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‘Dollar payment demand by foreign-owned operators killing local telecoms players’

By Adeyemi Adepetun
07 September 2022   |   4:12 am
Insistence on payment in dollar and other hard currencies by foreign telecommunications operators is said to be stifling the growth of smaller and indigenous players.

REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Insistence on payment in dollar and other hard currencies by foreign telecommunications operators is said to be stifling the growth of smaller and indigenous players.

Telecoms lawyer, Ayoola Oke, who disclosed this, urged the Federal Government and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to reject the practice.

Oke, in a statement, said that the ongoing resolution between NCC and the telecoms players should comply with Section 15 of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act that makes naira the exclusive means of payment in the country.

The lawyer recalled that recently the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, in his frantic effort to shore up the value of the naira, issued a statement reminding Nigerians that it is a criminal offence to refuse naira payment for transactions in Nigeria.

According to him, the problem of the Nigerian economy is that naira will continue to bleed its value if dollarisation is not resisted.

Oke cited an instance where foreign-owned entities, which can collect revenue in dollars, would evade CBN control of repatriation of dollars out of the country.

He added that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) may also find it more challenging to monitor the revenue of such companies and tax them appropriately.

“I am aware of a confusion on a matter whereby the MTN and some major foreign-owned operators are demanding payment in dollars. I believe the NCC is looking into it to resolve it.

“The consultation between NCC and some smaller operators is ongoing and my position is that any resolution should comply with Section 15 of the CBN Act that makes naira the exclusive means of payment in and within Nigeria and between any two Nigerian companies.

Oke urged Nigerians to join hands to save the naira by not subrogating it with any foreign currency.

He, therefore, suggested that NCC should step in to reserve a minimum of 30 per cent of in and out-bound international traffic for routing through smaller locally-owned companies.

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