By Favour Unukaso
THE Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Aminu Maida, said that quality of service in the telecommunications sector is non-negotiable as he called for industry collaboration to make this a reality.
Maida, who spoke in Lagos at an interactive session with chief executive officers in the industry, assured of collaborations within the industry and commitment to transparency in the telecoms ecosystem.
He told the industry chieftains to appreciate that they have a very important role to play in industry to consolidate on the achievements already recorded in the sector, which is an enabler of Nigeria’s digital economy.
According to the NCC boss, quality of service (QoS) should translate to quality of experience (QoE), stressing that customers’ interest should be prioritsed.
Speaking as his confirmation as the substantive chief executive officer of the Commission was taking place at the Senate Chambers, Maida noted that the expectations of telecoms consumers are very high.
“People actually expect telecom services to work. I don’t think they really appreciate what it takes to deliver these services. So, it has come to a stage where they just see telecoms service as a utility like water and electricity. Like a social service, it needs to work. We need to really come together in the industry and deliver value to the customer,” he said.
Speaking about compliance with industry regulations and standards, Maida said: “When it comes to compliance, this is an area where we are going to be placing a lot more focus, and things are going to be a lot more urgent. I am not going to be asking for compliance after the fact. That is going to be a very key area of focus for me.
“So, we owe it to ourselves to benchmark ourselves against the best, not against other sectors. We have to just take ourselves as setting the benchmark for every person else. So, let people compare and say we have to be as good as telecoms.”
On broadband, Maida said the Commission has a very short time to do so much. “A lot has been done with the Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) licensing. We just have to re-imagine, look at it again, and see whether that is the right approach and re-imagine how we approach it. We now need to start getting into the states and, perhaps, we might need to sit down and see how we can do that differently. Again, on the broadband issue, we need to increase the investment,” he said.
Addressing the Federal Government’s intention to create about two million digital jobs by 2025, the Chairman, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, said, “We need FX. Some of these requests are on your table. We must be in the first line for access to FX, otherwise, all the job creation we are talking about may not be possible if people cannot pay their FX obligation and buy their use applications because of scarcity.
“So, access to FX has become more than important for us.”
Commending Maida’s move to reposition the sector, Adebayo lamented the impact of the 52 taxes and levies on the sector, saying that all these challenges must be resolved if the sector contributes significantly to the economy.
President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Tony Emoekpere, said the industry is reassured by the steps that Maida has taken in convening the interactive session. “We are really encouraged that your first action is to meet with us here at this interactive session. What you have done to invite us here to hear what we have to say is the right step,” he said.