NCC tasks telecom licensees on compliance to ensure sector sustainability

Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has enjoined telecom licensees to always comply with the provisions of extant laws, subsidiary legislation, and other regulatory frameworks put in place by the Commission to ensure a more competitive and sustainable telecoms sector in Nigeria.

This was done at a two-day tripartite dialogue of the Commission tagged, ‘Talk To The Regulator (TTTR) Forum’ which was held in Kano on Friday, October 15, 2021.

Over 104 telecoms licensees in different categories and segments of the Nigerian telecoms market, as well as consumers of telecoms services, were in attendance.

“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,” Danbatta said.

Some of the key policies that have been articulated by the Federal Government include 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.

At the event, licensees were enjoined to be fully committed to ensuring the successful implementation of these policies.

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“While the Commission continues to engender an effective regulatory environment, there is a need for licensees to support several initiatives carefully designed to enhance market opportunities for all its licensees,” Danbatta said.

Other activities which the Commission is pursuing to further facilitate the achievement of its regulatory mandate include the recently-launched NCC’s five-pillar Strategic Vision Plan (SVP, 2021,2025), commencement of a comprehensive review of its licensing frameworks, ongoing reviews of other key regulatory instruments to align with the rapidly emerging contemporary developments, ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) linkage exercise, as well as the ongoing efforts to launch the Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria.

There is the need for strict compliance with telecoms regulations by the licensees, because telecoms have continued to lead national economic growth through effective regulation and adherence to rules of engagement by the licensees.

“The sector has consistently driven the growth of the Nigerian economy and has provided critical infrastructure required for the digital transformation of practically all spheres of life. In the second quarter of 2021, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector sustained its trajectory of growth and contributed 17.9 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, said.

Three key factors driving the sector’s performance include a stable policy environment engendered by various digital economy policies, a consistent tradition of firm, fair, forthright, transparent and developmental regulatory oversight provided by the NCC, as well as long-term infrastructure investment and service commitments of telecom licensees.

“The NCC has, therefore, organised this forum to enable us to strengthen collaboration along these three lines, to enable our valued stakeholders to give us feedback on ongoing initiatives, and to enable you to seek clarifications on issues of concern,” Adewolu said.

The objective of the forum, which is in line with NCC’s vision of strategic collaboration and partnership, is to get first-hand feedback from NCC’s licensees.

In recognition of various service providers, the need to constantly engage the licensees with a view to identifying generic and unique challenges and collectively proffering solutions to them is what the commission seeks to achieve through the programme, which will be hosted in other cities across the country during the year.

“While the Commission is 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,” Mohammed Babajika, Director, Licensing and Authorisation, NCC, said.