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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Scrap right of way levies – ATCON

Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr Gbenga Adebayo has called for the immediate scrapping of all forms of levies and fees charged by various government agencies on right of way approvals, as a way of encouraging rapid roll out of fibre optic networks and last mile copper infrastructure.

Adebayo who spoke last week in Lagos on, The Nigerian Telecom Industry: Fuelling the future of e-payment System, at the Telecom/Device Forum 2009, said government should not consider right-of-way approval as a way of generating revenue, but should see the end result as in the overall interest of the national ICT development and limit its role to compliance and control.

“Broadband is important for today and the future. Government must continue to encourage the roll-out of fibre optic networks and the last mile copper infrastructure. We need to return to the basis to rebuild our terrestrial fibre and copper infrastructure, which will bring high capacity, cheap and high quality data communications,” he said.

While advocating the independence of industry regulator, he said the regulator must be free of political interference stressing that multiple regulation is the bane of growth and government must continue to provide the right regulatory and policy environment without criss-cross between various arms of Government.

Mr. Adebayo identified the state of access roads, security of existing infrastructure built by private operators, need by government to ring-fence telecommunication infrastructure and classify same as national security infrastructure as some of the challenges facing the sector.

“The impact of inadequate power supply cannot be over-emphasized. Multiple taxation remains a challenge to telecom operations and growth and quality of service is traceable in-part to problems of national infrastructure,” he stated.
On capacity building, he said, it is critical for the sustenance of telecom development, adding that more effort is needed from Government to ensure that the technical manpower requirements for the ICT industry are met.
“This is also traceable to the challenges in our socio-economic environment and the guaranteed minimum quality of lives. The industry is losing a number of highly trained personnel to other countries with less potential, countries with better social security and standard of living and economic values, countries with better healthcare, better education guarantees for their children, better securities of lives and properties, and better quality of living, which leaves a major challenge for the industry,” Adebayo said.

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