The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is delighted to be part of the 18th Abuja International Trade Fair organized by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) at the Abuja Trade & Convention Centre, Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua Way, Airport Road, Abuja.
Over the years, the NCC has continued to be a strategic partner to the Commerce, Mines and Industry, as the Commission leverages the Trade Fair platform to engage telecoms consumers and business owners, who are based in various regions of the country.
Partnering with ACCI through our Special “NCC Day” event is a pleasure for us at the Commission, as it usually provides a veritable platform for interaction with telecoms stakeholders, especially our esteemed telecoms consumers.
Permit me to, at this juncture to convey the appreciation of the Board and Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission to ACCI for your invitation to the Commission to participate in this annual Trade Fair.
Ladies and gentlemen, This year’s edition of the Trade Fair with the theme – ‘Sustainable Financing and Taxation’ is very apt and timely, especially considering the pivotal role the telecommunications industry play in driving economic growth, fostering innovation, and enhancing the quality of life for citizens across the globe. As the telecommunications regulator in Nigeria, we bear the responsibility of ensuring the sustainability and vitality of the sector.
The Commission recognizes the fact that telecommunications sector has been a strategic driver of the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government, as it continues to provide the needed digital stamina to support the economy, especially through technology. It is no longer news that telecommunications empowers individuals, connects businesses, strengthen industries and enable Governments to provide essential services efficiently thereby driving development and prosperity.
Information Communications Technology (ICT) is not only one of the fastest growing industries – directly creating millions of jobs – but it is also an important enabler of innovation and development, as it provides the backbone infrastructure for transactional business and taxation for Government. However, maintaining this digital infrastructure and its continued growth necessitates substantial investment.
Sustainable financing in telecommunication involves sourcing the necessary capital to build and maintain robust telecommunications networks. As regulators, we understand that this financing should be stable, accessible and conducive for industry growth. Taxation while essential for funding of Government initiatives must strike a delicate balance between revenue generation and industry growth.
Our role as regulator, is to advocate for fair taxation practices that do not stifle innovation or place undue burden on consumers. We acknowledge the intricacies of tax policies but emphasize the importance of creating an environment where telecommunications companies can thrive. To address these challenges the Commission continuously engage both the Federal and State Government on the need to harmonize taxation in the telecommunications sector.
NCC’s regulatory efforts in deepening access to digital services will benefit Nigeria and make it competitive comparable with other economies in the areas of job creation; contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth; emergence of new services and industries; workforce transformation; and business innovation.
It is in our response to ensuring that Nigeria is competitive in all these areas that the Commission continuously puts a number of regulatory measures in place to ensure seamless access by Nigerians to telecommunications services in order to deepen competitiveness of the Nigerian economy by making our businesses and industries digitally compliant.
In Nigeria today, the number of active mobile subscriptions reached 220,715,961 million as at August 2023, while Teledensity stood at 115.63 per cent at the same period. Also, the number of active Internet subscribers was 159,034,717 Million with broadband penetration at 45.57 per cent as at August, 2023. In this new environment, the competitiveness of Nigerian businesses depends on their ability to leverage on new technologies by acquiring the necessary digital skills to do business on an international scale. This in turn benefits the economy financially.
Ladies and gentlemen, the steady growth of telecoms sector over the years with its pervasive positive impact on all other sectors of the economy in terms of increased automation of processes and digital transformation in service delivery, has been remarkable. This, however, would not have been possible without you, telecoms consumers who are using the services daily.
To sustain this, therefore, the NCC continues to create a conducive environment that stimulates deployment of robust telecoms/broadband infrastructure for improving the quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) for telecoms consumers, be it individuals or corporates. This is because, as a country, we need robust telecoms infrastructure that will help our industries transit to becoming Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-driven if we hope to be digitally competitive on the global stage.
The Commission is working assiduously with various stakeholders including you, the consumers, to see how more businesses can embrace digital platforms for delivering their services to the consumer. As a regulator, we also ensure we constantly inform you, the consumers on how to be protected to prevent cases of online fraud or avoid consumer falling victims of cybercrime antics while in their legitimate use of the Internet.
As you may be aware, the NCC is driving initiatives for the full deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria. Already, 5G spectrum licenses have been issued to companies for rollout. It is important to state that the 5G network will bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities to communications services in Nigeria. I am happy to inform you that licensees have kicked off the commercial launch of 5G network in some cities across the nation.
More importantly, it is also our commitment, at NCC, to continue to provide a level-playing ground for operators to thrive, promote investment and delivery of innovative services to individual consumers and business owners by ensuring enhanced consumer quality of experience.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I would like to sincerely thank all of you, for taking time to be with us at the “NCC Day” and we encourage you to take maximum advantage to get to know more about what we do at NCC.
Please kindly note – you are at liberty to take advantage of this forum to ask questions on issues you might have, regarding general telecoms service delivery, as they affect you and you are equally free to visit the NCC’s Stand at the exhibition ground, where our staff and representatives of various telecoms service providers are waiting to attend to all your service-related queries, enquiries and complaints.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, permit me to emphasize that the NCC will continue to drive the remarkable digital transformation we are witnessing in our economy today. We also believe that with sustainable financing and fair taxation practices, we can ensure that the telecommunications sector remains resilient and continue to serve as the catalyst for progress in our interconnected world.
I thank you for listening.
Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, FNSE, FAEng.,
FRAES, FNIEEE Executive Vice Chairman/CEO
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)
SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE “NCC DAY” DURING THE 18TH ABUJA INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR ORGANISED BY THE ABUJA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY