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N1.34b debt: Glo may lose subscribers as FCDA threatens shutdown of facilities

Sep, 2021 | By Wisdom Acka | ||

Many Glo subscribers have hinted on the possibility to "port" or move over to other mobile telecommunication network providers following the impending shut down of the communication giant's network in Abuja.

Some of the subscribers who spoke to Abuja Digest Weekly anonymously disclosed that their consideration to migrate to alternative networks was due to the recent threat issued to Globacom in Abuja by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to either service their increasing debt or have their facilities disconnected from the telecommunications ducts.

Experts say that telecommunication ducts are essential components of the engineering infrastructure provided by the FCDA in the FCT and they are a necessary component for the operation and provision of telecommunication services. Addressing journalists during the tour of some of the telecommunication's critical infrastructures in Abuja, Chairman, Finance and General Purpose Committee of the 7th FCDA Board, Hussein Monguno, explained that the move was part of efforts to recover over N7.8 billion debt owed by several telecommunication companies to the FCDA.

He further said that since the commencement of full liberalization of the telecommunication duct network in 2004, Globacom had never complied with the payment of the lease agreement, even as he added that other telecommunication companies have responded positively, while Globacom Nigeria Limited had failed to show any commitment or positive concern.

Monguno said: "When we were sworn in to this Board, the Minister found it necessary to constitute a committee for debt recovery”. "There is about a 7.8 billion naira or thereabout debt, being owed to FCDA by different telecommunication companies. We wrote them a letter. We invited them to come and either accept or disagree with the billing system because FCDA has a very good billing system”.

"Some of them actually paid. As I speak now, MTN is actually on credit, and several others have paid, but the case of Glo is quite different. They have never responded and they are the highest debtors of N1.34 billion. "FCDA has built this infrastructure to give them an enabling environment to operate. They have to reciprocate our effort by paying for the service. So, if they don't pay the debt, we know what to do. They have signed an agreement, and the content of the agreement is very rich. We can do quite a lot.

We can seal up this place and we can also disconnect them”. Asked about the potential negative impact the shutdown would cause Glo customers, the Chairman said "subscribers can choose to go to other networks. Why will you have a network that will not be able to pay their debt?", he queried.

Acting Executive Secretary, FCDA, Tpl Zaliha'u Ahmed while speaking earlier revealed that all efforts made to recover the debt had failed and every attempt to get M/s Globacom Nigeria Limited to service their indebtedness, which amounts to N1.34 billion, had fallen on deaf ears. "We will not hesitate to seal up all their operations with a view to ensuring that they pay up the debt”. "For the past six months, we have been writing them. We have written several letters and several reminders.

We have invited them for meetings, but they disregard all these, so we don't have any other option than to do what we are doing”. "If we seal up their operations, maybe it will send a message and it will not be only to Globacom but to anybody that refuses to pay statutory services." The Executive Secretary explained that the liberalization of the telecommunication industry in the country commenced in the year 2000 while the FCDA commenced full liberalization of the authority's telecommunication duct network in 2004.

She stated that the district infrastructure provided in the FCT is of world class and not composite in nature as it encompasses all the infrastructure above and those underground. She further stated: "The Telecommunication Duct Network in the Federal Capital Territory is one of the underground infrastructure provided to house the telecommunication industry. Each and every telecommunication service provider is allowed to lease 1/4 duct space in the available duct network provided in the city at a token.

"Over the years, many telecommunication service providers have leased the various lengths of telecommunication ducts in the Federal Capital Territory spanning across the developed districts of the Federal Capital City (FCC) of which one of such leasees is M/s Globacom Nigeria Limited with commencement date of 2004. However it is pertinent to note that M/s Globacom Nigeria Limited being an indigenous National Telecommunications carrier has over the years defaulted in the renewal of the "lease rate as agreed in the agreement entered with the Authority".


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