NEBPRI urges Buhari, National Assembly to wade into move to auction 5G spectrum licenses
Network for Best Practice and Integrity in Leadership (NEBPRIL), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to wade into surreptitious moves by some top government functionaries to hurriedly license more 5G telecommunications services in the twilight of the current administration.
It said that rather, the government should encourage more competition in the thriving telecommunications industry by urging the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), to introduce and license additional Mobile Virtual Network Operation ( MVNO) services, which has the potential of stimulating increased activity in the sector, especially given its potentials in creating more employment opportunities and wealth in the nation.
According to NEBPRIL, this call became necessary because engaging in such an end-of-tenure bonanza, with a national economic resources in a critical sector such as telecommunications, at a time that the nation is toiling to chart new pathways in non-oil revenue, is self-serving, dubious, unethical and a brazen act of economic sabotage.
NEBPRIL said it had it on good authority that some powerful interests in the corridors of power are currently arm-twisting officials of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), to auction two additional lots of the 3.5 GHz spectrum on 5G services barely eight months after the first auction produced two investor companies at $275m each.
According to NEBPRIL, the regulators had given a timeline of two years before another set of licenses could be issued, in order to have ample time to appraise the services, functionality and safety of the new 5G technology amid remarkable apprehension about safety; and also to give the first investors time to properly roll out and recoup some of their investments.
NEBPRIL, therefore, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, November 20, 2022, by its Chairman, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, the former member of the House of Representatives, wondered what may have necessitated the hurry to ‘give away’ the premium telecom license in a less than transparent manner.
Hon. Ogene said further: “This development is not only insensitive to the investors and would-be investors, it also calls to question the government’s policy on the ease of doing business in Nigeria. Nigeria cannot afford to continue on this path of policy inconsistency, as that would continue to harm the drive to attract more investment into the country. If a regulatory authority has given a timeline of two years before more licenses would be on offer, integrity demands that such a directive is upheld in order to build and retain the confidence of both investors and consumers in the sector.
“We, therefore, call on President Buhari and the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly, to urgently take steps to put a stop to this obvious attempt at official malfeasance in the telecommunications sector, in order to save the nation from further self-serving, national economic harm being orchestrated by some unscrupulous individuals in the corridors of power.”