The executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has enjoined telecom licensees to always comply with the provisions of extant laws, subsidiary legislations and other regulatory frameworks put in place by the commission to ensure a more competitive and sustainable telecoms sector in Nigeria.
The EVC gave the charge at a two-day tripartite dialogue of the commission tagged, “Talk To The Regulator (TTTR) Forum” held in the ancient city of Kano over the weekend.
Danbatta said while the commission continued to create an effective regulatory environment, there was the need for licensees to support several initiatives carefully designed to enhance market opportunities for all its licensees.
“Telecoms industry sustainability can only be guaranteed where all licensees ensure full and effective compliance with licence conditions and other regulatory prescriptions. So, this forum provides an opportunity to discuss areas where some of our licensees are falling short of their licence obligations and how we can collectively improve on the present situation,” he said.
The EVC highlighted some of the key policies that have been articulated by the Federal Government, including the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS, 2020-2030), the Nigerian national Broadband Plan (NNBP, 2020-202), the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Registration, among others and sought the licensees’ full and unalloyed commitment to ensure their successful implementation.
Danbatta also briefed the licensees about some activities which the commission is pursuing to further facilitate the achievement of its regulatory mandate.
These include the recently-launched five-pillar Strategic Vision Plan (SVP, 2021,2025), the commencement of a comprehensive review of its licensing frameworks, ongoing reviews of other key regulatory instruments to align with rapidly emerging contemporary developments, ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) linkage exercises, as well as the ongoing efforts to launch the Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria.
The NCC EVC said, as the regulator, the commission provides the enabling environment for healthy competition in the industry.
In his remarks, the executive commissioner, stakeholder management, NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, who amplified Danbatta’s call for the need for strict compliance with telecoms regulations by the licensees, said telecoms has continued to lead national economic growth through effective regulation and adherence to rules of engagement by the licensees.
Adewolu said the sector has consistently driven the growth of the Nigerian economy and provided critical infrastructure required for the digital transformation of all spheres of life. He declared that in the second quarter of 2021, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector sustained its trajectory of growth and contributed 17.9 per cent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
He, however, identified three key factors driving the sector’s performance to include a stable policy environment engendered by various digital economy policies; a consistent tradition of firmness, fairness, forthrightness, transparency and developmental regulatory oversight provided by the NCC; as well as long-term infrastructure investment and service commitments of telecoms licensees.
In his remarks, director, licensing and authorisation, NCC, Mohammed Babajika, said while the commission was fully aware and committed to discharging its mandate, especially in facilitating a conducive telecoms environment and guiding the industry to sustain the achievement already recorded in the industry, these can only be possible with the cooperation and support of the licensees.
Babajika said the commission recognised the importance of various service providers, hence the need to constantly engage the licensees to identify generic and unique challenges and collectively proffer solutions to them.
The overarching objective of the forum, in line with NCC’s vision of strategic collaboration and partnership, was to get first-hand feedback from NCC’s licensees.
The programme had in attendance representatives of more than 104 telecoms licensees in different categories and segments of the Nigerian telecoms market, as well as consumers of telecoms services.
The programme will be hosted in other cities across the country before the end of the year.