Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Nigerian Communications Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, has urged telecom licensees to always follow the provisions of existing laws, subsidiary legislations, and other regulatory frameworks put in place by the Commission in order to ensure a more competitive and sustainable telecoms sector in Nigeria.

Fasnews Nugeria reports that the EVC delivered the charge at the Commission’s two-day tripartite debate, dubbed the “Talk To The Regulator (TTTR) Forum,” which took place in Kano’s old city on Friday, October 15, 2021.

Representatives from around 104 telecoms licensees in various categories and segments of the Nigerian telecoms market, as well as telecoms service users, attended the event.

Prof. Danbatta stated that while the Commission works to create an efficient regulatory environment, licensees must support a number of measures that are carefully planned to improve market prospects for all of the Commission’s licensees.

“Telecoms industry sustainability can only be guaranteed where all licensees ensure full and effective compliance with lisence 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.Danbatta

The EVC emphasized some of the key policies articulated by the Federal Government, such as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS, 2020-2030); the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP, 2020-202); and the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Registration, among others, and sought licensees’ complete and unwavering commitment to ensure their successful implementation.

Danbatta also informed the licensees about some of the actions that the Commission is doing to help it fulfill its regulatory responsibility.

These include the recently launched NCC’s five-pillar Strategic Vision Plan (SVP, 2021, 2025); the start of a comprehensive review of its licensing frameworks; ongoing reviews of other key regulatory instruments to align with rapidly emerging contemporary developments; the ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) linkage exercise; and ongoing efforts to launch Nigeria’s Fifth Generation (5G) network.

As the industry’s regulator, the NCC, according to the CEO, creates an enabling environment for healthy competition.

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Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, who amplified Danbatta’s voice on the need for strict compliance with telecoms regulations by the licensees, said telecoms has continued to lead national economic growth through effective regulation and adherence to rules of engagement by the licensees.

Thus, Adewolu said the sector has consistently driven growth of the Nigerian economy and has provided critical infrastructure required for the digital transformation of practically all spheres of life. He declared that in the second quarter of 2021, the Information and Communication technology (ICT) sector sustained its trajectory of growth and contributed 17.9 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic product (GDP).

Adewolu, however, identified three key factors driving the sector’s performance to 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 telecoms licensees.

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

In his remarks, Director, Licensing and Authorisation, NCC, Mohammed Babajika, said while the Commission is fully aware and committed to discharging its mandate, especially in facilitating 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.

Babajika said the Commission recognises the importance of various service providers, hence the need to constantly engage the licensees with a view to identifying generic and unique challenges and collectively proffering solutions to them.

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

The programme will be hosted in other cities across the country during the year.

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