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Friday, March 10, 2017

Etisalat-Consortium saga: ATCON blames forex scarcity, Omo-Ettu berates banks

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), has blamed the instability in accessing the Foreign Exchange (Forex) due to dependence on the United States Dollar (USD$) which led to the saga between one of the Mobile Network Operator, Etisalat Nigeria and some three Nigerian bank consortium, reports ITRealms.

This is coming as telecom engineer and Broadband evangelist, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, has berated Nigerian banks and financiers who at every provocation, seek to take over the company, especially in telecommunication sector.

ITRealms recalls that some three bankers under a consortium had stepped up plans to take over Etisalat Nigeria for alleged failure to repay a loan to the tune of N541 billion, secured in 2015. These banks include Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, and Zenith Bank.

For ATCON President, Mr. Olusola Teniola, the plans to take over EMTS Nigeria (trading as Etisalat) would need regulatory approval, so though a threat, they are waiting in anticipating to see how the banks would have resolved the Forex issue.

The problem, ATCON said, is always an industry issue that depends on USD$ for its Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) spending to build out networks and upgrade capacity to sustain the growth that has been witnessed.

“EMTS management has the confidence of the industry that they will resolve this particular challenge,” he said.

Noting that ATCON has been advocating for over 9 months for government to address this forex problem, stressing that the fact that it now takes an industry player to realise that this is unsustainable is an unfortunate.

The realistic solution, ATCON canvassed is that the industry seeks leadership from government especially the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to enlist telecommunication infrastructure equipment as a category that could access favourable naira to dollar rates.

“Finally, we await NCC intervention with CBN to produce an outcome so that the industry can have a proper framework in place to fund broadband infrastructure with fair terms that includes hedging instruments to protect investments made in the industry to date and in the future,” ATCON president canvassed.

However, former president of ATCON and broadband evangelist, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, described as amusing the suggestion of takeover of a telecommunication company for whatever reasons, including what he tagged as special misdemeanours, moreso associated with non-operating loans.

“What, for God's sake, can ever be the objective and the end result, in this clime,” he wondered?

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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