Operators want Lagos to slash telecoms levies by 60%
ATCON claims voice revenue growth slows
To improve on infrastructure rollouts in Lagos and other parts of the country, telecommunications operators have called for a further downward review in the levies being charged.
Speaking under the aegis of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the players said the current economic situation in the country demands a further downward review by about 60 per cent of the several levies imposed on operators by government and their agencies.
ATCON President, Olushola Teniola, who led the National Executive Committee members to the Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Authority (LASIMIRA), expressed concerns over growing challenges members are currently facing.
Teniola expressed delight over the positive development in the telecommunications industry, which has been identified as the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy and which currently contributes over eight per cent to the nation’s GDP.
According to him, this success is not without the slash in telecommunications levies by over 40 per cent and charges on right of ways 90 per cent, which has been championed in the state, by LASIMRA, “we are pleased to report some sort of relief to our members that are operating in Lagos State.”
Inspite of what Teniola termed positive developments; he posited that association has some concerns, as per the growth of the industry.The ATCON boss said the unstable foreign exchange rates in the country are making business difficult for players in the industry. According to him, the free fall of Naira against Dollar has constituted a serious source of worry to the sector and as a matter of fact, members of ATCON have tried to make sure that Lagosians and Nigerians as a whole have access to qualitative communications service but the continuous depreciation of the Naira is not encouraging from a CAPEX roll out perspective.
Teniola revealed that revenue derived from voice is seriously being challenged, adding that to worsen the situation, the telecommunication companies are barely making any money from voice (due to ARPU rates dropping considerably).
He stressed that the direct implication of this was that the revenue that is generated from data is now being challenged by the cost of operating the business which is increasing on a daily basis and may lead to laying off (of further) staff.
Speaking on the Unified Duct System proposal, the ATCON President said, “Nervousness about the implications of the introduction of this system in place of RoW and work already achieved in setting a N500/ linear meter rate with Lagos State Government. Our members would like to be fully engaged in the process to avoid prohibitive charges creeping back in!
“Generally, our request is for a further slash in telecoms levies by over 60 per cent and charges on rights of ways by 95 per cent. This would enable our members to build more base stations and accelerate the roll out of much needed fibre (ICT passive infrastructure) for the good of all Lagosians and by extension, Nigerians.”
According to him, the core objective of ATCON is to help create the right enabling environment for member companies to do their business in Nigeria. This is being done through policy advocacy.
He said this entails engagement with government organisations like the National Assembly, Ministry of Communications and (MDA(s) such as LASIMRA; particularly during policy formulation and during legislative processes.
Teniola said human capital development is another area, stressing that ATCON believes that the strength of an industry lies in the capacity of the workforce within that industry.