The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has said the commission generated and remitted N344.71 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the federal government in the last five years, to drive government’s projects across the country.
Danbatta gave the information to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Telecommunications, while briefing the committee members, led by their Chairman, Hon. Akeem Adeyemi, during a legislative oversight function on the commission in Abuja on Wednesday.
He also attributed the successes of the commission in the last five years to the harmonious relationship between it and the National Assembly.
According to Danbatta, such relationship, the diligent oversight by the lawmakers and the necessary legislative support, have brought forth a lot of dividend for the industry.
“Through the support of the lawmakers, especially the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications, which the NCC leadership has worked with in the last five years, the commission has been able to generate and remit N344.71 billion to federal government Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) from spectrum fees and operating surplus,” Danbatta said.
He stated that telecoms sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from 8.5 per cent in 2015 to 14.30 per cent as of the second quarter of 2020, adding that in financial value, the 14.30 per cent translates to N2.272 trillion in Q2.
He also said that telecoms investment grew from around $38 billion in 2015 to over $70 billion currently.
Danbatta further said the NCC would continue to promote financial inclusion by encouraging the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to actively participate in providing financial services towards actualising the federal government’s 80 per cent financial inclusion target by 2020.
According to him, through the collaboration of critical stakeholders at the National Assembly, the NCC was able to increase broadband penetration from six per cent in 2015 to 45.43 per cent as of September, 2020 while basic active internet subscription grew from 90 million to 143.7 million.
“Between 2015 and September, 2020, active voice subscription has increased from 151 million to 205.25 million with a teledensity standing at 107.53 per cent as at end of September, 2020.”
“We are also empowering and protecting the consumers and ensuring we are able to sanitise the industry of improperly-registered Subscriber identification Module (SIM) cards through our impartial regulatory approach,” Danbatta said.
To continue to collaboratively advance the development of the industry, Danbatta listed key areas of collaboration with the House Committee, going forward to include speedy passage of the commission’s budget, enhancing mutual working relationship and knowledge transfer sessions/capacity building for committee members for better understanding of the workings of the commission and the industry.
Adeyemi, in his address, said the oversight function was in line with relevant sections of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution, as amended, which empowers the House of Reps to carry out its role of checks and balances on the executive arm of government under which the NCC, as a federal agency, falls.
The committee commended the leadership of NCC for its transparency in ensuring remittances to the federal government, considering the current revenue drive of the government.
The committee urged the NCC to sustain its current template of ensuring effective regulation of the telecoms sector in a manner that would be more mutually beneficial to the industry players, the consumers of the telecoms services and to the Nigerian government.