EoDB: Nigerian telecoms firms may hike tariffs due to inflation ─ALTON

*The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria says its members ‘are concerned that unless there is an intervention to save this sector, operators will have no choice than to begin a process of price review’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In  view of hyperinflation and worsening insecurity of lives and property, including safety of critical telecommunications infrastructure in the West African country, the Nigerian telecoms operators have threatened to effect an upward review of their product and service tariffs.

The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has said it is considering varying tariffs to some of unfriendly telecommunications states in order to accommodate their demands.

Nigerian telecoms consumers

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of ALTON, who revealed this development to reporters  Thursday, March 31, 2021, in Lagos, stated that the high cost of energy and insecurity of telecoms workers are seriously hampering the Telcos’ operations in Nigeria.

The ALTON Chairman said: “We are concerned that unless there is an intervention to save this sector, operators will have no choice than to begin a process of price review.

“Operators are very concerned about the rising cost of diesel and its implications on the general cost of business.”

Engr. Adebayo also noted  that the government needed to do a lot more to keep the country and telecoms workers safe.

He further said: “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.”

In respect of development in Kogi State, ALTON stated that it was concerned about the shutting down of telecommunications facilities in the state over disputes arising from unusual taxes and levies demanded by Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).

“The action by KIRS was hinged on an ex-parte court order obtained by the KIRS over unsubstantiated allegations that our members are in default of tax payments to the state government, which is not the truth,” said he.

According to him, operators have been denied access to critical telecoms sites.

He “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: Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Niger.These are states sharing borders with Kogi,” he said.

Adebayo 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.

He said the situation had resulted in the outage of over 70 sites across parts of Kogi State.

The ALTON Chairman added: “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.”

Likewise, on the degrading quality of service (QoS) in Abuja, FCT, Adebayo stated: “The 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.

Adebayo said that the refusal was affecting the quality of services around FCT and Abuja.

He, therefore, urged the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to prevail on the FCDA in granting approval/permit to its members to deploy infrastructure.

“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 order to accommodate their demand.”

Adebayo added: “We want to be clear and state categorically that the action by Kogi and FCDA will jeopardise communication services provided by our members to Nigerian subscribers.”

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