The Nigerian Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has revealed that due to the rising costs of doing business in Nigeria and other issues, it is considering an upward review of tariffs.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Chairman of ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, in an interview with newsmen on Thursday evening, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
They added that unless there is an intervention to save this sector, operators will have no choice but to begin a process of price review and also warns of telecoms blackouts due to tax disputes with the Kogi State government.
What they are saying
It warned about the high costs of doing business, cost of energy and security of telecom workers were hampering its operations.
The ALTON chairman said, “Operators are very concerned about the rising cost of diesel and its implications on the general cost of business.
“We reaffirm our commitment to working with the security agencies in order to get necessary support for national security.
“We now need protection from sub-national government and agencies to stop the interference of smooth operations of telecom services.”
ALTON also highlighted increased anti-business activities by the Kogi State government, shutting down its facilities over tax disputes with the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS). It stated that the action by KIRS was hinged on an ex-parte court order obtained by the KIRS over unsubstantiated allegations that its members are in default of tax payments to the state government, which ALTON says is not true.
“This issue is likely to lead to a total communications blackout in the entire Kogi state, parts of Abuja and possibly impact on service availability in some parts of the following states: Nassarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Niger. These are states sharing borders with Kogi,” citing that its associated members have difficulties refueling stations and services,” Adebayo said.
Adebayo also said that as a result of these actions by the state government, its members were unable to refuel the power generators nor provide any support or maintenance services in the sites.
“The impact of these outages will gradually spread to the states mentioned above and if no action is taken within the next few days, a total outage of telecommunication sites in all these states will be catastrophically experienced.
“To the best of our knowledge, our members have settled all statutory levies and taxes due to the Kogi government and have taken necessary steps to comply with local laws that govern business activities within the state,” he warned
He also warned that Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Directorate for Signage and Advertisement, has refused to grant telecommunication service providers permit to build infrastructure in the Federal Capital City, which also affects service delivery, and urged the Federal Executive Council to intervene on behalf of the FCDA in granting permits for infrastructure upgrade.
“ALTON and its members will no longer tolerate discriminatory charges against the sector.
”The industry is planning to begin a study on varying tariffs to some of the unfriendly telecommunications states in other to accommodate their demand
“We want to be clear and state categorically that the action by Kogi and FCDA will jeopardize communication services provided by our members to Nigerian subscribers,” he said.