company denying them their payment and showing less effort towards the respect of the terms as signed by the two parties.
Speaking with NewsDirect one of the contractors who preferred anonymity said “We have kept our cool pretending all to be okay, but now we have to cry out to anyone who can help us to please intervene so that this issue can get resolved on time. It’s been too long and this is taking its toll on our businesses and financial affairs”, the contractor lamented.
Findings revealed that despite the fact that Glo has soared in its aspiration to build Africa’s biggest and best telecommunications network with millions of subscribers in Nigeria, Republic of Benin and Ghana ever since its commencement of operations (in Nigeria) in August 2003, Contractors handling Globacom Nigeria “Glo” Radio Frequency (RF) installations across the country have groaned about the maltreatment they have received and continued to receive from Glo over the non-payment of their contract money since 2012.
Some of the contractors who further spoke with NewsDirect, explained the pitiable state of their businesses, their inability to pay rent of their offices space, high rate of employees’ turnover, the loss they have greatly suffered among many others as a result of Glo withholding their entitlement.
Grieving over the fact that it is a breach of contract, the Managing Director of Conquertel Services Limited, Mr. Boniface Monday explained that “We have done our part of the job. We have already installed the RF which allows subscribers to gain access to the network services, provide them with the ability to make calls and to recharge airtime on the mobile network even in low connectivity areas.
“For us as a company this was a major achievement and an opportunity to contribute to the overall success of Globacom as the only indigenous GSM company operating in Nigeria.
Buttressing further, “It is annoying that they are making million of Naira from our work ever since the installations but they are owing and have refuse to pay us for more than five, six years.
“That is the height of wickedness”, Boniface said.
In addition, he stated that they were called for reconciliation in October 2017 to discuss the issue over again but since then they are yet to receive any feedback from Glo.
“We are close to 40 contractors and we are worried that we’ve not been called back. They are not even talking with us, which is really frustrating.
“As we speak, there is no green light that they are paying us anytime soon because nobody is talking to us. We cannot even support our business any longer because there is no working capital. We can’t pay our rent, salaries, we have laid off our workers and most of the businesses are almost closed down”, Boniface disclosed.
According to Boniface, the nature of the business is for the contractors to do it 100 per cent up front. All the Globacom projects were executed with company funds upfront.
“Payment for jobs executed for two years (i.e. 2011 and 2012) were prompt as we got our money as at when due. With this positive impression created we continue executing jobs for Glo only to be shocked by Globacom’s refusal to pay for these sites in Edo, Rivers, Cross River, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Benue, Abuja, e.t.c., completed over four years now.
“As we speak Globacom owes my company a huge sum for some installations carried out between 2012, 2013 and up till date without any effort from them to offset it”. The estimate is around #30million Naira.
“Whenever someone owes such huge amount for such a long period, you know the effect of it. The affected contractors are close to 40 in numbers.
Left with other choice, Boniface lamented that there is really nothing they can do except to plea and call on well meaning Nigerians to help with the situation.
“There is nothing we can do; they are not giving us information”, Boniface told NewsDirect.
“There was a meeting held in October 2017, where we came together to discuss the issue but nobody can really tell you what they are doing”, the Managing Director of Global Access Technologies, Dr Anthony Nwosu, who is also the First Vice President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) said.
Speaking about the number of the affected contractors, Nwosu said “We are about 40 contractors that Glo owes. They have being owing since 2012. Our businesses are dead and we can hardly feed our families.
Getting tired of the long silence and being kept in the dark, the Radio Frequency (RF) installation contractors lamented about the way the Nigerian owned telecommunication company, Glo has been treating them who happened to be of the same citizenry.
In his words, “even though we know the people who are working on the payment, they are always telling us we’ve done our part.
“So where is the paper- the approved document and our money? Nobody is saying anything. They are playing hide and seek with us”, Nwosu expressed.
Complaining of the fact that they don’t know their fate; the contractors had therefore cried out for help.
Confirming his company as among the RF contractors affected by the lingering debt crisis, the Executive Director, Chalda Integrated Communication Services, Engineer Aloy Madu “We started since 2006 and our project location is nationwide and Globacom Nigeria Ltd owes us for the past four years.
He posited that since 2014, they have been promised that they are going to pay them but up till this moment, they have not seen anything.
On his contribution, he acknowledged that the amount is so high that they have been affected badly and harshly.
“Our families are the ones at the most receiving end, some of our families have died, and our workers has been laid off because of this issue.
“Let them pay us what we have labored for because our families are dying.
“Some were paid part payment but not all. Our money is held up, we have been promised that payment will be made for it but there is result.
“We don’t really need much grammar; we are appealing to Glo to pay us so that we can take care of our family, children and businesses. Our children are out of school and our workers are equally disturbing us to pay them”, Madu bemoaned.
Also voicing his disappointment with Glo’s delays over the payment, the Managing Director, Zimak, Mr. Maurice Oguh, said “I wish to confirm that Glo owes our Company for RF installations we undertook for them. Some of these sites were installed in 2012 and 2013.
“Some are 50%, while some are 100% pending. And this has had an adverse effect on our Company. It has made it difficult to meet our obligation to our staff and creditors even to the government; with many of our staff laid off”.
According to Nwosu, the issue of huge debts in the telecoms industry has been a major source of concern to ATCON, “Because of the risk it poses to the operations and survival of firms in the industry, especially the local service providers. For instance, the debt crisis in respect of telecom operators and VAS providers has lingered for long and the VAS providers have been complaining about the negative impact of the debt burden on their business”.
He stated that ATCON might organize a stakeholders’ summit on the issue of crippling industry debts if things remain the way they are.
He further urged the National Assembly, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and other well-meaning Nigerians to seriously look into the issue of industry debts vis-à-vis the survival of local service providers and possibly come up with a framework for addressing the problem.
He advised the management of Glo to consider the plight of the RF contractors.
As at press time, effort made to reach Globacom Nigeria Limited proved abortive as they failed to respond to calls and text messages sent to them