By Ibiyemi Mathew
The Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) along with the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, led a delegation to the Honourable Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Pantami, to discuss critical industry issues affecting telecommunications operations in the country.
The visit was the first industry stakeholders meeting with the Minister which is facilitated by the Commission.
Tabling the sectoral challenges before the Minister, ALTON President, Gbenga Adebayo, listed and extensively discussed a number of issues confronting the operators. These include the problem of denial or exorbitant cost of Right of Way (RoW) by state governments, vandalism of telecoms infrastructure, poor or lack of access to public electricity to run telecoms operations, multiple taxations and regulations, the need for Executive Order to protect telecoms infrastructure, and the need for a national digital policy.
Adebayo earnestly solicited the Minister’s interventions requesting him to use his good office to address issues in view of the significance of telecoms as a central and pivotal infrastructure shaping the economy.
Adebayo, who submitted a document detailing issues requiring immediate attention specially acknowledged the exceptional leadership of Prof. Danbatta as the EVC of NCC, stressing that the current upbeat status of the industry is largely traceable to the good regulatory regime instituted by the leadership of the Commission.
Earlier in his remarks, Danbatta said while the Federal Government, through the Ministry and the NCC, is committed to deepening digital access, the RoW issue, among several others, remains the biggest issue standing in the way of the accelerated telecoms infrastructure and by extension, broadband development.