The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has initiated the process for the review of existing licensing structure in the Nigerian telecommunication’s industry in demonstration of its responsiveness to global trends and the dynamics in the Information and Communications Technology ecosystem.
A step towards achieving this was taken recently by the executive vice chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, when he inaugurated an in-house standing committee to carry out the task.
While inaugurating the committee, Danbatta said the need for the review of the existing licence structure was informed by the wide range of technological advances, convergence of technologies and services which have characterized the global telecom’s space over the years, and which impact is increasingly being experienced in Nigeria.
According to him, the current licence structure is almost 20-year-old, hence the need for an urgent review of the existing licence pattern to reflect new licensing trends in line with international standards while providing opportunities for improved revenue for government.
“Therefore, it is evidently clear that this standing committee, drawn up from competent hands in various departments of the commission is perfectly suited and capable of addressing the enormous task of reviewing the existing licence structure of telecom licensees in Nigeria,” he said.
Saying the work of the committee will be carried out in phases, Danbatta pointed out that effective delivery of the committee’s task would help the commission to institute a process which would culminate in the review of the terms and conditions of the various licence categories. These, he said, will include licensing fee as well as identification of the limitations of the various licence categories with a view to clearly determining licences that should be phased out or amended.
Specifically, Danbatta outlined management’s seven-point deliverables for the committee to include a comprehensive review/report on existing licences; reports and recommendations on consultative fora; and report on recommended new licence undertakings.
Others are a report on recommended amendment to licence fees and durations; a report on benchmarking of licence with similar jurisdictions, a report on the impact of certain licenses on other licence holders. The committee is also expected to recommend solutions as well as develop updated regulatory framework for new and amended licences as the case may be; and a final report on the project with all recommendations.
Also speaking during the inauguration of the committee, the director, licensing and authorisation, NCC and chairman of the committee, Mohammad Babajika, assured the commission’s management of the committee’s resolve to deliver on the terms of their assignment.
A statement by the commission’s director of public affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said the commission envisaged a new draft framework for new and amended licences at the end of the committee’s assignment, and it would follow due consultations with industry stakeholders.