NCC, telecoms firms feud over N1.17b fine deepens

NCC, telecoms firms feud over N1.17b fine deepens

THE face-off between the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the GSM operators in the country over the N1.17 billion sanction imposed on them by the regulator on poor services in March and April 2012, entered its first month yesterday without any inkling of possible resolution.

The NCC had on May 10, 2012, communicated the sanction in a letter signed on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, by the Head of Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr. V.A.S. Maska and Director of Legal and Regulatory Service, Josephine Amuwa, to the quartet of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat, for what the commission described as shortcoming of expectation on the key performance indicators set by it and subsequently slammed them with a fine.

They were given until Friday, May 25, 2012, to pay up or face further sanctions in the form of a daily addition of N2.5 million.

The NCC, after a careful analysis of the KPI in relation to the individual performance of the operators, directed the MTN Nigeria Communications and Etisalat to pay N360,000,000 each. Airtel is to pay N270,000,000, while Globacom was levied N180,000,000.

According to the regulator, Paragraph 13 and Schedule 3 Paragraph 2 of the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulation 2012, provided that any company, which contravenes the provision, will be liable to pay a fine of N15,000,000 for each parameter for a service contravened in a particular month, and a further sum of N2,500,000 for each parameter for a service for each day the contravention continued throughout the month that is under investigation.

Thus, 16 days after the expiration period on May 25, investigation by The Guardian revealed that the operators are yet to pay the fine. By so doing, the contravention charges, as at yesterday, hit N160 million for all the affected operators.

One of the operators, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday but wouldn’t want to be quoted, disclosed that he can’t give a specific situation report from the point of the operators on the issue. “I can only say something by tomorrow (today).”

However, Secretary of the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbolahan Awonuga, told The Guardian yesterday that both parties are still meeting on a possible way out of the matter.

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