By Victor Ahiuma-Young
SENIOR Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC), has kicked against the passage of the N6.1 billion budget for the Nigeria Communications Commission by the House of Representatives for registration of SIM cards in the country, describing the budget as outrageous.
President -General SSACTAC, Comrade Adetunji Adesunkanmi, who on behalf of the union, noted that the union strongly opposed the passage of the budget, arguing that what would be required for the registration of SIM cards would not be more than one_third of the budget.
He maintained that the bill was secretly passed by the lawmakers because they have vested interest in the telecom companies. He said: “The budget is outrageous as one third of the budget will not be expended on the registration of SIM cards of mobile phone subscribers in the country.
This is what we have been saying all along that public office holders are corrupt. The board of director of these companies are the same people in government. There are the shareholders that and have vested interest in the companies,” he said.
He said though the registration of SIM Cards was in the interest of the economy as it would help to track down criminals and terrorist however he maintained that government should have instructed the telecom operators to register SIM cards of subscribers when they commenced operation in the country adding that it would not have amounted to this level.
The labour leader who also raised alarm over the high tariff charged by telecom operators in the country observed that the tariff rate in Nigeria is about the highest in the globe.
He noted that the tariff rate cannot be reduced by fiat or official instruction but by reviving the nation’s national carrier MTEL/NITEL
“The telecommunications sector had experienced enormous growth especially through foreign direct investment. The operations of the operators can still be improved upon especially when the energy sector improves.
“The tariff is one of the highest in the world and still need to be reviewed downwards. The tariff cannot be reduced by fiat or official instruction but by reviving the national carrier i.e NITEL/MTEL that would provide fixed lines as alternative to GSM..
Also, the industrial relations climate in the industry is volatile because workers do not have union protection. High labour turnover is pervasive with so many anti labour practices such as contract staffing and outsourcing are inherent in the sector,” he added.