BY OMOH GABRIEL, EMEKA AGINAM AND FRANKLIN ALLI, 17 DECEMBER 2013
The Ministry of Communication Technology and the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, yesterday, charged telecoms providers in the country to work hard and improve their service delivery to consumers or risk fines, withdrawal of licences and jail terms of five years.
This is just as the regulatory authority, Nigerian Communi-cations Commission, NCC, has given notice to MTN, GLO, Airtel, Etisalat, Swift Networks, Intercellular, Multi-Links and Visafone of its intention to sanction them for falling below specified Key Performance Indicator, KPI, on quality of service.
At a joint press briefing in Lagos, Mrs. Omobola John, Minister of Communication Technology, said: "NCC has announced, and I repeat here, from December 31 any network operator that does not meet previously agreed targets on quality of service, QOS, indicators will be immediately prevented from further expansion of their subscriber base until further notice.
"In other words, they will not be allowed to sell SIM cards to new subscribers until quality of service targets are met."
According to her, the ministry is aware of the problems the operators have in terms of cost of right of ways, damage to fibre optics and base stations through acts of vandalisms, terrorism and flood, including multiple taxation. Yet these excuses are not valid for short-changing consumers.
"To tackle quality of service issues in the industry, the ministry in partnership with the Ministry of Works developed new Right of Way, ROW, guidelines for Federal Government roads to enable operators have unencumbered means of laying fibre optics, which is critical for infrastructure development and quality of service.
"To remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations that impede telecoms development across the nation, we got state governors and relevant authorities at the state and federal levels to address the issue of multiple taxations and adopt measures that will remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations to enhance service delivery across the nation.
"At a closed-door meeting with Governor Fashola last week, the ministry facilitated a landmark agreement to remove constraints to the installation, rollout and deployment of base stations and fibre optic cable in the state."