By Etuka Sunday
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday disclosed it remitted the sum of N49,792,870,113.00 (Forty-nine Billion, Seven Hundred and Ninety-two Million, Eight Hundred and Seventy Thousand, One Hundred and Thirteen Naira Only) to the Federal Government Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) within the first four months of 2018, in compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 (FRA 2007).
This figure represents “Payment on Account” in respect of operating surplus for the year 2018. According to the FRA 2007, such payments are to be made every year after preparation of Audited Accounts. However, the NCC has taken the initiative to be making payments on Account as it generates revenue.
Section 22, Sub section 1 of the Act states that “Notwithstanding the provisions of any written law governing the Corporation, each Corporation shall establish a general reserve fund and shall allocate thereto at the end of each financial year, one fifth of its operating surplus for the year”.
Section 22, Sub section 2 of the Act is clear about this: “The balance of the operating surplus shall be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government not later than one month following the statutory deadline for publishing each Corporations Account”.
The funds remitted are besides Spectrum Assignment fees which are remitted 100 percent to the Federal Government in line with Section 17, Sub section 3 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA 2003).
The section states that “the Commission shall pay all monies accruing from the sale of Spectrum under part 1 of Chapter VIII into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR)”.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta enumerated how telecommunications has impacted the Nigerian economy positively.
During a courtesy visit to the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele recently, Danbatta quoted figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to justify this impact.
For instance in the first quarter of 2017, telecommunications contributed N1.45Trillion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while the figures rose to N1.549Trillion in the second quarter of 2017.
“This performance at a period of recession is very remarkable”, Prof. Danbatta explained adding that “we are keeping dates with the NBS to identify and track how these trends continue”
In general terms, telecoms industry contribution to GDP in Nigeria stands at 10 percent yearly in the last four years, Prof. Danbatta submitted.
The EVC said these figures may not tell the entire story, because investments in human and material resources are on the rise daily.
From a paltry $50million investment in the sector in 2001, the figures stand at $70billion as at September, 2017.
Value Added Services segment of the sector investment is over $200m and estimated to hit $500m by the turn of 2021.
The Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Tony Ojobo in a statement said, the industry has provided direct and indirect employment to millions of Nigerians and over 150million subscribers are connected to various networks with broadband penetration currently at 22% according to the UNESCO/ITU Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
The NCC is working hard to achieve the 30% penetration according to the National Broadband Plan (NBP), (2013 – 2018), Prof. Danbatta submitted.