By Adeyemi Adepetun
THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), alongside industry stakeholders have charted new path to effective telecoms regulation and industry growth in Nigeria.
At the second edition of the Nigerian Telecoms Leadership Summit, organised by the NCC, in Lagos, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the theme of the Summit: “The Future of Telecom Regulation in Nigeria,” presented a unique opportunity for the commission to interact with critical stakeholders.
Through such interaction, the EVC said the Commission would be able to brainstorm and migrate to new frontiers of visionary regulations that will galvanise and foster desired growth in the industry.
Danbatta explained that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered political and socio-economic uncertainties globally and underscored the crucial role of digital connectivity in keeping societies functioning, as the online life became, essentially, new way of life.
He stated that with the increased dependence on digital platforms, the theme of the event had become necessary in order to put in place a broader regulatory framework that will enhance and protect the integrity of the industry in the emergent digital economy.
In this context, the EVC said the NCC will continue to diligently pursue the implementation of policy frameworks such as Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025; and the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 which are consistent with NCC’s regulatory interventions such as the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP), 2020-2024 and Strategic Vision Plan (SVP), 2021-2025, among others.
Danbatta said all the policy and regulatory frameworks principally seek to provide a platform for Nigerian citizens to engage in innovative developments for the telecoms industry and improve the nation’s ability to compete in the ever-competitive global space.
Explaining further on the transformation happening as a result of the expanding spectrum of digital ecosystem, Danbatta said the industry is witnessing new business delivery and breakthroughs due to the expansion of boundaries of digital Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), especially fintech and e-commerce firms. The EVC said those consequential ecosystem have contributed to the growth of the Nigerian digital economy riding on telecom infrastructure.
Danbatta aptly reckoned that digital services and contents provided by these SMEs will leverage on broadband infrastructure and the upcoming deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) network being driven by the Commission to deliver more innovative and high-quality experiences to consumers.
Amplifying the EVC’s position, in his keynote address, titled: “The Future of Telecom Regulation in Nigeria: Challenges of Access to Funding”, the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC, Dr. Ademola Sogunle, asserted that the telecommunications industry had become the sustaining stimulus of the post-pandemic era as consumers’ behaviours continue to shift towards digital trends. Danbatta said that the contribution of the telecoms sector continues to benefit the entire ecosystem.
While reviewing resolutions of the first edition of the Summit held in 2019, the Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, NCC, Yetunde Akinloye, said the Commission had implemented the recommendations of that meeting among which were Executive Order on Duplicity of Taxes and Levies, and Harmonization of Right of Way (RoW) fees.
She said other recommendations implemented include addressing of interconnect debt, review of the framework on interconnect clearing houses to ensure 10 per cent of traffic is routed through clearing houses, incentive for small operators as well as monitoring compliance with Code of Corporate Governance.