REGULATORY

Telecoms Regulator Swells Nigeria’s Coffers With US$904.75M In 5 Years – Danbatta

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By Angeline Mgbele, Correspondent Abuja

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer(EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has told the lower Chamber of the National Assembly(NA)the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications how the telecoms regulatory agency contributed to the revenue drive of the Federal Government by generating and remitting N344.71 billion(US$904.75million) to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) over the past five years.

Astatement authored by the Director of Public Affairs(DPA) at the Commission, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, says Danbatta stated this while briefing the Committee members, led by their Chairman, Hon. (Prince) Akeem Adeyemi, during a legislative oversight function on the Commission in Abuja on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.

Prof. Danbatta, who attributed the successes of the Commission to the harmonious relationship between the Commission and the National Assembly, said such relationship, the diligent oversight by the lawmakers and necessary legislative support had brought forth a lot of dividends for the industry.

“Through the support of the lawmakers, especially the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications, which the NCC leadership has worked with in the last five years, the Commission has been able to generate and remit N344.71 billion to Federal Government Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) from spectrum fees and operating surplus,” he said.

Danbatta stated that telecoms sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from 8.5 per cent in 2015 to 14.30 per cent as at the second quarter(Q2) of 2020. In financial value, the 14.30 per cent translated to N2.272 trillion(US$5.96billion) in Q2. He also said that telecoms investment grew from around US$38 billion in 2015 to over US$70 billion currently.

Speaking further, Danbatta said the NCC swa promoting financial inclusion by encouraging the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to actively participate in providing financial services towards actualising FG’s 80 per cent financial inclusion target by 2020.

According to him, through the collaboration of critical stakeholders as the National Assembly, the NCC had been able to increase broadband penetration from 6 per cent in 2015 to 45.43 per cent as at September, 2020 while basic active internet subscription grew from 90 million to 143.7 million.

“Between 2015 and September, 2020, active voice subscription has increased from 151 million to 205.25 percent million with a teledensity standing at 107.53 per

cent as at end of September, 2020. We are also empowering and protecting the consumers and ensuring we are able to sanitise the industry of improperly-registered Subscriber identification Module (SIM) cards through our impartial regulatory approach,” Danbatta said.

To continue to collaboratively advance the development of the industry, Danbatta listed key areas of collaboration with the House Committee, going forward. These, according to the EVC/CEO, include speedy passage of the Commission’s budget, enhancing mutual working relationship and knowledge transfer sessions/capacity building for Committee members for better understanding of the workings of the Commission and the industry.

Meanwhile, Hon. Adeyemi, in his address, said the oversight function was in line with relevant sections of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution, as amended, which empowered the House to carry out its role of checks and balances on the executive arm of government under which the NCC, as a Federal agency, fell.

The committee commended the leadership of the Commission for its transparency in ensuring remittances to CRF of the Federal Government, considering the current revenue drive of the government.

The committee urged the NCC to sustain its current template of ensuring effective regulation of the telecoms sector in a manner that would be more mutually beneficial to the industry players, the consumers of the telecoms services and to the Nigerian government.

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