According to THISDAY, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) revealed the telecoms sector has contributed over $70 billion to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
At the ITU Telecom world 2018 conference in Durban, Danbatta told foreign investors that the telecoms sector contribution to the GDP used to be $70 billion in 2017, but has been increasing by $5 billion every quarter. He also noted that telecoms contribution to Nigeria’s GDP rose to 10.5 percent, up from the initial 9.1 percent in 2016.
The Executive Vice Chairman revealed that with a population of 180 million, active subscriber base of 160 million and internet penetration of over 100 million, Nigeria is an attractive country for investors who crave adequate return on investments.
He said “while we celebrate the seemingly success story recorded in these directions, the NCC has put in place incentives for infrastructure companies (InfraCos), in order to encourage speedy deployment of infrastructure that will deepen broadband penetration as quickly as possible, and further increase telecoms investment in GDP”. Danbatta noted that the initiative is part of the roadmap to take Nigeria to the next level under the Open Access Model template.
Danbatta revealed that six InfraCo licenses have been issued to cover Lagos, North East, North West, South South, South East, South West zones of the country. He assured arrangements are being made to relicense the North Central zone. He also added the fact that NCC had earlier assigned 2.3GHz license to Bitflux Consortium and six of the 14 slots available on 2.6GHz to MTN Nigeria and two slots to Openskys. There are currently six slots still available for assignment.
Regarding incentives for new investors, Danbatta said “in line with our initiatives to encourage investors for InfraCos to roll out, the commission has created provisions in its 2017 and 2018 budgets as subsidies to the InfraCos. This is essentially to be disbursed piecemeal to the InfraCos as the deployment of their infrastructure progresses”.
To address the issue of the frequency spectrum trading framework, Danbatta revealed that “as part of the flexible approach to regulatory management and constant stakeholders’ engagement, the commission introduced spectrum trading only a few months ago”.
He noted that “this is to enable holders of such spectrum not in use to transfer, lease or share it out to those who may have need for it. We see this as a cutting edge regulatory initiative to safeguard the use of this scarce natural resource”.
Danbatta added that the initiative is one of the strategies implemented to boost telecoms contribution to the country’s GDP.