Telecoms sector has generated $500bn for FG — NCC boss

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After a painstaking exercise and consultation, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has unveils his  eight point agenda from 2015-2020 and talks about some other topical issues on the industry. He spoke with journalists in Lagos. ADEDEJI ADEYEMI FAKOREDE was there.

HOW many job do you intend to create from 2015-2020, the volume of investment you are projecting within this five years?
It is very easy to achieve this, I intend to provide statistics, and according to the statistics we have created half of a million permanent jobs in this industry and close to two million non-permanent jobs. The total jobs created is 2.5millions created together with some attended to this wealth creation. I will also wait to look whether the effort we are creating to give job before giving statistics.

What is your specific plans regarding the broadband objective?
Even before I was appointed there was a national broadband plan for the country and the NCC was giving the duty to look at the issue of infrastructure and broadband services in the country to all citizen there is a model put in place which we met and presently making use of, I know also from the information given to me that two zones have also be licensed mainone for Lagos zone and IHS for North central zone for infrastructure deployment. So far, not much is going on by the way of deployment in the two zones. Meaning five zones in the country namely South West, South East, South South, North West and North East there are no infraco licenses so far for these zones. Let me say the issue of licensing for these remaining zones will be soon is completed and infraco will emerge and transparent will be used in the issue of infraco for the remaining zones. I have invited mainone for a meeting to sort out the issue for the deployment of infrastructure for the Lagos zone. The IHS infrastructure for the north central I intend to meet with them in a constructive way to see that the provision of licensing for the north central zone is being implemented. In three to six month this will be concluded and visible effort will be seen.

How do you intend to manage the 2.6GHz and 700MHz spectrum sold, and how do you intend to penetrate broadband in the country?
We know the statistics that we can be able to get through deployment of broadband services and this will increase our GDP by 1.5 including the current GDP from 9.5% to 12% that’s the projection by expert in broadband deployment and broadband services. It will always serve the important role of broadband in the improvement of the GDP. We can achieve this through broadband vision. 700meg spectrum is be taken by the frequency statutory council and the issue of the spectrum has not yet be concluded, once it is concluded press will be brief. Parts of the proceeds of the 2.6 GHz spectrum will be used as compensation for the broadcast station companies. We have taken step to set up committee in auctioning of the spectrum and along with the 900 GHz.

What are the financial implications of licensing the infraco?
The licensing of infraco is also all other licensing of all other operators and it is through due process and it is through auctioning and we normally give this licensing to the highest bidder and it will be difficult for me to say this is how much Nigeria government will make out of the auctioning process that will be put in motion. Whatever money is made will go into the coffers of the federal government. The commission does not keep the money of all licensing of all operators.

What is your plan to revive the CDMAs?
We have decided to let go services offer by CDMA technology, many country still sustain services provided by analogue technology, the recent acquisition of the last surviving CDMA Visafone was approved by the commission so that the company (MTN) that acquire visafone will be able to roll out services that visafone is known for, we will continue to engage other operators who may want to revive this dying technology. Additional service providers that want to invest in the CDMA will be welcome. We will continue to encourage the revival of this technology.

What are your short terms and long term plans for your agenda?
I remember given a time of three month we won’t do it in conversional way, three month given which who will come out through our mechanism for monitoring and evaluation and the implementation of this eight point goals of the vision?

How do you intend to improve the quality of service?
The first conscious step I took with the management of NCC is to set up the task force on improvement on quality of service. The task force is also looking at the technical issues that degrade quality of services because there are technical factors that negatively affect the quality of service. The technical factors are factors within the power of the commission the commission have the capacity to monitor the parameters that affect the quality of services. We normally do this by operator basis. We have the Key performance indicators that are being used to do this. We also use this to look at the performance of the operators who are not complying with this. If the directive given by the regulator is not been complied with we enforce so that our stipulation are complied with. However effective quality of service, multiple taxation we have been talking about all the while were operator are being subjected to the level of taxation at the federal, state and local government. We have asked the federal government to prevail on the Nigeria Governors forum to ensure implementation of the national economy council on the implementation of the right of way (RoW). I think much work has being done to the issue of RoW were telecom operators have the right in the deployment of their infrastructure. Power supply also affects the QoS and we have advised operators to look at alternative way to power their base stations. Exploring other way to power their base stations and we have also make a bill to the national assembly that will give necessary protection to telecommunication infrastructure and this needs the protection of the federal government and anybody who vandalise the infrastructure will be criminalized. We have also engaged federal and state government in talks for us to install transceivers’ devices into office to improve the quality of service. The task force is still working and we normally receive report on monthly basis on the improvement of the quality services.

What is the latest corning the sim card registration because even people who have registered were also asked to re-register again?
The Sim card registration is also a tropical issue is still ongoing because we do receive statistics of Sims that are not properly registered, I just have my own Sim card registered recently because am also a victim of this. We are appealing with subscribers to cooperate with the operators and also with the commission so that we can have a reliable database of all sim card holders in the country. It is in the interest of the country and also the interest of the planning of the socio-economic of the country. On the arbitrary deduction the commission is also looking at the factor and we believe that the issue will be a forgetting thing because the commission will engage the operators very soon by reading riot act to them on the arbitrary deduction. We are concerned about the deductions and all other things the consumers are being subjected to and we intend to put a monitoring mechanism on this.

What the vision behind the smart Nigeria?
The smart Nigeria project is a concept that denotes services that operate on the hard and software technology this is the vision of the communication ministry. The reality of the vision will require the deployment of necessary technology for the achievement of this. Going the smart way will be a great benefit for the country.

What the latest on the NCC and MTN issue?
Have being informed by our counsel that MTN have made the move to resolve the matter amicably out of court and the position of this was presented by MTN counsel in court and the judge has granted the request for amicably settlement out of court.

NCC is planning a national mobile roaming service what will be the significant of this on the industry?
We are still engaging stakeholders to get their reactions or acceptability of this plan as soon the exercise is completed we will make this known because the commission do not stampede stakeholders to agree with our point of view always, we are normally persuasive on our decision making process. Very soon the exercise will be completed and official statement will be given.

What the worth of the industry the last worth is $32billion investment?
I agree with that, the sectors has deposited $500bn into the account of the federal government and the sector has also created about 2.5million jobs both direct and indirect employment and contribution to GDP is about 9.5% this statistic is given to provide progress that has been made in the sector till date.

What do we intend to take away from your tenure?
I will like to be judge by the effort I have made to translate the broadband plan of the government into practice, I will like to be judge by the statistics that will be made available at the end of my tenure, statistics that will provide the provision of the progress we have made in broadband deployment, and job creation that we have made through this plan.

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