NCC begins spectrum licensing framework review

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…As Queen of Netherlands Commends agency

By SAMSON AKINTARO

The Nigerian Communications Commission has instituted processes that will lead to a review of the licensing framework for telecommunication spectrum administration in Nigeria. Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, stated this yesterday as he presented the 23rd Inaugural Lecture at Bayero University, Kano.

Danbatta said the vision of the Commission and the importance of spectrum as a critical but limited national resource demands that it has to be managed judiciously to ensure the needs if all stakeholders are accommodated.

The NCC Chief Executive also seized the opportunity of that platform to inform members of the academic community that telecoms contributed about N1.452 trillion to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2017.

This feat, he said, happened in spite of the challenges affecting the telecommunications sector. Some of the challenges highlighted by Danbatta include obstacles of securing appropriate permissions such as Right of Way (RoW) for the laying of fibre optics infrastructure. “There is also the energy challenge in terms inadequate and constant supply of electrical power, vandalism of infrastructure; and multiple taxation” he said.

He also spoke on the methodology adopted in the Commission’s Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) which is based on HonshinKanri/Policy Deployment method, which ensures strategic goals of the NCC drive progress and action at every level of Commission’s activities.

Prof. Danbatta was a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering in the Faculty of Technology at Bayero University Kano for 28 years. During this period he taught courses in telecommunications engineering and electronics, and held academic positions as Dean of the Faculty as well as Head of Department at different times.

Meanwhile, Her Majesty, Queen Maxima of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, has commended NCC’s robust regulation of telecommunication services in Nigeria, its collaboration on national financial inclusion strategy. The Queen, who gave this commendation during his visit to the Commission’s office in Abuja as part of her global itinerary for advocacy on financial inclusiveness to enhance individual and national development, promised to support Nigeria to achieve greater safe, sound and sustainable financial inclusion.

The royal lady, who visited the Commission in her capacity as the Special Advocate of the United Nations’ Secretary General for Inclusive Finance for Development, was received with NCC’s renowned warmth and enthusiasm by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta, who led other Management staff that include the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Mr. Sunday Dare.

Financial inclusion as defined by the UN and amplified by Wikipedia, is access to a full range of financial services to all households at a reasonable cost; build around sound and safe institutions governed by clear regulations and performance standards; financial and institutional sustainability for continuity and certainty of investments; and competition to ensure choice and affordability.

Accordingly, Prof. Danbatta said available statistics demand a strategic response to ensure greater financial inclusion in Nigeria, and recalled that Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy is set to reduce the percentage of the financially excluded adult population in Nigeria to 20 percent by Year 2020 – as at 2016, about 40.1 percent of the Nigerian adult population are financially excluded.

The EVC informed the Queen that NCC is very much committed to the actualization of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy. “Just recently, the final draft of a Memorandum of Understanding between CBN and NCC was signed, and the CBN-NCC Joint Technical Committee on Mobile Money has instituted processes that will ensure that Mobile Network Operators, MNOs, register Special Purpose Vehicles, SPVs, to enable them become Mobile Money Operators (MMOs)” Danbatta stated.

He praised the Queen for her global efforts at promoting financial inclusion and noted that Her Majesty has been “a leading global voice advancing universal access to affordable, effective, and safe financial services”, a worthy duty and service which Her Majesty’s commitment to is further demonstrated by the visit to Nigeria and the Commission.

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