IHS claims $3.5b investment in Nigeria, 25,000 towers in Africa
• Laments pangs of multiple taxation, regulations
Oldest Tower Company in Nigeria, IHS has laid claims to an investment of over $3.5 billion in the country and about 25, 000 towers in Africa.
Established in Nigeria in 2001, the firm said about 66 per cent of the towers is located in the country.Speaking at the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) organized gathering for the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, Managing Director, IHS Nigeria, Rajiv Jaitly, said the firm started maintaining towers (I, 800) including repairs, fuelling and security for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country since 2006.
Jaitly, who disclosed that IHS is the largest TowerCo in EMEA region, said the firm currently has 35, 000 employees in the country, adding that 96 per cent are Nigerians with 82 per cent been less that 40 years old.
According to him, the firm, which earlier this year acquired 1, 211 Helios Towers of Nigeria towers, invested $500 million in 2015 in green energy systems.
With customers including Etisalat, MTN Airtel, Globacom, Swift and Spectranet, among others listed, its other Africa’s footprints too include: Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Zambia and Rwanda.
On the challenges faced in the country, the Managing Director listed the high cost of obtaining approvals (such as Town Planning Permits), from states and local government coupled with long process thereof, thereby delaying rollout of sites to meet proposed quality of service target by MNOs.
According to him, incidence of multiple taxation by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and local governments; incessant lockup/vandalism of sites for frivolous demands by individuals, communities; constant attack on employees of telecoms companies by militants and communities at the sites have become very rampant leading to a shortage in revenue.
To guard against incessant acts of vandalism and protect the industry, Jaitly said there is urgent need to pass into law the Critical National Infrastructure Bill in order to protect the Base Transceiver Stations from arbitrary site lock up and vandalism; implementation of the National Economic Council’s Resolution on Multiple Taxation, Levies and Charges on ICT infrastructure in Nigeria of March 21, 2013.
He also stressed the importance of implementing the Smart State Initiative in all the states of the Federation in order to create sanity and properly streamline fees and levies chargeable from states.
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