Members Board of Commissioners and Consultants. L-R: Adeoye; Abowei; Aliyu; Maska; Danbatta; Akande; Prof. Utomi, consultant; Salamatu Yunusa Yar'Adua, consultant; Baiye; Salman; and Onwude Photo: NCC

NCC holds Board, Management retreat to advance operational, regulatory excellence

*The Nigerian Communications Commission has convened the 2021 Board and Management retreat to brainstorm on emerging challenges, opportunities with a view to deepen the growth of the telecoms sector of the country’s economy

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As part of the telecoms sector regulator’s strategic initiative for strengthening regulatory excellence and operational efficiency to sustain the sectoral growth, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has convened the 2021 Board and Management Retreat (BMR).

ConsumerConnect reports the Commission has organised the forum as the important telecoms sector emerges a leading contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and as the West African country prepares to launch the Fifth Generation (5G) networks 2022.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC, delivering his speech

According to NCC, the three-day Board and Management Retreat, which started Thursday,  November 11, 2021, at the Transcorp Hilton, Maitama, Abuja, FCT, with the theme, “Expect More, Deliver Result”, is being organised as part of the regulator’s strategic initiative for strengthening regulatory excellence and operational efficiency so as to sustain the growth of telecommunications and its contribution to the Nigerian economy.

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Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs, also noted that the Retreat was also meant to ensure the Commission innovates its way out of the various challenges confronting the telecoms  sector within the context of global economic volatility and uncertainties.

Members of the NCC Board of Commissioners and other Senior Management Staff of the Commission attended the retreat that held physically and virtually, with some 100 Senior Management Staff participating virtually in compliance with the extant COVID-19 protocols.

The Director of Public Affairs stated the retreat started Thursday with a welcome address by Felix Adeoye, Director of Corporate Planning, Strategy and Risk Management at NCC, whose department oversees the organisation of the annual retreats.

A cross-section of NCC’s Senior Management Staff at the retreat

The Commission said the participants, in the opening ceremony, discussed the responses to the Pre-Retreat Questionnaire and set concrete objectives for the programme.

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In his address at the forum, Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman, NCC Board of Commissioners, said the retreat would provide an avenue to “assess our achievements and challenges, so that we can brainstorm and determine the most effective and efficient ways to achieve our mandate.”

Prof. Akande affirmed that the telecoms industry in Nigeria continues to maintain its place as one of the three top contributors to the GDP from a meagre 8.5 percent in 2015 to 14.42 percent as at the second quarter of 2021.

The sector, the Board Chair noted, is also a major employer of labour with a significant catalytic effect on employment, establishment of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), and increased equity and equality among citizenry.

According to him, the sustenance and development of other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, education, health, energy, services, finance among others are dependent on telecommunications infrastructure, the deployment of which is being stimulated by NCC, as the sector’s regulator.

Women in the house duly represented. L-R:  Akinloye; Lawal; Grace Ojougboh, Head of Media and Public Relations; and Stella Erebor, Head of Internal Audit

Akande further stated that globally, the sector is now referred to as the ‘new oil’ because of the continual, potential evolution and innovations, which guarantee business profitability, growth and viability.

Nevertheless, he opined while the statement is especially true in Nigeria, considering the dwindling price of oil, it also implies that more is expected from the regulatory Commission in terms of contribution to the national coffers.

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Earlier in his keynote address, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, enumerated “the remarkable achievements recorded by the Commission in the past two years since the last retreat.”

Danbatta said despite the challenges and disruption to normal work process by the outbreak of the COVID-19, it is encouraging to see that the challenge has instigated an innovative mindset in getting work done and remaining committed to the achievement of the strategic objectives of the telecoms regulator.

Underscoring the theme of this year’s retreat, the NCC EVC/CEO also disclosed the thematic focus is meant to nudge the Commission’s Board and Management team on how the NCC can sustain and surpass its impressive track record of performance over the years.

He stated: “We want to see how we can ensure that we continue to expect more than these successes from ourselves to deliver even better results.

“This is the theme and underlining purpose for this year’s retreat, and while we will explore the answer together, over the next couple of days, allow me to set a premise and surmise it in a single word: commitment.”

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), who attended the retreat to share industry insights from licensees’ perspectives with the participants, said the operators continue to face perennial challenges of infrastructure vandalism, lack of seamless access to foreign exchange, Right of Way (RoW) issues, multiple taxation and regulations, bridging the access gap, among other challenges plaguing the industry.

READ ALSO: Telecoms Regulatory Instruments To Facilitate 5G Deployment, Tackle Insecurity In Nigeria ─NCC

The ALTON Chief urged all participants and stakeholders to forge greater alliance and collaboration as this is required now, than ever before, to defeat the collective challenges and spur the strategic partnerships needed to enhance both the consolidation of the gains and the plan for harnessing rapidly-emerging innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which Nigeria requires to launch fully into the global digital age.

In his presentation, Prof. Pat Utomi, Facilitator of the retreat, recalled the history of the sector as he stated with nostalgia how the auction of the first Digital Mobile Licence (DML) took place in the same Transcorp Hilton with fanfare, lots of expectation and with an eye on history in 2001.

Utomi said so far, the sector has grown significantly and has made the country proud. However, he underscored the theme of the retreat in context by stating that the Commission must deliver more superlative results because Nigerian consumers expect more.

The facilitator of the retreat also emphasised the importance of culture and commitment to sustained organisational success.

Utomi, therefore, urged the participants to see the appropriateness and the auspiciousness of the gathering by refocusing on objectives, strategies, culture and communication as imperatives for achieving the mission and vision of the Commission.

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