The chairman of the House of Representative’s committee on telecommunications, Hon. Saheed Akinade-Fijabi has said the need to prevent further loss of revenue to the federal government and loss of jobs by Nigerians in the sector necessitated the move to intervene in the financial crisis rocking telecommunication giant, Etisalat.
According to the youthful lawmaker, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, which is the regulatory authority for the Telecoms operators, should carry out an immediate integrity and financial audits on Etisalat and all other operators.
The committee gave the directive in Abuja at an emergency meeting with the management of the NCC, stating that the action became necessary in order to determine the true situation of things in the operations of the Telecoms operators.
Fijabi, who is representing Ibadan North West /South West for the second term, said that ”as the elected representatives of the people, we have to wade into this matter in order to prevent further massive loss of revenue by the government and jobs by Nigerians, government needs revenue from the taxes paid by these operators to provide the needed amenities for the people and Nigerians also need to keep their jobs to earn livings.”
This is just as he said that the intervention is with a view to preventing further crisis in the sector and ensuring quality service to the members of the public.
He said: “So, this is where we as lawmakers come in, in order to ensure that the operators operate according to the rules of the game. We will get into the root of what led to this mess andd those responsible for it will not go unpunished; we will have to invite the necessary anti-graft agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crime Commission,EFCC, to look into the matter and fish out those behind it and get them punished
“We have been informed that there is a new management for the Etisalat now, this Committee has resolved to give the new management few weeks to look into the books of the company and brief us of its findings on the true position of things
“After this, we will then invite the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and the new management to chart a way forward, we will not allow public money to go down the drain just like that”.
He, however, warned against illegal take over of the company under whatever guise, saying that all relevant provisions of the NCC Act must be followed to the letter for the acquisition of the outfit and that anything short of it would be resisted bythe National Assembly.
Speaking, the NCC Commissioner, Mr Sunday Dare commended the timely intervention of the National Assembly, assuring that the commission as the regulatory authority was already on the top of the situation with a view to resolving it amicably
Dare stated that NCC as a responsible commission, met with stakeholders which included the company, the CBN and custodian of banks involved in the transactions immediately the incident happened, adding all the banks were after recovering their loans.
He said that apart from the normal auditing of the operators financial books and ensuring quality services, the commission had taken necessary steps to prevent further incidents in other companies.