During a media interaction with key figures from the media industry in Kano on Saturday, Professor Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), unveiled a remarkable surge in telecommunications investment. He revealed that telecom investment had surged from $38 billion to an impressive $77 billion by the second quarter of 2023.
Highlighting the sector’s significant contribution to the nation’s economy, Danbatta stated that it had accounted for 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) within the reviewed period, according to statistics compiled by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics.
“When I assumed the role of EVC of NCC in 2015, the sector contributed a modest eight percent to the GDP. Since then, we’ve witnessed a substantial increase, now standing at 16 percent, positively impacting all facets of our economy,” said Danbatta.
He attributed this achievement to the unwavering commitment of the NCC to regulatory excellence and operational efficiency. Over the past two decades, the industry has experienced exponential growth, higher regulatory standards, and groundbreaking digital innovations that have earned global recognition.
Danbatta further provided insights into the telecom landscape, reporting that Nigeria had reached 218.9 million telephone users, 159.5 million internet subscribers, and 88.7 million broadband users within the reviewed period.
However, he acknowledged persistent challenges hindering broadband expansion in the country, such as right-of-way issues, fiber cuts, high capital requirements, multiple taxations, and complex regulations. Despite these obstacles, Danbatta assured that the NCC was committed to addressing them while navigating regulatory complexities, the digital divide, and literacy challenges.
In a bid to enhance emergency response services, Danbatta announced the NCC’s plan to establish emergency communication centers in all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. These centers would bridge the gap between distressed citizens and emergency response agencies.
Furthermore, the NCC has increased research grants to universities, upping the allocation from N20 million to N30 million. This move has already benefited three universities, supporting research initiatives aimed at advancing telecommunications.
As a regulator, the NCC recognizes the pivotal role of telecommunications in the nation’s economic progress. It continues to ensure the availability of affordable and accessible telecom services, while actively addressing challenges like the deliberate destruction of its facilities and the proliferation of taxes imposed on telecom companies.
Danbatta emphasized the NCC’s commitment to engaging with stakeholders in the media industry to keep the public well-informed about its initiatives and activities.