The Speech of the President of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Olusola Teniola, on the occasion of ATCON NEC’s visit to the Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Authority (LASIMIRA) on Thursday, June 9, 2016.
I would like to thank the General Manager/ Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency for creating the opportunity for the National Executive Council of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria to meet with the management of LASIMRA.
The core objective of ATCON is to help create the right enabling environment for member companies to do their business in Nigeria.
We do this through various means including:
1. Policy advocacy – This entails engagement with Government organs like the National Assembly, Ministry of Communications and (MDA(s) such as LASIMRA; particularly during policy formulation and during legislative processes. We are proud to have contributed substantially to the development of most policies and laws that guide the operation of Telecommunication Services rendered in Nigeria today.
2. Human capital development – ATCON believes that the strength of an industry lies in the capacity of the workforce within that industry. We have constantly embarked on several Training programs that have substantially raised the competence of professionals within the industry.
3. Other Capacity development programs – ATCON is known to organise regular conferences, seminars and workshops. Our flagship event is the Telecoms Executives and Regulator Forum where top management of our member companies and top management of the regulator (including the EVC of the NCC) meet and deliberate on contemporary issues affecting the industry.
4. Telecoms Industry Advisory Council – A telecoms Industry Advisory Council was inaugurated on October 28, 2015 with membership including all past ministers of communications, and eminent contributors to the industry over the decades
Concerns and Recommendations
We would like to express our delight over the positive development in our industry, which has been identified as the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy and which presently contributes more than 8% to the nation’s GDP.
This success is not without the slash in telecoms levies by over 40 percent and charges on right of ways 90 percent which your organisation, LASIMRA supported and we are pleased to report some sort of relief to our members that are operating in Lagos State.
We also want to appreciate the professional way in which LASIMRA has been regulating the industry. We thank the LASIMRA for being steadfast and being professional. We particularly thank the new management of LASIMRA for sustaining the tradition of excellence in the organisation.
Inspite of these positive developments, our association has some concerns, some of which are listed below:
1. Unstable Foreign Exchange Rates- The free fall of Naira against Dollar has constituted a serious source of worry to our sector and as a matter of fact our member companies have tried to make sure that Lagosians and Nigerians as a whole have access to qualitative communications service but the continuous depreciation of the Naira is not encouraging from a CAPEX roll out perspective
2. Revenue Derived from Voice is seriously being challenged – To worsen the situation we are as an industry, the telecommunication companies are barely making any money from voice (due to ARPU rates dropping considerably) and the direct implication of this is that the revenue that is generated from data is now being challenged by the cost of operating the business which is increasing on a daily basis and may lead to laying off (of further) staff
3. Unified Duct System proposal – nervousness about the implications of the introduction of this system in place of RoW and work already achieved in setting a NGN500 / linear meter rate with Lagos State Government. Our members would like to be fully engaged in the process to avoid prohibitive charges creeping back in!
Generally, our request is for a further slash in telecoms levies by over 60 percent and charges on rights of ways by 95 percent. This would enable our members to build more base stations and accelerate the roll out of much needed fibre (ICT passive infrastructure) for the good of all Lagosians and by extension, Nigerians.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Mr. Olusola Teniola
National President, ATCON