The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) Abuja has threatened to seal off all Globacom Nigeria Limited offices in the nation’s capital over non-payment of over N1.3 billion telecommunication duct debt.
Accordingly, the Authority has issued a 7-day ultimatum to the telecom to comply with the payment or risk business and switch premises being sealed up.
Addressing journalists during a visit to some of the telecommunication’s critical infrastructures, the Chairman, Finance and General Purpose Committee of the 7th FCDA board, Hussein Monguno, said the move was part of the effort to recover the over the N7.8 billion debt owed by several telecommunication companies to FCDA.
He said that since the commencement of full liberalization of the Telecommunication duct network in 2004 Globacom has never complied with the payment of the lease agreement.
Monguno said that although other telecommunication companies have responded positively, Globacom Nigeria Limited have failed to show any commitment.
He added that, “When we were sworn in to this board, the minister find it necessary to constitute a committee for debt recovery. When the committee was constituted.
“There are about 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 payed, but the case of Glo is quite different. They have never responded and they are the highest debtors of N1.3 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.
When asked on the negative impact the disconnection would cause its customers, the Chairman said “subscribers can choose to go to other network. Why will you have a network that will not be able to pay their debt?”
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Zaliha’u Ahmed, said all efforts made to recover this debt has failed and every attempt to get M/s Globacom Nigeria Limited to reason with FCDA and make payments of their indebtedness has fallen on deaf ears.
She said Globacom’s indebtedness to FCDA on the lease of telecommunications duct amount to N1.3 billion.
Mrs Ahmed said, “We will not hesitate to seal up all their operations, with a view to ensure that they pay the debts.
“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 conceal their operations, maybe it will send a message and it’s not only to Globacom but to anybody that refuses to pay the statutory services.”
The Executive Secretary explained that 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 the 2004.
She said that the district infrastructure provided in the FCT is of world class and it is composite in nature (encompass all the infrastructure above and those Underground).
“The Telecommunication Duct Network in the Federal Capital Territory is one of the underground infrastructure provided to house the Telecommunication Industry.
“Each and all telecommunication service providers are 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 has leased the various length of telecommunication duct in the Federal Capital Territory spanning across the developed districts of the Federal Capital City (FCC) of which one of such lessee 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”.
“In 2018 the 7th FCDA Board, brought to the notice that M/s Globacom Nigeria Limited indebtedness to the FCDA on the lease of Telecommunication Duct is in the tune of N755,389,830.54 Million and this continues to grow as the years elapsed to N1,337,441,027.60.
“Efforts made to recover this debt has failed and every attempt to get M/s Globacom Nigeria Limited to reason with FCDA and make payments of their indebtedness has fallen on deaf ears.
“The Authority issued a warning letter to M/s Globacom Nigeria Limited has equally received no response.
“This has left the Authority with no choice but to give M/s Globacom Nigeria Limited business premises, reiterating the Authorities desire to recover its indebtedness or face their business and switch premises being sealed up.
“Globacom Nigeria Limited is hereby given 7 working days to make payment to the authority or face being sealed up. This is just the beginning of the recovery of the authority’s Debt owed by the Telecommunication Industry.” She said.