ALTON urges CBN to prioritize allocation of Forex to Telcos

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators (ALTON)

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has drawn the attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to the challenges its members are having in purchasing foreign exchange (FX) from interbank market to fulfill obligations to equipment suppliers and foreign vendors.

The situation, according to a statement signed by Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of the Association, is adversely impacting its members’ network operations and would appreciate the Commission’s urgent assistance.

“The prevailing scarcity of FX has occasioned a situation where the Banks are unable to obtain FX for an upward period of six months despite the submission of pre-requisite documentation for such transactions.”

ALTON is seeking the indulgence of the EVC to provide background information resulting to the subsisting regime of exempting telecommunications industry from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention window.

ALTON stated that telecommunications service providers are similar to manufacturing firms and deserve to be treated in the same manner.

The core network equipment and other auxiliary equipment procured for providing voice and data services are equivalent to plant and machinery acquired by the manufacturing firms for the production of goods and services in the country.

In addition, telecommunications sector is termed “infrastructure of infrastructures” and Social Overhead Capital which propels productivity in other sectors of the economy.

The multiplier effects of efficient and reliable telecommunications services on other spheres of the economy, such as banking, aviation and hospitality cannot be overemphasized.

ALTON is of the opinion that telecommunications sector deserves to be supported through direct FX allocation from the CBN interventions.

This will facilitate the deployment of pervasive broadband network nationwide and ensure that the country retains its prime position, as the largest telecommunications market in Africa ahead of South Africa in terms of subscriber base.

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