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Tellforceblog: Federal Government set to declare telecom infrastructure national assets – Shittu
Barr. Adebayo Shittu
Barrister Adebayo Shittu, who is the current Minister of
Communications, has revealed that the telecom sector has contributed $60
billion to the economy over the last 17 years of its existence.
Shittu made this revelation on Tuesday, March, 14, 2017, at
the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, reception and presentation of Board
of Commissioners to the telecom industry in Abuja.

The Minister also revealed that the Federal Government, FG, will
in two weeks declare all telecommunication infrastructure across Nigeria
Critical National Assets.
Shittu said that, no serious nation that ranks its need
right would play with a serious sector like telecom, noting its huge influence
on the growth of the economy.
He said: ‘‘You know
that the government is an enabler for all the sectors of the economy. Telecom
sector is a private sector led industry, and what government does is to protect
the enabling environment. We have gotten from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics
the fact that there has been increasing investment in the sector.

”A lot of foreign
investments are being brought in and a lot of Nigerians are getting jobs and
also making more money both for Nigerians as individuals and for the
government. There are indices to calculate this. I am relying on the statistics
from the Nigerian Bureau of statistics that telecom sector has contributed $60
billion in the last 17 years

‘‘No nation that can
toil with an industry that has contributed $60 billion to the economy in 17
years. As an industry that is focused, the Commission should pursue use of
latest technology at a very affordable cost and improve quality of services. I
challenge the new board to work with the management team to ensure operators
enhance the quality of their service
.”
The Minister said, he has assurance in the capacity of the
new board to deliver on its mandate and charged the members to work together
with the management team of the Commission in setting up modern technology at a
very cheap rate to improve quality of service delivery within the sector as an business
that is consumer focused.

‘‘I am confident that
the choices made on the new board were made beyond human rapprochement. On the
part of government, we expect the board to seek new ways to improve the quality
of service delivery in the industry.

‘‘If you look at their
resume you will agree with me that we wouldn’t have had anything better in
terms of quality. They are all distinguished in various professional fields,
they have also proven to be men of integrity and moral standing and so one is
convinced that they will not compromise the interest of consumers and
regulatory authority.

‘‘By the same token,
they have given the commitment that they will ensure a level playing field for
all operators. That means a lot because just as the consumers has rights
operators also have their own rights as guaranteed by the law.

‘‘They must be given
an environment that will encourage productivity, satisfaction for customers and
that will also bring in more money for Nigeria,’’
The minister stated.
Futhermore, Shittu said the Government would support any
action that will improve the performance and image of the telecom sector, which
he said has presented marvellous growth in internet penetration, broadband and tele-density
growth over the years.
He promised that government is prepared to eliminate all
stumbling blocks in the industry in order to ensure stress free distribution of
telecom infrastructure by the service providers.

‘‘I believe it will happen within the next two
week. We have a memo to the Federal Executive Council in that regard whose
approval has been delayed due to certain circumstances beyond our control.

‘‘That bottleneck has
now being removed and the memo will soon be presented to the Federal Executive
Council. I want to believe in another two weeks or three weeks we will have
approval of the Federal Executive Council and once it is approved we will go on
to implementation stage,”
he promised.
The Minister also applauded the new management of NCC for taking
the initiatives and being proactive in its regulative job, which made the commission
to gain N80 billion extra for the country from a single fine of an operator.
He said: ‘‘You will
recall that ordinarily, NCC makes money for Nigeria through their licensing
processes and through selling of spectrum but the problem that arose from MTN
is one issue, which has always been in the sector.

‘‘But it was when the
new management came on board that they discovered it and announced to the whole
world that that had happened not only that they followed it up with punitive
measures. Perhaps, if it was not the current management perhaps it would have
been glossed over and public would not have known.

‘‘That singular effort
Nigeria has so far gained 80billion extra on top of what they have been gaining
for Nigeria by way of selling of spectrums and licensing operators is
commendable.’’
Sen. Otumba Durojaiye, who is the Chairman of the board, in
his remarks, stated that the board will ensure level playing ground for all
operators (be it big or small) and would not encourage any anticompetitive inclination
to succeed in the industry, maintaining that the board will ensure that healthy
competition prevails in the sector.
He commended and appreciated telecom investors for their trust
in the economy and promised that the regulatory board (NCC), under the new
board would heartily pursue initiatives that would help consumers and increase
quality of service by the operators.
The Chairman said: ‘‘We
will do our best to attain high level of service in the industry. Improvement
of services is our target. We must ensure fair level field for all operators
and no one should be kept in doubt that Nigeria needs healthy competition. We
are already working on improving the situation of poor quality of service. That
is why we will welcome a healthy competition.

‘‘We frown at
monopolistic tendencies. We will not fail to implore service providers to up
their game. Service has worsened over the past two months. We solicit their
cooperation in activating the DND code to enable consumers check the menace of
unsolicited sms, drop calls and poor quality of service.’
Also, in his address, the Chairman, Senate Committee on
Communications, Senator Bath Nnaji said 

‘‘NCC
is blessed to have a new board with tested and eminent personalities with
proven records of great achievements to assist in taking the industry to the
next level.”
With the appointment of the board, he stressed that the NCC
is better positioned to seek new ways to take the sector to a global level in
best practices and admonished the board to use new cutting edge so that
Nigerians can get value for their money.
He also condemned the malicious destruction of telecom
facilities by criminals and promised to work with the Commission in order to
find a lasting solution to the menace.
He also charged the board to come up with strategies that
would address never-ending cases of multiple taxation, poor quality of service,
low broadband penetration, drop calls, unsolicited SMS and Right of Way issues.
The Association of Licensed Telecom Organizations of Nigeria
(ALTON) Chairman, Engr. Ghenga Adebayo, represented by Ibrahim Dikko, in his
goodwill remark, said the issue of multiple taxation remain top target on the
priority list of the association.
While congratulating the new board, Adebayo said ALTON desires
to work in partnership with the NCC to attain sustainable growth and development
of the telecom sector in Nigeria.
Highlight of the occasion was official presentation of the
new board members by the Minister, which comprises of:
Sen. Otunba
Durojaiye – Chairman
Prof. Umar
Dambatta – Executive Vice Chairman
Engr. Ubale
Maska – Executive Commissioner, Technical Services
Mr. Sunday
Dare – Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders’ Management
Sen. Ifeanyi
Araraume – Commissioner
Mr. Clement
Baiye – Commissioner
The board is meant to supervise the affairs of NCC for the
next five years

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