Multiple taxation/right of ways: Boycott governors -Ex Minister, Omobola

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…Tackles NCC on digital infrastructure, revolution

…Says infrastructure unreliable, expensive

By Bukola Olanrewaju

The Former Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Mrs Omobola Johnson has advised Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)  to boycott state governors to erase problems of right of ways and multiple taxation affecting investors in Telecomms sector. She criticized slow action by the NCC on digital infrastructure and revolution in Nigeria.

This advise was suggested by Omobola  at the maiden edition of Nigerian Telecom Leadership Summit themed, “Repositioning the Nigerian Telecom Industry for the future: Prospects and Challenges”, held in Lagos. She  advised the commission to be forceful in getting rid of obstacles by boycotting state governors and its engagement to seek an executive order to erase the long existence problems of right of ways, multiple taxations.

According to her, the industry has moved beyond telecommunications and its operators to digital revolution.

In her keynote address titled “Best Fit Infrastructure Investment Choice for about emerging market “, Omobola noted that the state of our infrastructure is a far cry.

“The whole country is becoming hyper -connected, it is about the whole sectors (such as education, agriculture, health e.t.c). NCC needs to see that other sectors are now leveraging on technology.

Omobola noted that the infrastructure today is inadequate, unreliable, unstable and expensive.

“We need to look beyond statistics and number. The Industry is in need of another revolution.

“The question we need to ask ourselves is how do we build digital infrastructure, how will this infrastructure deliver socio -economic development, how can we become self-sufficient in tech and getting expose for the outside world with a fast, reliable and affordable internet.

“It is about digital economy; infrastructure, innovations, talents and skills”, Omobola said.

Speaking further, she noted that the industry has changed and require therefore a regulator that is understanding, more collaborative and engaging.

“A regulator should not be afraid to innovate and experiment in a safe place.

“Tech entrepreneurs are afraid of a regulator that takes weeks/months to give a VAS license.

She lamented that the industry seems to be moving in a circle with no plan from the regulator to be ahead of the industry ever since she left office.

On her part, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mrs Yewande Sadiku explained that to attract the right development and investment, the regulator must be firm in the context of protection, collaborations and positive engagement.

“A firm regulator recognises that it is only profitable businesses that survived that tends to remain and  transact business in the country”, she addressed.

However, the Director, Human Capital and administration, NCC, Mrs Maryam Biyi argued that the commission is doing the best it can to promote the industry from where we use to be to where we should be.

Maryam posited that NCC will only be forceful within the confines of the law.

“It is enough to complain but everybody need to play by the rule for the policies and idea to work”.

She also added that expectant result will be the collective effort of both the service providers, agencies and the regulator to bring about reliable broadband access, enabling technologies that can help to change to narrative.

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