By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja
The House of Representatives committee on Telecommunications has reiterated its resolve towards enacting relevant laws that will help in boosting telecoms infrastructure in the country.
Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof. Umar Dambatta, lauded the support of the Committee towards overcoming various challenges facing the industry.
Chairman of the committee, Hon Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, while speaking at the One-day retreat with the theme: ‘Improving the socio-economic development of the nation through qualitative telecommunication services, noted that improved telecommunications industry would guarantee improved economy.
“The importance of telecommunication in any economy is self-evident either in a developed or developing one as there exists an interwoven relationship between the economic development of a country and effective telecommunication services. This establishes the assertion that most developed nations have the more developed telecommunications infrastructures and services.
“However, modernity in telecommunications has provided facilities that make for new class of service, improved revenue generation with properly reviewed tariff policy. As of September 2017, Nigeria has almost 140 million active lines indicating a teledensity of 99.93%.
“Moreso, the Telecommunication industry has been a major contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and such industry contributing between 7 to 10 percent annually from 2010 till date to the nation’s GDP should be supported by all stakeholders to attain its full potentialities.
“The telecommunications industry has been the bridge builder bringing together buyers and sellers and facilitating the flow of information, making it a key driver of trade. The growth of this industry in Nigeria gave rise to new businesses such as Jumia, Konga, Mobile Money and other online services thereby creating new set of entrepreneurs contributing their quota to the socio-economic development of the country.
“Recent International Telecommunications Union (ITU) data shows that flows of international telephone traffic closely mirror the patterns of international trade. Indeed, variations in telephone traffic can be used as a leading indicator of national economic performance.
“Telecommunication has been a major player in agriculture by providing easy and fast access information on up-to-date market and price, improved seeds, availability of fertilizers, weather forecasting, pest control and other agricultural-related services to farmers and traders.
“Furthermore, telecommunication plays an important role in politics and governance, by enhancing a government’s ability to provide security for its citizens, protect its borders and more efficiently handle civil emergencies and national disasters. In turn, the citizens gain easier access to government and greater awareness of government programmes and activities. An informed populace helps protect and strengthen the democratic process.
“Having expounded the importance of this industry to the socio-economic development of Nigeria, you will agree with me that this industry should be given necessary support and impetus to attain its full potentialities by all critical stakeholders,” Akinade-Fijabi said.
Meanwhile, Dambatta who was represented by the commission’s Head of Legislative and Government Relations, Public Affairs Department, Inatimi Spiff, Said; “In the course of achieving an effective regulation for the benefit of all and in creating an enabling environment for growth, issues and challenges are bound to arise. Hence, this retreat gives us opportunity to seek your cooperation in carrying out our mandate as the independent regulator of the telecommunication industry. We shall remain fair, firm and forthright always.”