Telcos task FG on hitch-free services over Covid-19 crisis
Telecommunication operators under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) at the weekend tasked the Federal Government to ensure hitch-free services in spite of the crisis created by Coronavirus.
It gave the charge after its emergency meeting in which it took far-reaching decisions and recommendations on how best to manage telecoms operations, as long as Coronavirus outbreak may last.
This followed the operator’s concerns about possible economic disruption government’s interventions might cause in its attempt to curtail spread of the deadly virus.
Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, who outlined the effects of Coronavirus that has claimed many lives globally, said the Federal Government might declare partial or complete lockdown of the economy, like other economies of the world.
He argued that closure of schools, suspension of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, placing travel ban on 13 countries, including the United States (U.S.) and United Kingdom (UK), among others, might have far reaching effects on the nation’s economy.
He said the fear of possible lockdown of the economy compelled ALTON to hold an emergency meeting to make recommendations to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and government on how best to ensure hitch-free telecoms services throughout the period of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Head, Corporate and Regulatory Services at Smile Communications, Thomas Gbolahan, joined other telecoms operators to suggest and recommend measures, which formed part of the communiqué at the end of the meeting.
They agreed that all telcos must be committed to increasing their network capacities to enable them to provide quality service throughout the period of dreaded disease.
It recommended that the NCC should facilitate the process of getting approval for Right of Passage (RoP) for all telecoms operators from the Federal and state governments to ensure easy movement, in the event of partial or total meltdown of the economy due to Covid-19.
Members also recommended that NCC should facilitate the process of RoP for logistics companies involved in supplies of goods and services to telecoms operators, to allow free movement in the event of economic interruption resulting from the effects of Coronavirus.
The communiqué added that operators should support government through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives to provide safety materials that could protect the public against the scourge, among other recommendations.
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