By Juliet Umeh
The draft document on the Executive Order protecting telecommunications infrastructure across the country has been reviewed by the relevant authorities and is awaiting presidential assent.
This was revealed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami at a virtual sectoral forum, organized by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON.
The forum tagged: ‘Meeting the interests of Government, Consumers and Telecoms and ICT Companies in the era of COVID19 and post COVID19 pandemic
for digital economy development, was aimed at finding a mutually beneficial common ground for all stakeholders and interest groups in the sector.
Pantami said that protection of consumers’ interest was of greatest priority to the government especially those who are struggling.
He said: “The Ministry is currently working on a policy that will reinforce existing Executive Orders 003 and 005 to ensure that priority is given to indigenous manpower and expertise.
“In the Ministry, we always try to strike a balance by protecting the interest of consumers and citizens on one hand and the telecoms companies on the other,” Pantami said.
In order to create an enabling environment for both investors and consumers, the Federal Government has intervened by enacting policies to protect telecommunications infrastructure, review the cost of Right of Way, RoW, to the barest minimum and also put measures in place to eradicate illegal or multiple taxation.
He further emphasized that “the consumer is king and they must be consulted and their rights protected.”
In his response, the President of ATCON, Olusola Teniola praised the Minister for his unprecedented interventions in every issue that has hitherto plagued and constituted a setback to the sector.
He expressed optimism that with Pantami’s interventions and support, the challenges of Quality of Service, price of data and broadband penetration will improve considerably.
He pledged the association’s support to the initiatives and strategies of the Honourable Minister in ensuring that the industry operates in line with global best practice.