BUJA, May 16, (THEWILL) – The Senate on Wednesday directed the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) to recover a fine of more than N1.17b imposed on telecommunications firms, MTN, Etisalat, Airtel and Globacom for their poor services.
Also, the NCC, which had proposed a budget of N48.8b for the 2012 fiscal year, demanded a budget of N2b to monitor the quality of service rendered by the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications providers within this year alone.
MTN and Etisalat are expected to pay a fine of N360m each while Airtel and Globacom will pay N270m and N180m respectively.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, at a budget defence meeting with NCC, expressed worries over the delay in the collection of the N1.1b fine.
Meanwhile NCC’s vice chairman, Mr. Eugen Juwa has insisted that the sanctions remain, assuring the senate committee that the commission is now in a position to commence the recovery of the fines.
He explained that the delay in the recovery of the fine was due to the absence of a piece of legislation that would empower it to do so. He also disclosed that the commission had, in fact, wanted to sanction the providers last December were it for its statutory incapacitation.
“The regulatory power we have was just gazetted in February. If you sanction the service providers, they will take you to court and the action will become null and void. So we are on a very solid footing to sanction them now and we are now waiting for them to pay us. They have written to us asking for a meeting but the sanction still stays,” he added.
Senator Nnaji had earlier in his opening speech informed the NCC boss and his team of the Senate’s unhappiness with the quality of services offered by the GSM providers.
“This has attracted the attention of the Senate and our committee has been mandated to investigate the effectiveness of the services provided by the GSM operators in order to get to the root of the recurring problem of poor quality of services,” he said.
He went on to say that aside the public hearing that it had been mandated to conduct over the matter, the committee will conduct oversight visit to inspect NCC’s facilities and those of the operators, and then forward its “unbiased” recommendations to the Senate.