National Assembly, NASS and State Governors have been accused of hindering infrastructural growth in the Information and Communication Technology sector through their obnoxious policies and frivolous demands.
The allegations were made in Abuja yesterday by the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, Eugene Juwah.
Fielding questions from pressmen on the challenges faced by mobile phone subscribers, he said the NASS and the governors have not helped to drive the provision of quality infrastructure in the industry.
Represented by the commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, he said “the issue of quality of service is infrastructure. The infrastructure we have is inadequate to cope with the capacity of demands we have.
“The reason can be traced to 2001. We had an incumbent that was at 2001 already moribund. In other countries where you have had liberalisation, the infrastructure on ground are what the incoming operators lashed upon to provide services. So as at 2001, we were at ground zero. That effect has been there even till now, in terms of putting enough infrastructure on ground to cope with demands.”
Ojobo said the role of the National Assembly and that of state governments have not encouraged even service providers who are ready to invest in infrastructure:
“We have had challenges with the acquisition of base site to setup base stations and power. It will interest you to know that for Federal Capital Territory, FCT, for instance, there was no approval for any new base station in the past four years not until recently,” he said.
On the importance of the critical infrastructure bill, Ojobo said it cannot be downplayed as he lamented that since it was submitted to the National Assembly, it had be discarded.
“In the National Assembly, we have been there before our committees and no permission has been given for setting up of new base stations in the past five years.
“You go to the states; we have the challenges of multiple taxations, acquiring sites and paying communities, local governments and states authorities which slows down the deployment of necessary infrastructure,” he said.
Ojobo, however, said the only way to address the challenge of quality of service is to “make sure you have in place perfect infrastructures, so that wherever you are, you are covered.”
He said the commission has begun to engage the governors in the form of advocacy on friendly taxation, starting from Lagos State which has slashed the cost of right-of-way to about 50 percent and a few states complying and others are not buying the idea.
According to him, the National Economic Council, NEC, came up with a document that will address the challenges the states presented, but some of the governors have refused to sign it.
“The issue now is the governors are not signing. Every state needs to come on board to sign the document to make things easy,” he said.
He however assured subscribers that despite the challenges, the commission has continued to make progress which is reflected in the EVC’s earlier presentation, where he stated that the commission has grown in leaps and bounds over the last four years.
According to him, “our industry statistics as at February 2015 shows the country’s Active Voice Subscriber Base of about 142.5 million; a tele-density of about 101.8 percent; about 83.2 million Internet subscribers, Internet penetration of about 59.4 percent; Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, of about $32billion, and the telecoms industry contributes about nine percent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP,” he said.

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