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Nigeria records 16 percent  telecoms contribution to GDP, deepens Broadband penetration –Danbatta

L-R: Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services at NCC; Biodun Omoniyi, Group Managing Director/CEO of VDT Communications Limited; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC; and Tony Emoekpere, President of ATCON, at Telecoms Executives and Regulators Forum, in Lagos Photo: NCC

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, discloses the telecoms sector targets 50 percent Broadband penetration by year-end as the current 16 percent GDP contribution positively impacts all aspects of the country’s economy

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed the contribution of the telecommunications sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased significantly to 16 percent in the second quarter (Q2) 2023.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, stated this in a keynote address Thursday, September 7, 2023, at the annual Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum (TERF), hosted by the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), in Lagos.

Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, stated the telecoms sector regulatory Commission’s data report was based on the recent computation by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Danbatta noted from a 14.13 percent contribution in the first quarter of this year, and up from the hitherto 15 percent all-time-high record contributed in Q2 2022, the telecommunications industry added 16 percent to the national GDP in Q2 2023 to set a new record.

Speaking on the theme, “Success Factors and Barriers to National Broadband and Digital Economy Aspirations”, the EVC/CEO of the Commission took the audience, executives of telecoms companies and other industry stakeholders through the giant strides the NCC had recorded in recent times.

According to him, from about eight percent contribution to GDP in 2015, when Danbatta came on board as the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, he stated that quarterly GDP has increased significantly to reach its current threshold of 16 percent and that this has continued to positively impact all aspects of the economy.

Impact of sustained regulatory excellence, operational efficiency on industry performance

Danbatta explained to the audience that “through sustained regulatory excellence and operational efficiency by the Commission, the industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two decades, and this has impacted on all other sectors of the economy.

“The effective regulatory regime emplaced by the NCC, and with the support from all stakeholders has been our major success factor as an industry.”

While there are barriers to Broadband deployment in the West African country, ranging from the issue of Right of Way (RoW), fibre cuts, high capital requirement for deployment, multiple taxations to regulations, among other challenges, he stated the NCC is navigating regulatory complexities, digital divide and literacy, security concerns with firmness and increased collaborations with necessary stakeholders, including ATCON to create measures towards tackling the challenges.

According to the EVC/CEO, in regard to the RoW challenge in the economy, there are about 46 different taxes directed at the telecoms sector at the moment.

Danbatta also noted that such charges and levels, coming in various names, are imposed on telecoms operators by some agencies and tiers of government, especially at the state and local levels.

He lamented such challenge has translated into greater economic burdens on telecoms subscribers in the Nigerian digital ecosystem.

NCC’s commitment to activating Digital Economy

Speaking about connectivity, Danbatta further said: “Over the years, we have identified some clusters of access gaps all over the country but we have recorded a significant drop in the number of access gaps, as we continue to drive initiatives that boost access to telecommunications services.”

He as well stated that the Commission does this by enlisting the government’s commitment to a digital economy with robust policy frameworks, promotion of investment and funding, stimulation of infrastructure development, digital inclusion and literacy, promotion of competition and market liberalisation, effective allocation of spectrum, as well as driving the e-government ecosystem.

Danbatta also disclosed  with various ongoing regulatory efforts in the ecosystem, “the NCC is confident that we are going to reach 50 percent Broadband penetration threshold by the end of 2023 and by 2025, we will have met and possibly surpassed the 70 percent Broadband penetration target, as contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025.”

The NCC said the EVC/CEO particularly commended ATCON and its members for being partners in progress, constantly engaging the Commission in constructive ways towards finding solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting the industry.

A national Broadband network and a thriving digital economy are not without their challenges, he stated.

Danbatta, however, said “these challenges can be overcome through determination, innovation, and strategic planning.

“By focusing on the success factors and addressing the barriers, we can create a future where every Nigerian have access to the opportunities that the digital world offers.”

He stressed that the success of Nigeria’s digital aspirations is beyond technological advancements but also about transforming lives, driving economic growth, and ensuring that a country remains competitive on the global stage.

Danbatta urged “as we work together to navigate this path, I enjoin all our stakeholders in the public and private sectors to remain committed to building a brighter and more connected future for our country.”

‘Connect with good trajectory for our sector’

ConsumerConnect reports Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, Honourable Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, recently confirmed Danbatta’s presentation on the telecoms industry contribution to the national economy.

Tijani, in a blog post, applauded the industry stakeholders for significant contribution of telecoms to the fresh 19.54 percent ICT contribution to Nigeria’s real GDP growth Q2 2023.

The Minister also urged consumers, industry stakeholders, and the country’s partners to “connect with good trajectory for our sector”, which is critical to GDP growth.

Referencing the ICT industry’s considerable contribution to the GDP growth Q2 report released by the National Bureau of Statistics, he wrote: “We need to build on this by continuing to grow our digital economy. #NigerianExcellence.”

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