By Emmanuel Elebeke
Rising from its annual general meeting at the weekend, the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) elected a new leadership to stir its affairs for the next two years. The group also used the medium to call on the government at all levels to abolish all forms of multiple taxation on telecom operators in the country.
The ATCON members deplored the insensitivity of various governments in Nigeria over what it called multiple and illegal collections imposed on their members by government agencies, describing it as a major setback to the development of the industry.
They argued that for the sector to grow and experience genuine revolution, government must be seen at providing the enabling environment for the operators to deliver quality and good services to the people, and called on government to abide by the rule of law in its dealings with operators by obeying the February 2007 judgement of theÂ Abuja federal High court which abolishedÂ multiple taxation.
In an election organized under a free and faire atmosphere, under the Chairmanship of Engr. George Bakare the group electedÂ new executives to lead the association for a term of two years.
The newly elected executives include: the National president, Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu; Ist Vice President, Engr. Gerry Ekesiani and the 2nd Vice President, Adewale Jones among others.
Meanwhile, the ATCON members also used the opportunity to review the ongoing demolition of telecom masts across the country by some state governments and called for caution, saying that such acts was capable lowering the speed at which operators are operating in the country.
In his speech, the outgoing President of the association, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem who expressed displeasure on the attitude of government on demolition of masts, urged the government to stop such trends so as not to discourage the operators, and attributed the increasing number of telecom masts across the country to non-sharing of telecom infrastructure by the operator.
As a way of averting similar occurrence, Ekuwem advised members of the association to collocate their telecom infrastructure toÂ reduce the incidence of mast demolition.
â€œWe must be proactive and communicate tegether for us to succeed. Strategic engagement of government, regulator, consumers and our members is also critical for the development of the industry,â€ he stated.
In his submission, the former Ist Vise president of the association, Engr. Adebayo Banjo described vandalization ofÂ telecom infrastructure in the country as an incurable disease that can not be left in the hand of government alone.
He then tasked the operators to come up with innovative ways that could help them get out of attacks on their cell sites.
On poor quality of service, Banjo said the press remains the only veritable medium that could put stakeholders on their toes to deliver quality service to the people. He therefore, charged the Nigerian media to shun sentiment in their reporting and be objective in their duty.
The outgoing President, Dr. Ekewem while delivering his fair well message thanked members of the association for their support and prayed them to extend same support to the in-coming executives and assured his total support to the new leadership.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected President, Engr.Titi Omo-Ettu expressed gratitude to the members for the honour done him and promised to carry on with the good ideals and goals of the association. He also pledged the commitment of his administration to make the interest of the members paramount in the process of decision making.
â€œWe will work in line with the way the association want us to go. That we shall do. What is paramount in my mind is that the process of taking decision must be democratic,â€he promised.