Association wants protection for small ICT companies

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Lagos- The Association of Telecommunications Companies of (ATCON) on Saturday called for protection of small and medium indigenous enterprises.

The of ATCON, Mr Lanre Ajayi, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He said that many small and medium enterprises in the ICT industry had gone under in the past years.

Ajayi said that threats to the surviving ones might eventually lead to their death if nothing done.

He said that the association would hold a session to articulate the threats and challenges to the industry with a view to presenting a well articulated document to the government on ways forward.

According to him, the association has to rise to the occasion and the only way to address those challenges is to push for a strong policy and stronger regulation for the industry.

”Many companies are having challenges; even the big ones. Everybody is expressing concern that the environment is becoming volatile.

”There is unfair competition from foreign players which is unfavourable to the indigenous small ICT companies,” he said.

Ajayi lamented a situation whereby big operators, who offered wholesale services, were also competing with the small and medium operators at the retail level.

He gave an instance of some cable companies that sold bandwidths to Service Providers (ISPs) and at the same were selling megabytes directly to consumers.

According to him, the cable companies even sell at prices at which retailers cannot compete.

The ATCON President said that these small and medium indigenous ICT companies were the ones providing jobs and adding value to the economy, hence, the government must ensure their protection.

He called for a level playing field for local and foreign companies in the industry to survive.

”While ATCON is not against foreign players coming to the industry, the government must put in place policies that would ensure their do not strangulate local operators,” he said. (NAN)