By Henry Umoru
ABUJA — CHAIRMAN, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Gil Emeka Nnaji, PDP, Enugu-East has warned providers of Global System for Mobile Telecommunications, GSM, to improve on their services to Nigerians or face the risk of being pushed out of the country.
According to Nnaji, the Senate was ready to invoke the necessary legislative provisions to make the GSM operators in Nigeria sensitive to the sufferings of the masses on the poor quality of telecommunication service, rural telephony and fixed lines, adding that if they fail to improve on their services, they should be prepared to leave the Nigerian business environment.
Nnaji, who spoke at the committee’s public hearing on the deteriorating service by GSM providers, described as unacceptable, the claims by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, that of all the telecommunication service providers, it was only the MTN that was presently making profit since commencement of operations in the country.
According to him, Nigerian public deserves nothing short of the best in the area of telecommunications, considering the huge investments the Federal Government had made in the sub-sector, primarily in the aspect of tax holidays upon licence acquisition to enable the operators deploy sufficient infrastructure.
Nnaji noted that the move became imperative following distress calls and messages from Nigerians about the incessant cases of dropped calls, bad network reception, unauthorised deductions of airtime.
According to him, “the Senate as a responsive and socially-responsible institution, after series of interactive sessions towards addressing the lingering public outcry, subsequently decided to ascertain the level of culpability or otherwise of these network service providers on these issues with a view to advising the plenary appropriately.”
A statement by Egbo Mon-Charles, Legislative Officer, Public Relations to Senator Nnaji, said the NCC boss, Dr. Eugene Juwah, in his presentation disclosed that NCC had secured the cooperation of the Federal Capital Territory Administration to provide more telecommunication tower sites in Abuja as part of the perfected plans to boost the quality of service within the FCT and its environs.
He also revealed that based on the records made available to the regulatory body, MTN was the only operator making profit, adding that the absence of commensurate infrastructure to contain the ever-increasing subscriber base and lack of enabling regulations to enforce compliance on the operators, are the major challenges facing NCC in ensuring that the service providers offer Nigerians better quality of service.