By Olabisi Olaleye
Telecommunications operators umbrella body, Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has kicked against duplicate supervisory role of the numerous ad hoc committees of the House of Representatives on telecoms operations, warning the practice would soon kill the industry.
ALTON explained that various ad hoc committees including Land, Health, Environment, Labour, Employment and Productivity were itchy to invite telecoms operators to make presentations on operational matters.
Chairman of ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, told Daily Sun that the invitations were becoming too frequent and inconveniencing to telecoms operators.
Said he: “Frequent summons of ALTON members by the House of Reps Committees is becoming embarrassing and affecting the smooth operations of telecoms operators.”
He said Heads of the various ad hoc committees were supposed to streamline the functions of the committees, since their functions are overlapping.
In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, dated July 3, 2017, which was signed by Adebayo and the ALTON Executive Secretary, Mr. Kazeem Ladepo, ALTON requested for the intervention of the Speaker and the Chairman, House Committee on Communications, to save the situation.
The letter read in part: “We wish to bring to your attention an increasing incidence of enquiries and investigations with overlapping supervisory purview by various committees of the House of Representatives with regard to the telecoms industry and the operations of our members.
The key cause of concern for us in this regard is the fact that oftentimes, the subject matter and requests of these committees tend to replicate the same purview/scope with the attendant duplication of multiple requests for the same information. In some instances, the same documentation is required by different ad-hoc committees investigating different aspects of the industry thus leading to a confusion in assembling the documentation.”
Adebayo maintained that, “ALTON members are also faced with the challenge of honouring concurrent public hearings and meeting requests from these various committees. By way of illustration, our members were recently invited by the House Committee on Telecommunications to two separate hearings/sittings on ‘massive job losses’ and ‘massive revenue losses’.