Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of Board of Commissioners of NCC Photo: NCC

NCC Board Chair tasks telecoms operators on fulfilling licensing obligations

*The Nigerian Communications Commission at a stakeholder engagement forum in Port Harcourt charges the Commission’s licensees that ‘responsibility does not end in issuing of licences alone’, but in partnering with the telecoms regulator to address operational challenges in the ecosystem  

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of Board of Commissioners of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has urged telecoms licensees across different segments of the country’s telecommunications sector to adhere strictly to their licensing obligations in order to ensure robust provision of services to consumers.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Akande made the call in his remarks at the weekend during the third edition of NCC’s 2021 “Talk to The Regulator” (TTTR) forum at Visa Karena Hotels, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

L-R: Barr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at NCC; Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of NCC Board; and Clement Baiye, Board Member at the forum in Port Harcourt

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Tuesday, December 7, 2021, said the  NCC Board Chairman at the forum, which focused on “Improving Stakeholder Satisfaction”, stated that the essence of conducting the stakeholder engagement forum across the country’s geo-political zones was to demonstrate to the Commission’s licensees that responsibility does not end in issuing of licences alone but rather in working with the licensing authority to address issues affecting their operations.

READ ALSO: NCC Urges Stakeholders To Activate Digital Economy For Diversification, Transformation

According to Akande, beyond the issuance of licences to operators, the Commission is legitimately concerned with providing the necessary regulatory frameworks and initiatives capable of ushering in an environment that encourages seamless implementation of the licence conditions.

Venny Eze, NCC’s Port Harcourt Zonal Controller, giving her address at the forum

He stated: “In return, we expect the licensees to deliver on their licensing conditions, and I want to use this opportunity to challenge our licensees to always comply with their licensing obligations and conditions in order to provide the much-needed services to the generality of Nigerians.”

RELATED: NCC Tasks Telecoms Licensees On Compliance With Regulations, Licence Obligations

Earlier, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, while speaking on the centrality of the stakeholder engagement to the regulatory activities of the Commission, said the regulator considers feedback from stakeholder engagement initiatives imperative for building a robust licensing regime in the Nigerian telecom sector.

Prof. Danbatta, represented at the forum by Barr. Adeleke Adewolu, NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, also reiterated the Commission’s commitment to stakeholder engagement as “a means of deepening collaboration with NCC’s licensees, identifying areas of concern, and jointly developing and implementing practical solutions.”

The focus of deliberations for the series of stakeholder engagement has been on licensing processes, policies, and procedures, all geared towards improving stakeholder satisfaction, a central factor to all NCC’s regulatory activities, said he.

The NCC EVC/CEO further emphasised the need to curate insights from each geo-political zone of Nigeria in order to encourage mutually-beneficial relationships and enhance understanding between the Commission and its key stakeholders.

RELATED 2021 TTTR: Sustainable Engagement Key To Tackling Challenges In Nigerian Telecoms Industry ─Danbatta

According to Danbatta, measurable success has been recorded essentially because of Commission’s focus on prioritising stakeholders.

Danbatta said that “achievements such as contributions to Gross Domestic product (GDP) grew to 14.42 per cent in Q2’2021; active internet subscriptions have reached over 140 million; teledensity which now stands at 99.98 percent; and 40.01% percent Broadband penetration,” as of the end of September 2021.

A cross-section of participants in the 2021 NCC ‘Talk to The Regulator’ (TTTR) forum

According to Danbatta, to achieve national policy targets and maintain progressive growth in the telecoms industry, “efforts must be jointly made to harness the full cooperation of licensees to highlight areas hampering the progress of the Commission’s stakeholders.

“We have started making necessary adjustments to reflect the views of our licensees in Kano and Lagos. Port Harcourt will not be an exception.”

RELATED: NCC’s Policy Engagement With Stakeholders For Quality Consumer Experience, Says Danbatta

The NCC Chief reiterated that the meeting was organised in keeping with the Commission’s strategic objectives, which seek to guarantee continuous interface with the critical stakeholder in the industry, for collaboration in seeking solutions to challenges of licensing in Nigeria.

Further underscoring the significance of stakeholder engagement and sensitisation in the Commission, Danbatta said the forum affords stakeholders a platform to raise questions about the challenges of licensing and their operations.

Such a forum, he noted, also avails the Commission of an ample opportunity to adequately respond to the concerns that may be raised by the stakeholders.

The Commission also stated that at the Focus Group Discussions (FGD) at the forum in Port Harcourt, participants reviewed and discussed licensing trends, regulatory process, implementation of Annual Operating Levy (AOL) regulations, assigning of short codes, type-approval obligations, and Commission’s expectations.

Commission’s propositions for the survival of smaller licensees were also discussed in a session termed “Listen to the licensee,” as they were not only given ample time to air their grievances but also made to proffer solutions for Management’s consideration.

Besides, mutually-beneficial positions on multiple taxations, surrendered licences, Right-of-way (RoW) for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) boosters, amongst others, were part of the issues discussed, according to NCC.

It is recalled the Port Harcourt edition of the TTTR was sequel to previous editions of the stakeholder engagement forum which took place October 16, 2021, in Kano, and November 25, 2021, in Lagos, respectively.

In attendance at the event were members of NCC Board, including Prof. Millionaire Abowei, Clement Baiye, Chief Uche Onwude, as well as Engr. Bako Wakil, NCC’s Director, of Technical Standards and Network Integrity, and his counterpart, Muhammed Babajika,  Director of Licensing and Authorisation of the Commission, whose department facilitated the organisation of the forum.

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