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Telcos lament high operational cost, seek FG’s intervention

Telecommunication providers under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria have said the rising cost of diesel has impacted negatively on their operational costs and that they are set to approach the Federal Government for special interventions.

The President of ALTON, Mr Gbenga Adebayo, disclosed this during a press conference on Thursday. According to him, network planning, operational expense, and projection plans for telcos are based on diesel prices.

He added that the industry was worried about how the rising cost of diesel would further drive the high cost of business.

He stated that there was a need for an intervention to save the sector, or operators might have no other choice but to begin a process of price review.

He said, “Diesel is now very expensive, from N250 to over N700. All network planning, operational expenses, and planned projection for the year is based on the fact diesel prices. This has increased. Today, you know the implication of that. This is one problem; cost has gone up.”

Adebayo added that telcos are also struggling with the availability of diesel and the logistics of delivering it to sites. He concluded, “We will be approaching the government for some form of intervention. But we are mindful of the high cost of living, and the implication of this on the economy and citizens. And so, we are not going to talk about direct price increases.

“But we will be approaching the government for some kind of intervention to cushion the effect of these changes on us as an industry.”

However, he stated that if network providers are unable to get any form of intervention from the government, they would approach the regulator to push for realistic pricing, which would reflect the dynamics and reality of the business climate.

Meanwhile, Adebayo added that the association and its members could no longer tolerate the actions against telecommunication service delivery by some states such as Kogi and FCT in the nation.

According to him, ALTON and its members are giving a seven-day ultimatum for a return to status quo, or proceed to force the government to act.

He said, “We are saying that if the government does not do something in the next seven days, we may have to call on our members to take action that would force the government to do something.

“We are not going to power down the national network. So, it is not a threat to shut down the network site of the nation. But we would be left with no other option but to seek government intervention at higher levels to do whatever is possible to compel the government of Kogi and FCT to do something.”

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