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ALTON Chairman, Adebayo Says “Telecoms Sector Should Not Be Used As Palliative”

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Gbenga Adebayo Alton

Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has said the telecoms sector should not be a palliative to solve economic woes. He made this call during his address at the Groupe Spécial Mobile Association (GSMA) digital economy report launch which took place in Abuja.

According to Adebayo, the telecom industry faces numerous challenges that hinder its growth and development. He emphasized the need for sustainable investment, effective regulation, and a conducive business environment to drive progress.

The GSMA digital report, launched May 9th, 2024, highlights the telecom’s 8% contribution to Nigeria’s GDP and 13.5% when considering the broader ICT ecosystem. The report also highlights the significant challenges plaguing the industry including investment challenges, right of way, multiple taxation, and regulation.

Adebayo highlighted the existence of over 45 associated charges and levies on operators, despite the supposed removal of right of way costs. He said that it creates an unfavorable business environment, discouraging investment and hindering the industry’s ability to deliver quality services. He also stressed that regulatory interference and the lack of independence for the regulator exacerbate the problem.

The price review should be a simple regulatory process. The public debate this has gained makes it appear the industry is insensitive to people’s concern. While the government tries to provide incentives for the public on account of ongoing macroeconomic headwinds, the telecoms sector should not be used as a palliative to solve the people’s problem. We must price right to sustain the industry; we must price right to have the right investment,” Adebayo said.

He concluded that the industry must be allowed to operate sustainably, with the right investment and regulation, to deliver quality services and drive economic progress; encouraging stakeholders, including policymakers, regulators, and operators, to work together to address the challenges facing the industry in order to drive economic growth, and fulfill its potential as a critical sector in Nigeria’s economy.

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