Integrated telecommunications provider, Telkom Kenya, has supported the recent decision by the East African Community (EAC) partner states to ban scrap metal exports in the region, which will stem exports of vandalized Telkom copper cables. The export ban comes in the wake of rising concerns around the impact of scrap metal exports on industries within the EAC region.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Telkom Kenya Deputy CEO, Jane Karuku, welcomed the decision, saying it will save the company huge amounts of lost revenue and funds deployed to replace vandalized copper cables.
“The financial outlay, as well as human capital and man hours spent replacing vandalized cables will now be devoted to investments in the business in our quest to enrich the customer experience. Our customers can also enjoy uninterrupted services as we expected the demand for vandalized copper cables to fall with the ban on scrap metal exports coming into effect”, observed Karuku.
She explained that to cope with rising number of vandalism incidences, Telkom Kenya Ltd has been forced to retaining security companies to carry out regular surveillance on its cable routes and in some cases installing cable alarms.
Karuku said, “these initiatives tie down company resources which could generate more value if they were employed in our core business of providing world-class communication services to our customers’’.
The Deputy CEO explained that due to the rampant cases of vandalism Telkom Kenya losses over Ksh2 billion annually. Most of vandalized copper cables are exported to the emerging markets in Asia.
She added, “apart from denying Telkom Kenya revenue, vandalism causes untold suffering to our customers due to service interruption, which amounts to economic sabotage”.
Karuku observed that in addition to the ban on scrap metal exports, Telkom Kenya Ltd recommends the adoption of more stringent legislation by the regional governments that will see vandals face longer prison sentences and heavy fines to act as a deterrent to the criminal activities.
She said that vandalism ought to be classified as a national security issue, given the extent to which it affects the economy particularly in developing countries such as the ones in East Africa.