Telecoms operators lament impact of current forex regime on operations
NCC, CBN get reprieve for Etisalat
Telecoms operators have appealed to the Federal Government to make the current foreign exchange regime flexible for their operations. Specifically, the operators under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), said the exemption of telecommunications equipment and services from items to be accorded priority in the allocation of foreign exchange by banks has adversely impacted their operations.
The challenges encountered by operators in securing required foreign exchange is limiting the deployment of pervasive broadband network nationwide and has threatened the country’s prime position, as the largest telecommunications market in Africa ahead of South Africa in terms of subscriber base.
According to a document made available to The Guardian yesterday, the Association, chaired by Gbenga Adebayo, noted that telecommunications service providers are similar to manufacturing firms and deserve to be treated in the same manner.
ALTON said the core network equipment and other auxiliary equipment procured for providing voice and data services are equivalent to plant and machinery acquired by the manufacturing firms for the production of goods and services in the country.
Meanwhile, reprieve came for Mobile Network Operator, Etisalat following a meeting convened by CBN and NCC to find a quick resolution to the loan default crisis facing the company.
The meeting, which held on Friday succeeded in halting the attempt by Etisalat’s creditors at bringing it under any form of take over. Receivership was completely ruled out. A meeting will hold on March 16 to agree on a payment restructuring plan.The NCC will lead the CBN in a possible crucial meeting with Etisalat’s shareholders anytime soon.