NCC reiterates commitment to total digital transformation of services

By Chimezie Godfrey

The NCC has reiterated its commitment to total digital transformation of services in Nigeria.

This was made known by the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, at the Virtual ICTEL Expo 202, with the theme,” Disruptions, Resilience and Governance in Digital Economy,” held on Tuesday in Abuja.

He expressed delight at another opportunity for stakeholders to synergize in a bid to addressing the challenges bedeviling the communication sector of the country’s economy.

Danabatta noted that the NCC is renowned for its tradition of engaging in robust stakeholder consultation on the development of its various regulations and policy initiatives.

According to him, the Commission has consistently engaged private sector organisations, in clear expression of its PPP philosophy, to carry out specific tasks, notably, in carrying out cost-based studies, whose outcomes have been used by the Commission to improve regulations and policy decision that have far-reaching positive implications on the economy.

He disclosed that the Commission has also engaged in a number of PPP engagement through such initiatives as Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF), a multi-sectoral committee of private and public sector institutions whose collaboration with the Commission has bolstered Commission’s determination to continually improve on all principles of protection of telecoms consumers from an array of service challenges as well as incidences of frauds and other associated risks of online transactions.

Danabatta however, noted that despite several interventions by the government a number of challenges persists in the telecom ecosystem.

He reiterated the Commission’s commitment to ensure the availability of appropriate infrastructure that will boost the digital economic system in the country.

He equally assured of the government’s determination to a total digital transformation of services in Nigeria.

He said,”In a concrete expression of belief in the centrality of PPP principles, the NCC, in November 2020, created a ‘PPP Unit’ as a division under its Special Duties Department. The Unit is overseeing the implementation of the NCC’s revenue assurance solutions (RAS) as well as the Device Management System (DMS) project. The two projects are being implemented in collaboration with private sector players.

“While the RAS is intended to address the revenue leakages accruable to the government, through the NCC; the DMS is intended to address the issue of type approval of telecom equipment and devices to ensure originality and standardisation because of the implication of substandard devices for health and quality of service.

“The DMS is also instituted to tackle the problem of SIM boxing and call masking, which not only constitutes threat to national security but also a mark of anti-competitive practice in the telecoms sector and a basis for loss of revenue in tax remittances to the government.

“However, despite the various PPP interventions being undertaken by the government and similar initiatives at the Commission, a number of challenges persist in the telecom ecosystem. These include multiple taxation and regulation, Right of Way (RoW) issue, vandalism, poor electricity supply, and lately worsening insecurity.

“All of these factors affect both the tempo and quality of infrastructure rollout by the private sector licensees, who are the main engine of growth in the telecom sector. These challenges also affect the quality of telecom services and by extension the Quality of Experience (QoE) of telecom consumers.

“I therefore, urge our panel of eminent speakers to suggest better and more innovative PPP approaches that may be explored by the government towards making our telecoms infrastructure safer, more resilient, more robust, and how we may attract more investment into the sector.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that the next frontier for enriching digital economy globally, is through sustained investment in broadband or high-speed Internet access.

“I will like to reiterate that the Commission is committed to continuously engaging relevant stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors, in the country and beyond, in order to ensure that appropriate infrastructure befitting a modern digital economic system is available in the country to deepen government’s determination and commitment to total digital transformation of services in the country.”

Danabatta congratulated the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) for its consistency in organising ICTEL despite the challenges imposed by the raging pandemic.