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Digital Economy: Nigeria’s telecoms investments worth $75bn Q2 2023 —NCC

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

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission highlights how telecoms sector’s contribution to the quarterly GDP growth has increased significantly to 16 percent, impacting consumers positively as ‘an enabler and catalyst for economic advancement’ in the West African country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In regard to the industry contribution to the country’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed the telecoms investment inflows grew from $38 billion to $77 billion by the second quarter (Q2) of 2023.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Commission, stated this at a media parley at the weekend, in Kano, Kano State, Northern Nigeria.

Danbatta noted the telecoms sector had contributed 16 percent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of this year.

The EVC/CEO of NCC said the NCC statistics on the industry’s performance within the period under review was based on the computation by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

“From about eight percent contribution to GDP in 2015, when I came on board as the EVC of NCC, quarterly GDP has increased significantly to reach its current threshold of 16 percent.

“And this has continued to positively impact all aspects of the economy,” he stated.

Impact of sustained regulatory excellence, operational efficiency on telecoms performance

The NCC Executive Vice-Chairman particularly attributed the success recorded in the telecoms sector of the economy to “thorough sustained regulatory excellence and operational efficiency by the Commission.”

Danbatta averred that the telecoms industry had grown in leaps and bounds over the past two decades.

He also said: “We have witnessed explosive growth, improved regulatory standard, digital innovation that have generated global recognition.”

The NCC Chief particularly noted how telephone service consumers in Nigeria had hit 218.9 million, Internet subscribers 159.5 million, while Broadband technology consumers are 88.7 million within the period under review in the Nigerian ecosystem.

Some barriers to Broadband deployment, penetration in Nigeria

Prof. Danbatta, nonetheless, related to the audience at the forum sone of the challenges to sustainable Broadband deployment and penetration in Nigeria.

According to him, the issues of Right of Way (RoW) in the states, fibre cuts, high capital requirement for deployment, multiple taxations and regulations among other frustrations still constitute major impediments to successful Broadband deployment in the country.

Regulator’s approach to tackling challenges successful Broadband deployment

As part of the solutions to current challenges in successful Broadband deployment, Danbatta, however, assured that the NCC would “navigate regulatory complexities, digital divide and literacy to tackle the challenges.”

The EVC/CEO said the telecoms sector regulatory Commission had continued to establish an Emergency Communication Centre  (ECC) in each of the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

He noted that such establishing the centres was necessary, so as to bridge the gap between distressed and emergency response agencies in the country.

Increased Research Grants to Universities

Prof. Danbatta further disclosed how the Nigerian Communications Commission increased the amount of research grants being awarded to the country’s universities from initial N20 million to N30 million.

Three universities have benefitted from the new telecoms-oriented research grant thus far, stated he.

The EVC/CEO explained: “The NCC as a regulator is mindful of the fact that telecoms is an enabler and catalyst for economic advancement of the country.

“It has consistently made available, affordable and accessible telecoms service to check certain telecoms barriers.”

Underlining the static importance of robust regulatory environment, Danbatta restated the Commission’s mandate as a regulator in the development of the telecommunications sector to ensure best practices in the ecosystem.

This task is significant in view of the fact that NCC regulates one of the sectors that have contributed to the enhanced growth of the Nigerian economy.

Key challenges confronting telecoms sector regulator

Aside from barriers to Broadband deployment,  he equally touched on other major challenges confronting the NCC.

Danbatta stated these include wilful destruction of its facilities and the number of taxes imposed on telecommunications companies operating in the sector in Nigeria.

The Executive Vice-Chairman also said: “The challenges being faced by the Commission include 41 categories of taxes imposed on telecommunications companies and wilful destruction of our facilities.”

Not resting on its oars in raising the bar in telecommunications ecosystem, Danbatta, however, assured that the foremost regulatory Commission would continue to engage stakeholders in the media industry so as keep members of the Nigerian public abreast of its activities.

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