The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, has told the House Committee on Telecommunications how the telecoms agency contributed to the revenue drive of the Federal Government by generating and remitting N344.71 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in the last five years.
Danbatta stated this while briefing the Committee members, led by their Chairman, Prince Akeem Adeyemi, during a legislative oversight function on the Commission in Abuja.
The EVC, said the relationship between the Commission and the National Assembly, contributed to the successes recorded so far.
He said such relationship, the diligent oversight by the lawmakers and necessary legislative support have brought forth a lot of dividends 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,” he said.
Danbatta said telecoms sector’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) appreciated from 8.5 per cent in 2015 to 14.30 per cent as of the second quarter of 2020. In financial value, the 14.30 per cent translates to N2.272 trillion in Q2.
He also said telecoms investment grew from around $38 billion in 2015 to over $70 billion currently.
Furthermore, Professor Danbatta noted that the Commission was promoting financial inclusion by encouraging the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to actively participate in providing financial services towards actualising FG’s 80 per cent financial inclusion target by 2020.
He said through the collaboration of critical stakeholders like the National Assembly, the NCC has been able to increase broadband penetration from 6 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 per cent 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.
Meanwhile, Adeyemi, in his remarks, said the oversight function was in line with relevant sections of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution, as amended, which empowers the House 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, however, commended the Commission for its transparency in ensuring remittances to CRF of the Federal Government, considering the current revenue drive of the government.
The committee urged the Commission 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.