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NCC wants telecoms operators to honour licensing obligations

By Adeyemi Adepetun
08 December 2021   |   2:57 am
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged telecoms licensees across different segments of the telecommunications sector to adhere strictly to their licensing obligations

Prof Danbatta, EVC NCC. Photo: TWITTER/NGCOMCOMMISSION

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged telecoms licensees across different segments of the telecommunications sector to adhere strictly to their licensing obligations to ensure the robust provision of services to consumers.

The call was made by Chairman, NCC Board of Commissioners, Prof. Adeolu Akande, at the third edition of the Commission’s 2021 ‘Talk to The Regulator (TTTR) Forum’, which was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The theme was: ‘Improving Stakeholder Satisfaction’.

Akande said the essence of conducting the forum across geo-political zones was to demonstrate to the Commission’s licensees that responsibility does not end with issuing licenses but rather in working with the licensing authority to address matters affecting operations.

Beyond issuance of licences to operators, Akande declared in a statement yesterday, that the Commission is legitimately concerned with providing necessary regulatory frameworks and initiatives capable of encouraging the seamless implementation of the licence conditions.

“In return, we expect the licensees to deliver on their licensing conditions and I want to use this opportunity to challenge our licensees to always comply with their licensing obligations and conditions to provide the much-needed services to the generality of Nigerians,” he said.

Speaking earlier on the centrality of stakeholder engagement to the regulatory activities of the Commission, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said NCC considers feedback from stakeholder’s engagement initiatives crucial to building a robust licensing regime in the Nigerian telecom sector.

The EVC, who was represented at the forum by Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, reiterated the Commission’s commitment to stakeholder engagement as a means of deepening collaboration with licensees, identifying areas of concern, and jointly developing and implementing practical solutions.

The EVC noted that the focus of deliberations for the series of stakeholder engagements had been on licensing processes, policies, and procedures, all geared towards improving stakeholder satisfaction.

He also emphasised the need to curate insights from each geo-political zone to encourage mutually beneficial relationships and enhance understanding between the Commission and its key stakeholders.

According to Danbatta, measurable successes have been recorded because of the Commission’s focus on prioritising stakeholders. “Achievements such as contributions to Gross Domestic product (GDP) grew to 14.42 per cent in Q2 of 2021; active Internet subscriptions have reached over 140 million; teledensity now stands at 99.98 per cent; and broadband penetration, 40.01 per cent per cent, all these are indices as at the end of September 2021,” he said.

He said to achieve national policy targets and maintain progressive growth in the telecoms industry, “efforts must be jointly made to harness the full cooperation of licensees to highlight areas hampering the progress of the Commission’s stakeholders.

“We have started making necessary adjustments to reflect the views of our licensees in Kano and Lagos. Port Harcourt will not be an exception,” Danbatta assured.

At the Focus Group Discussions (FGD), participants reviewed and discussed licensing trends, regulatory process, implementation of Annual Operating Levy (AOL) regulations, assigning of shortcodes, type-approval obligations, and Commission’s expectations.

Commission’s propositions for the survival of smaller licensees were also discussed in a session termed, ‘Listen to the licensee’, where this category of licensees expressed concerns and proffered solutions.

The forum further discussed multiple taxations, surrendered licences, Right-of-way (RoW) for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) boosters, among others.