By Joy Baba-Yesufu
The Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) Prof. Umar Danbatta has said that telecoms investment inflow grew from $38 billion to $77 billion by the second quarter of 2023
Danbatta, who made the disclosure at a media chat with stakeholders in the media industry in Kano on Saturday, revealed that the sector had contributed 16 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product within the period under review.
He said that the statistics by the NCC was based on the computation by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics.
“From about eight percent contribution to GDP in 2015, when I came on board as the EVC of NCC, quarterly GDP has increased significantly to reach its current threshold of 16 percent.
“And this has continued to positively impact all aspects of the economy,” he said.
The NCC boss, however, attributed the success to “thorough sustained regulatory excellence and operational efficiency by the commission”, adding that the industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two decades.
“We have witnessed explosive growth, improved regulatory standards, and digital innovation that have generated global recognition,” he said.
According to him, telephone users in Nigeria had hit 218.9 million, internet subscribers 159.5 million, while broadband users in the country now are 88.7 million within the period under review.
Danbatta listed issues of right of way, fiber cuts, the high capital requirement for deployment, multiple taxations, and regulations, among other frustrations, constituting barriers to broadband deployment in the country.
The EVC, however, assured that the NCC would “navigate regulatory complexities, digital divide, and literacy to tackle the challenges
He said that the commission would establish an emergency communication center in each of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
He noted that the centers, when established, will bridge the gap between distressed and emergency response agencies in the country.
He explained that the commission had increased the amount of research grants being given to universities from N20 million to N30 million.
He said that three universities had benefited from the new grant, so far
“NCC as a regulator is mindful of the fact that telecom is an enabler and catalyst for the economic advancement of the country.
“It has consistently made available, affordable, and accessible telecoms service to check certain telecom barriers,” he said.
The vice-chairman however said there challenges confronting the commission which included wilful destruction of its facilities and the number of taxes imposed on telecommunication companies.
“The challenges being faced by the commission include 41 categories of taxes imposed on telecommunications companies and wilful destruction of our facilities,” he said.
He said that the commission would continue to engage stakeholders in the media industry in order to keep members of the public abreast of its activities.