ATCON Identifies Nigerian Telcos Biggest Operational Challenge, Emoekpere

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The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) is to address talent issues, seen as the biggest operational challenge faced by telcos in the country, Mr Tony Izuagbe Emoekpere, new President of the telecoms trade group says.

Mr Emoekpere, Anchor Telecoms CEO, was on 4 of April, Tuesday elected ATCON President at the association Annual General Meeting and National Executive Committee (NEC) election held Tuesday in Lagos.

The new ATCON President says that some identified challenges facing the association’s membership base include talent which he cites as “the biggest operational challenge faced by members” which he hopes to address on his watch, according to his pre-election manifesto seen by Technology Times that aims to Promote, Advocate and Engage.

According to him, some of the post-COVID spill-over has caused a drop in membership participation at ATCON with its attendant effect on the vibrance associated with the influential telecoms trade group.

“The Covid Era,” the ATCON President says, “had an impact on our member participation as hosting of programmes were affected. Working with our NEC, our strategy will be to rigorously promote ATCON’s image visibility, programmes and projects. I will ensure together with the NEC that there are more activities by the coordinators of various sub sector groups with programmes meeting the needs of these individual groups. Ours will be a bottom-up approach as inputs from the coordinators will form the basis for discussions and activities. Membership drive will also emanate from the coordinators. Increased participation at this critical stakeholder level will ensure programmes are well formulated and attended, further improving the fortunes of the association.”

He also identifies that the tax burden on both operators and companies in the telecoms industry combined with equipment importation challenges which is caused by access to foreign exchanges now require priority attention.

He says that infrastructure weakness in data connectivity that especially affects upcountry regions of Nigeria is affecting the nation’s broadband penetration targets.

ATCON over the years,”Emoekpere says, “has been known for its strong advocacy and has been consulted by several Government agencies during policy formulation. During our tenure, our strategy will be to participate more intently in policy formulation and implementation. I intend to achieve this through effective support of our NEC members in ensuring that policies that promote our businesses are made through proactive and strategic advocacy. Our advocacy will also be geared toward enhancing more local participation with policies that build an ecosystem where there are collaborations between local players, multinationals and tech manufacturers. Import substitution opportunities for local manufacturing geared towards reducing forex demands will be advocated as well as policies that aid in forex supply to the sector.”

ATCON will embark upon structured engagement with key stakeholders in the Nigerian Telecom & ICT Sector on the New National Broadband Plan 2020- 2025 and drive initiatives to foster the financing of Nigeria’s digital economy, he says.

Telecoms & ICT Sector in Nigeria, courtesy visits to State Governors and creation of research and development department, among others.

“The linchpin of our strategies,” Emoekpre says, “is constructive engagement. My highest desire to contest for the position of the National President is to grow the Association to the next level of its importance by constructively engaging all tiers of government and foreign agencies. Our engagement strategy will be proactive and aggressive. A neglected level of Government critical to the well-being of our members are the State Governments. Engagement at this level will help forestall multiple taxation, promote infrastructure development and open opportunities for members further ensuring the National Broadband Plan Targets are met.”