The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said has remitted N463 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund from 2015 to April 2022 through steady efforts.
Executive vice chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, stated this when he led the management team of the commission to pay a visit to the new permanent secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, William Alo, in Abuja recently, according to a statement issued by the commission’s director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka.
The NCC also disclosed it has commenced the process of reviewing five regulatory instruments developed to address the challenges of the telecommunications industry even as it reiterated increase in broadband penetration in the country.
Prof. Danbatta said this in his opening remarks at a Public Inquiry on five key regulatory instruments being reviewed across all sectors/segments of the telecommunications industry, which commenced in Abuja yesterday.
Danbatta also had told the permanent secretary that the commission has issued landing permits to 53 Geo Satellite Orbits space stations and 923 non-GSO space stations among other achievements of the commission.
He revealed that the 3G and 4G Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in the country has increased from less than 30,000 in 205 to 53, 460 while 7VSAT gateway earth stations have been licensed to boost broadband penetration in the country.
He provided a detailed briefing about the achievements of the Commission and its efforts to address all the challenges confronting the industry, intimated Alo with the key focus and targets of the Commission through the its launched Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan SVP 2021 – 2025. This took into consideration, the provisions of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030, and National Broadband Plan 2020-2025.
He said the SVP has five focus areas which include: operational efficiency and regulatory excellence; facilitation of infrastructure provision for the digital economy; promotion of fair competition, inclusive growth and investment; improvement of quality of serve and quality of experience, and facilitation of strategic collaboration.
The NCC boss, who led a team of two executive commissioners and directors of the Commission to the briefing, listed successes recorded since 2015 in teledensity, broadband penetration, and significant contribution of the industry to the GDP that grew from 8.5 per cent in the 4th quarter of 2015 to 12.61 in the 4th quarter of 2021, as the sector also attracted over $2 billion in foreign direct investment over the period.
The NCC chief executive listed some other key achievements of the Commission under him to include the recent successful auction of 3.5GHz spectrum for 5G, licensing of 7 fibre optics infrastructure providers, and adding up to 38, 296 kilometers of fibre optic in the country.
He noted that access gap clusters in the country has been reduced from 217 to 114 to enable 15 million Nigerians have access to telecommunications services, and increase of fibre optics deployments from 47,000 kilometers to 54, 725 kilometers.
Alo in his remarks commended the leadership of the NCC for remarkable strides of the agency that has earned remarkable international reputation for Nigeria and placed the telecom regulator in the forefront of the nation’s quest for forward looking national economic growth.
“So far so good. The entire country, and beyond, is fully aware of the strategic importance of the NCC as a regulating institution of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria. And, of course, we are aware today that between oil and communications, the latter is gradually taking over in the provision of revenue for the country as the nation strives to diversify the economy,” he said.
He said of a truth, the quality of service has improved tremendously over the past few years now and that the Commission deserves a pat on the back for what it has done in that direction.
“Your efforts are generally felt in the economy. So when you talk of digitalisation of the economy the NCC and the operators are the first port of call”, he said.
He requested the leadership of the Commission to continue the good work and also strive to bridge the infrastructural gap that may create a gap between the served and underserved communities in the country.
Meanwhile, on the regulatory instruments for review, Danbatta said the first instrument is the Type Approval Regulations; the second is Guidelines on Short Code Operation in Nigeria; the third instrument is Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure; the fourth is the Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions while the fifth is the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations.
Danbatta said that the instruments are existing instruments which are being amended to reflect current realities.
“One of such realities is that with the deployment of 5G, it will become necessary for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to invest heavily in communications infrastructure. Also, with the technological advancements anticipated in the coming years, it is expected that there will be a proliferation of devices in the industry. It is therefore essential for the Commission to ensure that the regulatory framework can accommodate such eventualities,” he said.
He said further that the NCC has been working assiduously to implement the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020 – 2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 – 2030, its Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024 and its Strategic Vision Implementation Plan (SVIP) 2021 – 2025 and achieve its mandate.
“This drive has culminated in the Broadband penetration in Nigeria increasing by 91.70 per cent in the last four years. The country’s broadband penetration increased from 21.21 per cent in April 2017 to 40.66 per cent in April 2021. The Commission’s data show that in April 2021, 77,605,500 million Nigerians were connected to the Internet, up from 40,481,570 million in April 2017.
“The current broadband penetration as at June 2022 stands at 44.30 per cent with more than eighty-four million internet subscriptions in the country. While the Industry’s contributions to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has risen from 9.81 per cent in Q4 2018 to 12.61 per cent in Q4 2021. These strides are outcomes of the
Commission’s regulatory management of the Industry as well as its focused implementation of policies and strategies of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he said.
Head of Telecoms Law and Regulations Services Department of the Commission, Helen Obi, said the draft of all the regulatory instruments have since been published on the Commission’s website and comments from external stakeholders have been received and reviewed.
The public inquiry is an avenue that allows the commission to incorporate the comments and suggestions of industry stakeholders in the development of regulatory instruments.