By Florence Onuegbu
Lagos – The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has commended the President Muhammad Buhari’s administration for a stable policy and regulatory environment in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.
ALTON Chairman, Mr Gbenga Adebayo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos, that the industry’s policies and regulations had been consistent and considerate.
Adebayo said that on the average, the administration had done quite well.
He said that government had taken the issue of multiple taxation seriously and the industry had worked the consistency of taxes.
According to him, there is now clarity on what taxes are applicable to the industry and the Right of Way (RoW) fee meant for federal or local government has been resolved.
“The issue of gross regulation between the industry regulator and other sectors regulators has been resolved.
“We are thankful of government at the highest level. The industry is very appreciative of our responsive regulator.
“We also thank our subscribers on whose account we are here. We will continue to do our best to provide good quality service,” he said.
Adebayo said that ICT remained the key infrastructure on which other infrastructure depended.
He said that therefore the progress made in the ICT sector had impacted positively on the other sectors of the economy.
According to him, measuring the progress of ICT should be related to the progress being made on the other sectors that depend on ICT like the banking and finance, e-commerce, e-government.
He said that it was of great concern that government was looking at ICT as a consolidated industry.
“The problem of access to foreign exchange that we had of late is because we were not classified as one of those critical sectors that require access to foreign exchange.
“A number of our services are denominated in dollars; for example the International Traffic Exchange is denominated in dollars, equipment procurement (hardware and software) are purchased in dollars, maintenance elements are all purchased in dollars.
“So without foreign exchange, it would be very difficult to carry out maintenance in certain regards, it will be very difficult to do system upgrade.
“We have suffered that much because government did not see ICT as a critical sector that needs priority of foreign exchange.
“Government should not look at ICT as one of those sectors that have already fully consolidated. Our needs are ongoing and they will continue to be so,” he said.