GLOBAL System of Mobile (GSM) telephone users across the country may pay higher tariffs.
This is because the Association of licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has threatened to introduce discriminatory tariffs based on tax regimes and operating environments in different states.
This threat is coming on the heels of the assertion that the Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is growing by 30 per cent, second only to China, according to Prof. Cleopas Angaye, Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Also, the wife of Primate of All Nigeria Church, Anglican Communion, Mrs. Nkasiobi Okoh has called for the Federal Government’s intervention over the poor delivery of telecom services by mobile phone operators.
Chairman of the ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, said that subscribers in states that were hostile to service providers through tax administration would pay more for telecoms services.
“What we are going to do is to adjust the meter so that people making calls from such states pay more than what others are paying,” he said.
Adebayo, who spoke at the weekend in Ilorin, Kwara State, during a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) chapel, condemned the indiscriminate closure of telecom sites and said that operators had decided not to reopen any site closed down by state governments without a court order.
“We are not going to beg them, we are not going to negotiate with them if they decide to close down a site because the operators refuse to pay them,” he added.
Adebayo said there were laws guiding the telecommunications industry regarding the closure of sites.
According to him, before a site could be closed by government, there must be a court order to the effect and a notification to the subscribers that such a disruption of service would happen.
The ALTON boss called on the Federal Government to classify telecommunication facilities as national security infrastructure.
Speaking at the Institute of Software Practitioners Of Nigeria (ISPON) conference on cloud and the future of software in Nigeria held in Tinapa, Cross River State at the weekend, Angaye declared that growth in Nigeria and other countries of the world would push the outsourcing market currently standing at $500 billion to about $1.65-1.8 trillion by 2020.
He said the success in the Nigerian IT sector, which had taken internet penetration to over 45 million users was as a result of the efforts of the government through the agency in partnership with the private sector.
According to him, IT development agencies had a critical role to play in developing this sector of the economy that has a high potential of job creation and revenue generation which will eventually contribute significantly to the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Angaye said NITDA has since inception and by its 2007 Act played a significant role in promoting IT development in the country through the creation of enabling environment, provision of standards and policy guidelines, youth empowerment schemes especially in the areas of software and web technologies.
According to him, the agency has created awareness in the use of IT and Internet among the populace especially among the urban and the rural dwellers through her rural IT programmes.
In view of the importance the Federal Government attaches to Software Development as a key enabler and the bed rock of IT revolution, NITDA set up the National Software Policy Committee (NSPC) with members drawn from a broad spectrum of stakeholders to develop National Software Policy (NSP) as a blueprint aimed at providing a roadmap to make Nigeria a competitive country in the area of software engineering and development.
On the prospects of cloud computing, Angaye noted that the development was quickly taking the IT community by storm as more platforms, applications and services were being developed and some observers believe that cloud computing represented a breakthrough development that has the potential to fundamentally transform the nature of computing.
Mrs. Okoh, who bemoaned the poor telecom services currently being experienced by Nigerians, charged the government to ensure that people got value for their money.
While delivering the Presidential address at the 13th annual conference of Diocesan Women, she remarked that a large number of Nigerians patronize the services of GSM operators, but the rate of failed calls had become embarrassingly alarming.
She said: “With an embarrassing number of failed calls, people don’t get value for the service they pay for, which is not the same thing when you travel out of the country, our people should be up and doing and not take Nigerians for a ride, these people take our money without rendering the services, it has to stop.”
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