During a recent media chat in Kano, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed that telecoms investments in Nigeria have skyrocketed from $38 billion to $77 billion by the second quarter of 2023.
Prof. Danbatta also highlighted that the telecom sector has contributed a significant 16 percent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during this period, based on statistics computed by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics.
Under Prof. Danbatta's leadership, the telecom industry has seen substantial growth, evolving from an 8 percent GDP contribution in 2015 to its current 16 percent, positively impacting various aspects of the economy. This growth can be attributed to consistent regulatory excellence and operational efficiency upheld by the NCC.
In terms of telecom usage, the number of telephone users in Nigeria has surged to 218.9 million, internet subscribers have reached 159.5 million, and broadband users now stand at 88.7 million. However, several challenges persist, including right-of-way issues, fiber cuts, high capital requirements for deployment, multiple taxations, and regulatory barriers affecting broadband expansion.
Despite these challenges, Prof. Danbatta affirmed the NCC's commitment to addressing them and enhancing digital access. The NCC plans to establish emergency communication centers in all 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to improve distress and emergency response coordination.
Additionally, the NCC has increased research grants to universities from N20 million to N30 million, benefiting three universities so far. Prof. Danbatta emphasized that the NCC views telecommunications as a vital enabler for the country's economic progress, continually striving to provide affordable and accessible telecom services.
However, the NCC faces obstacles such as the wilful destruction of its facilities and the imposition of 41 categories of taxes on telecom companies. Despite these challenges, the commission remains dedicated to engaging with media stakeholders and keeping the public informed about its activities.