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Telecom Operators Confirm Seeking FG’s Nod To Raise Tariffs

Telecommunications operators (telcos) in Nigeria have confirmed seeking approval from the federal government to increase call and data tariffs.

Daily Trust had reported on Thursday that the telcos were asking the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to allow them to increase telecom services’ rates by 10 or 15 per cent. 

Sources within the NCC and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy had told our reporter on Wednesday that they indeed received “earnest” pleas from the telcos to raise tariffs. 

Confirming this on Sunday, the joint spokesman of the telcos, Engr Gbenga Adebayo, said high operating costs were stifling the operations of the telcos and therefore that they were seeking government’s approval to raise call and data rates to survive.

Adebayo, who is the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said Nigeria’s telecom industry might not survive if tariffs were left the way they were currently.

He said, “Current pricing regime is not sustainable in the face of high operating costs.”

However, a source within the NCC said there were “ongoing considerations and discussions to see how the increase will not affect poor Nigerians too much.”

Another source at NCC said, “Our boss has already told them that they (telcos) will have to justify why they want to increase tariffs before we can listen to them.”

Meanwhile, speaking with Daily Trust on Sunday via phone, the President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo said the association would resist any attempt by the telcos to review the tariffs upward.

Ogunbanjo said, “Telecom services are poor Nigerians’ lifeline; any attempt to increase tariffs now will amount to killing Nigerians economically and we will resist it with all legal means.”

He claimed that the telcos had nothing to justify any increment as the government had already looked into their complaints of high duties, forex scarcity and others.

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