NCC Boss highlights roles of Telecom in Digital Economy

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that telecommunications sector has been a strategic driver of the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government, as it continued to provide the needed digital stamina to support the economy, especially through technology.

This was disclosed to by the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof Umar Danbatta in his speech at the “NCC DAY” held at the 18th Abuja International Trade Fair organised by the Abuja Chamber Of Commerce And Indusry in Abuja on Thursday 5th September,2023.
NCC said telecommunications has empowered individuals, connected businesses, strengthen industries and enabled Governments to provide essential services efficiently thereby driving development and prosperity.
Information Communications Technology (ICT) as not only one of the fastest growing industries – directly creating millions of jobs – but it also an important enabler of innovation and development.
NCC Boss said Telecom provided the backbone infrastructure for transactional business and taxation for Government.
“However, maintaining this digital infrastructure and its continued growth necessitates substantial investment.
Sustainable financing in telecommunication involves sourcing the necessary capital to build and maintain robust telecommunications networks. As regulators, we understand that this financing should be stable, accessible and conducive for industry growth. Taxation while essential for funding of Government initiatives must strike a delicate balance between revenue generation and industry growth.
“Our role as regulator, is to advocate for fair taxation practices that do not stifle innovation or place undue burden on consumers. We acknowledge the intricacies of tax policies but emphasize the importance of creating an environment where telecommunications companies can thrive. To address these challenges the Commission continuously engage both the Federal and State Government on the need to harmonize taxation in the telecommunications sector.
“NCC’s regulatory efforts in deepening access to digital services will benefit Nigeria and make it competitive comparable with other economies in the areas of job creation; contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth; emergence of new services and industries; workforce transformation; and business innovation.
“It is in our response to ensuring that Nigeria is competitive in all these areas that the Commission continuously puts a number of regulatory measures in place to ensure seamless access by Nigerians to telecommunications services in order to deepen competitiveness of the Nigerian economy by making our businesses and industries digitally compliant.
In Nigeria today, the number of active mobile subscriptions reached 220,715,961 million as at August 2023, while Teledensity stood at 115.63 per cent at the same period. Also, the number of active Internet subscribers was 159,034,717 Million with broadband penetration at 45.57 per cent as at August, 2023. In this new environment, the competitiveness of Nigerian businesses depends on their ability to leverage on new technologies by acquiring the necessary digital skills to do business on an international scale. This in turn benefits the economy financially.
Ladies and gentlemen, the steady growth of telecoms sector over the years with its pervasive positive impact on all other sectors of the economy in terms of increased automation of processes and digital transformation in service delivery, has been remarkable. This, however, would not have been possible without you, telecoms consumers who are using the services daily.
“To sustain this, therefore, the NCC continues to create a conducive environment that stimulates deployment of robust telecoms/broadband infrastructure for improving the quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) for telecoms consumers, be it
Danbatta said the Commission was working assiduously with various stakeholders including, the consumers, to see how more businesses can embrace digital platforms for delivering their services to the consumer.
“As a regulator, we also ensure we constantly inform you, the consumers on how to be protected to prevent cases of online fraud or avoid consumer falling victims of cybercrime antics while in their legitimate use of the Internet.
As you may be aware, the NCC is driving initiatives for the full deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria. Already, 5G spectrum licenses have been issued to companies for rollout. It is important to state that the 5G network will bring substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities to communications services in Nigeria. I am happy to inform you that licensees have kicked off the commercial launch of 5G network in some cities across the nation.
“More importantly, it is also our commitment, at NCC, to continue to provide a level-playing ground for operators to thrive, promote investment and delivery of innovative services to individual consumers and business owners by ensuring enhanced consumer quality of experience.
In his remarks,the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), NCC,Mallam Alkasim A. Umar
“As a regulator of the telecommunications sector in the country, the Commission carries out its functions to ensure service availability, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability for all categories of consumers, who are leveraging on ICT/Telecoms to drive personal and business activities.
Mallam Alkasim A. Umar commended the Abuja Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the organizers of the Trade Fair for choosing the theme, “Sustainable Financing and Taxation as Drivers of the New Economy”.
The theme according to him was timely and relevant as Nigeria navigate the challenges of sustaining its economy and ensuring a conducive business environment.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission plays a critical role in the development of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, it is essential that we address the issue of sustainable financing and taxation to ensure its long term viability.
At this juncture, please permit me to reiterate NCC’s commitment to ensuring fair competition and a level-playing field for all stakeholders in the telecommunication industry, particularly in safeguarding the interest of consumers from abuse of their rights and privilege, and against unfair practices in the telecom service value chain. This commitment is demonstrated by the Commission’s continuous effort to establish seamless programs that will Protect, Inform and Educate (PIE Mandate) telecom consumers through various consumer-centric initiatives such as:
1. Consumer Education Outreach Programmes: These programs include the Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP), Telecom Town Halls on Radio (TTR), Telecom Consumer Conservation (TCC), Professionals’ Dialogue, Village Square Dialogue, Television (TV) Dialogue, and Trade Fairs such as this one today, NYSC, Student – Campuses
2. Consumer Complaints Management (CCM): The Commission created various channels of lodging complaints which include:
• NCC Toll-Free 622 Contact Centre which is available between 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily except on Sundays and Public holidays.
• Consumer Portal
• E-mail: Consumer can send mail to ([email protected])
• Consumer X (Twitter) account @ConsumersNCC, Facebook, Instagram.
• Written complaints submitted to our Head Office here in Abuja or any of our Zonal Offices in Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Enugu, and Kano States.
3. Development of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code: this was established in 2016 for telecom consumers to stop unsolicited text messages and nuisance calls. To activate the FULL DND service to stop all unsolicited messages & calls, Text “STOP” to 2442 and for PARTIAL DND service, Text “HELP” to 2442 to select the type of messages you want to receive.
4. Development of Mobile Number Portability (MNP): It ensures that telecom consumers can switch from one network to another without changing their original Phone Number.
5. Strategic partnership with Law Enforcement agencies to protect Telecom Infrastructure: The Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with law enforcement agencies such as the Police and National Security and Civil Defence Corps to help protect telecom infrastructure from vandalization.
6. Campaign against Sales & Buying of Pre-registered SIM cards: A consumer should be aware that buying pre-registered SIM cards is a criminal offense in Nigeria.
7. Campaign on NIN-SIM Linkage – To help improve security in the country.
8. Direction on Roll-Over of Data: Service Providers have been directed to Roll-Over unused data at the expiration of a data plan provided it is renewed within the stipulated time frame as approved below:
1. One (1) day data plan has one (1) day to renew.
2. Above one (1) day but less than thirty (30) days has three days to renew.
3. Thirty (30) days has seven (7) days to renew.
9. Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE) Desk at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport Abuja: The TELCARE desk was set u up to further provide the Commission with the following value and mileage:
i. Serve as additional platform to receive and facilitate the resolution of consumer complaints;
ii. Provide a platform for telecom consumers to make enquiries on consumer issues;
iii. Provide a platform for advocacy on any thematic consumer issue or concerns;
iv. Enhance awareness of the Commission’s activities.
10. Harmonized Short Codes: Recently the Nigerian Communications Commission directed all licensed Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to commence implementation of approved Harmonized Short Codes (HSC) for providing services to Nigerian telecom consumers. The measure initiated by the Commission is a bid to improve the Quality of Experience (QoE) of consumers across all mobile networks. The new initiative will enable consumers using the over 223 million active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria to use the same codes to access services across all networks. For instance, the same code *310# will be used for checking airtime balance across all the networks.
“I implore you to take time to visit the NCC Pavilion on the Exhibition ground to make enquires, know more about the activities of the Commission, and meet face-to-face with representatives of Service Providers, who are ready and willing to attend to your complaints concerning their network.
We also thank the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and industry for providing the platform for NCC to reach out to and interact with other Stakeholders in the industry particularly the telecom consumers
On this note distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you all for being part of this year’s NCC Special Day at this Fair and we look forward to hosting you again in 2024.

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