Lack of access to foreign exchange is killing telecommunications business in Nigeria and may soon put the sector in serious jeopardy if the Federal Government fails to address the issue, the telecoms operators in the country have cried out.
The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators in Nigeria (ALTON) said the forex scarcity was having adverse effect on network service and also reducing their subscribers’ base.
A new report by the industry’s regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that the telecoms subscribers’ base in the country has been declining in the last few months.
Gbenga Adebayo, the ALTON Chairman, who expressed the association’s concern when he led the representatives of the operators in the country on a visit to the minister of communications Adebayo Shittu in Abuja yesterday, also said the much talked about plan to achieve 30% broadband penetration by 2018 would be a mirage if the government failed to make forex available for the operators to procure equipment for infrastructure.
“We require more base stations, more fibre optic cable infrastructure and other elements to support stable telecom operations. We are still facing a number of problems in particular, on the issues of access to forex which is threating our business. Some of our infrastructure will soon need replacement; we are incapacitated now as we don’t have access to foreign exchange to do this. Also the issue of interference with the smooth operations of telecom services, which require serious intervention of government”, the ALTON Chairman told the minister.