Globacom, others to meet NCAA over disputed masts

Telecommunications companies have bowed to threat from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) after the aviation agency doubled down on its threat to demolish 8,805 masts, most of which belong to Globacom and eight tier-one banks.

According to media reports, the network operators and financial services will be meeting with the NCAA today, Friday, to review the Aviation Height Clearance requirement as well as proffer solutions to the issue.

However, despite the commencement of consultation, the regulatory agency isn’t ruling out the demolition of the masts.

Recall that the NCAA announced that it will begin demolishing masts and high structures belonging to telecoms firms and commercial banks with immediate effect, after the 30-day ultimatum given to secure the Aviation Height Clearance approval for every tower installation in the country elapsed.

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The telecom operators had resisted the threat, accusing the NCAA of extortion. They also threatened not to rebuild the masts if they eventually get demolished. They also warned that the impact will cut across sectors.

ALTON accused NCAA of trying to enforce a new tax on telecoms operators by threatening to demolish their masts if AHC is not obtained. The association’s grievance is that despite the multiple taxations already imposed on telcos, regulators are weighing other methods of taxing the network operators more.

It should be recollected that the NCAA regulations stipulated that no person or organisation should put up a structure (permanent or temporary) within the navigable airspace of Nigeria unless such a person or organisation is a holder of the Aviation Height Clearance.

The companies affected are: Globalcom which has 7,012 masts; UBA with 439 masts; GTB has 295 masts; United Bank- 217 masts; Sterling Bank- 159 masts; Union Bank—92 masts; FCMB—205 masts; Fidelity Bank—83 masts and Access Bank with 303 masts