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|NCC Halts Lagos Levies On Telecom Masts by jidsoon(m): 5:01pm On Jul 30, 2012|
The Lagos State Government has been stopped by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, from imposing annual levy on all existing telecom masts in the state.
The commission is, however, seeking understanding with the state government on fresh plans by the state to regulate Attention of masts and towers.
The commission also asked the state government to put a stop to the sealing off and pulling down of telecoms masts in the name of regulation.
At a stakeholders’ meeting involving the NCC, telecom operators and the Lagos State Government, represented by Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit, UFRU, the Head of Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department, NCC, Maska Ubale, spoke on the implications of imposing annual levy on telecoms masts and the impending danger in sealing off and pulling down masts.
According to him, such action would lead to disruption in telecoms services, since a single Base Transceiver Station (BTS), was connected to over 30 other BTS installed in various locations.
He advised that sealing off and pulling down of masts should be the last resort, after all other measures must have been applied. “Cautions must be taken to avoid regulations that will discourage core investors from investing in telecoms business in the country.
“UFRU should see telecom operators as partners in business and avoid regulation that will hinder their business in the state. UFRU should return all equipment seized from telecoms sites, to enable operators provide better service quality to Nigerians,” he said.
General Manager, UFRU, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, thanked NCC for its intervention and pleaded that dialogue and constructive engagement was the way to go since dialogue is better than monologue.
He said the Lagos State Government is insisting on regulating installation of masts and towers in Lagos in order to save lives and property, saying that “lives have been lost and property worth billions destroyed in the past 12 years and no responsible government will fold its hands in the face of these tragedies. Besides, the indiscriminate installation of these structures tells a big story that there is lack of organisation.
“The Lagos State Government is aware that there are technical specifications from NCC with respect to installation of masts and towers anywhere in Nigeria but there is need for the state to regulate the installation of these structures.
“The builders need construction permit from the state. We need to check the integrity of their structures from time to time, we need to see their maintenance plans, we need to tell them that these structures are not built to last forever, they need to be told that wear and tear can bring down any of the structure, we need to tell them our approved height, we need to know the outcome of the soil test and the strength of the foundation and so on,” he stated.
The NCC, however, agreed that operators should obtain permit and right of way before installing masts in the state, but would seek to avoid the imposition of levy on existing masts and towers in the state.
Telecoms operators present at the meeting, expressed their displeasure over what they said would amount to double regulation, should UFRU insist on carrying out integrity test on all telecoms masts before installation, even after they had passed through the same test with NCC.
They demanded that UFRU should streamline its regulation with that of the Ministry of Town Planning and Local Government Authorities in the state, who are also insisting on telecoms regulation, in order to avoid double regulation.
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