By MARTIN EKPEKE
The Nigerian Communications Commission has said a one-stop permit center proposal for getting approval to build telecom infrastructures across the country is not feasible for now, stating they cannot discontinue regulations, and there are jurisdictions. The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has sought for the need for a single-place approach for getting all the necessary permits for installation of telecoms towers and other infrastructures to avoid duplication of charges coming from government agencies.
This follows ALTON’s earlier condemnation of the role played by the National Environmental Standards Regulatory Enforcement Agency in the telecoms sector in recent times, where the agency shut down telecoms base stations, causing face-off between it and the NCC while denying telecoms subscribers access to good services due to network disruption.
But speaking at an ICT session during a conference organised by the Nigerian bar Association in Lagos recently, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah who was represented by the Assistant Director, Legal and Regulatory department of the Commission, Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye said since telecoms focuses more on physical infrastructure which could attract other government regulatory agencies, the idea may be difficult to create.
“Telecom infrastructures are often physical equipments whose impacts flood all aspects of our life and there are agencies that regulate activities in those other sectors, just as we regulate in the telecom sector. Section 135 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 also stipulates that licensees are mandated that necessary approvals are taken from different levels of government as may be required.” She added.
He used the opportunity to emphasize that the Commission will continue to collaborate with necessary agencies to ensure that other agencies’ activities do not affect telecoms expansion, and added that efforts are being made at ministerial levels to address areas of disagreement and inconsistencies between the technical environmental regulations for base stations by the NCC and the NESREA.