The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that the commission is doing all within its power to resolve the N165 billion interconnectivity debts, so as to avert another major debt crisis in the industry.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, the commission is concerned with how to resolve the issue and recently a meeting was held to proffer some long lasting solutions to the issue of interconnectivity debts.
The EVC spoke at the NCC Headquarters, Abuja, while granting audience to the newly elected Executive Members of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) led by its President, Mr Olusola Teniola.
He also complained that the debts is causing a lot of unnecessary distractions for the commission.
Therefore the action of the regulatory body became necessary given the concerns raised by stakeholders regarding the way and manner the debt was piling up and its negative impacts on the industry, as well as the lukewarm attitude of the debtors in paying their debts.
“And recently a meeting was held to proffer some long lasting solutions to the issue of interconnectivity debts”, Danbatta said.
He also stated that NCC intervened by conveying a meeting of stakeholders as a pragmatic approach towards addressing the problem, adding that a time frame had been given for “those owing to start paying and those being owed to start receiving what is due them.
“We mediated in terms of what the Act empowers the commission to do in times of crisis like this. There is a debt crisis in the industry, but it is being managed very well.
“I think a deadline has been given, mid-July for payment plans and I think this is pragmatic in order to ensure that those that are owing start paying and those that are being owed start receiving what is due them”, Danbatta stated.
Speaking further, he said the commission will welcome an approach from Association of Telecommunication Company of Nigeria (ATCON) to resolve the problem.
“The commission will appreciate an approach from ATCON to address the issue before it grows beyond what it is”, he noted.
Moreso, Danbatta also said the present administration is leaving no stone unturned on the issue of right of way (RoW) and the deployment of broadband infrastructures across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, regretting that up till now, the charges being slammed on service providers in the states are not consistent with the Nigerian Economic Council (NEC) document.
He urged the states to comply with the agreed N145 per metre length of fibre deployment in states as against the N8,000 and N9,000 being charged at the moment, saying should the state governors comply with the content of the document, it would also lead to transformation in all sectors of the states’ economy.
Danbatta who said the country has achieved 22 per cent broadband penetration against the 30 per cent being targeted by the end of the year, noted that NEC, under the leadership Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is working towards additional 18 per cent broadband penetration as part of the administration’s industrial policy and competitiveness to transform the nation’s economy