The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has vowed to review licence frameworks guiding the operation of telecommunications service providers to improve their performance.
The executive vice chairman of the commission, Prof Umar Danbatta flagging off a two-day ‘Talk with the Regulator’ forum holding in Lagos, said NCC is very much aware that not all licensees are doing as well as they ought to be doing, promising it is working on regulatory initiatives to provide market opportunities for all its licensees.
“We are very much aware that not all our licensees are doing as well as they ought to be doing. Several licensees are struggling to pay their staff, many are unable to comply with basic licence obligations, several are defaulting in the payment of their Annual Operating Levies (AOL), and the level of interconnect and other inter-licensee indebtedness is still unacceptably high,” he said.
The EVC said the commission will continue to roll-out forward-looking and all-inclusive regulatory initiatives to provide market opportunities for all its licensees. “We have also committed to the constant review of our licensing framework as well as key regulatory instruments so as to refresh our regulatory frameworks and ensure better service delivery for consumers and efficient attainment of other national interest objectives.
“However, the industry can only achieve the national interest objectives set out in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) and other policy instruments if most (if not all) of our licencees are operating at optimal strength.
“We are therefore keenly aware of the need to listen to our licensees and address any concerns that may impede the attainment of the relevant policy objectives,” he added.
In his remarks, the executive commissioner, stakeholder management, NCC, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu said, NCC over the years, has consistently deployed stakeholder engagement tools like public enquiries, private investigations, written information requests, one-on-one discussions and diverse consumer engagement platforms to ensure that its interventions are well- grounded and that decisions are based on a clear understanding of stakeholder perspectives.
He said the forum would the NCC and its licensees can enhance their relationship. “I am hopeful that by the end of this two-day session, we would agree on measures necessary to improve industry performance., attract more investments, and ensure that the industry continues to provide the needed communications infrastructure backbone for national development.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian telecom industry has continued to show improvements in key indices such as contribution to GDP which grew to 14.42 per cent in Q2 2021, active internet subscriptions which reached over 140 million at the end of September, 2021, teledensity which reached 99.98 per cent at the end of September, 2021 and broadband penetration which reached 40.01 per cent of the population at the end of September, 2021.