By ADEDEJI ADEYEMI FAKOREDE
THE Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, has called on the three tiers of government to adhere to the National Economic Council’s (NEC) resolution on the right of way which explains taxes to be charged telecommunication operators in the country.
Meanwhile, Minister of Communication Technology, Adebayo Shittu, has called on the commission to urgently address the high rate of drop calls and unsolicited massages by telecom operators so that Nigerians would not see them as failures that are not capable of protecting their interests.
Speaking when the Minister visited the commission in Abuja, Danbatta lamented that telecom operators are subjected to indiscriminate regime of taxes adding that getting approvals for right of way especially from state and local governments is a major challenge
He said: “Regime of taxes that are allowed to apply to operators in the event that operators want to extend services to areas without no service. You find state, local and federal government charging different extremely high rates and in some instance you find even area boys forcefully subjecting operators to pay and is a menace. My appeal is that the Minister of communication should work hand in hand with the commission to ensure adherence to the provision of NEC on right of way”.
Danbatta said that the commission had been directing operators to ensure compliance to standard to not only on drop calls but other parameters adding that the issue of drop calls and unsolicited messages was one important regulatory responsibility that the commission is handling.
“On unsolicited text messages, one important regulatory measure we have already put in place is that henceforth, from July 20 all text message must have a ‘Do not disturb provision which consumers can opt into. This is going to apply to all consumers. If this is not adhere to, there will be consequences and the fine is about N10 million for non adherence”, he added.
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He the listed poor electricity supply as one of challenges facing the telecom industry adding there is need for improvement of power supply which is an important matter.
Responding, the Minister told the NCC boss that Nigerians are complaining about the huge number of unsolicited massages and calls that they are being bombarded with on daily basis.
He said “It must also be noted that Nigerians are complaining, even me as the Minister of Communications I receive unsolicited messages and calls and you complain they will ask you to press something to discontinue and even when you do that, they will still continue to charge you which is very wrong. Also the issue of dropped calls is still very rampant across the country and nobody is excluded from this. We must do something to stop this because if do not, the Nigerian people will see us as failure who are not capable of protecting their interests”.
The minister commended NCC for all projects they are doing all over the federation and for ensuring standard by remaining focused in its mandate despite the fact that the commission does not have a board at the moment.
“The EVC is able to manage it resources without being extravagant in its spending, this quite commendable. Another area that I believe NCC should look into is the issue of poverty alleviation because there is so much poverty in the land”, Danbatta added.