The effective regulation of the nation’s telecommunications industry has made the sector a major contributor to the nation’s economic growth and development.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, affirmed at the third annual conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) held in Lagos.
Represented by Omoniyi Ibietan, Head, Online Media and Special Publications, NCC, Danbatta said at 11.39 percent contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as at the second quarter of 2019, the telecom subsector remains a major actor in the national economy.
He said, through effective regulation by the NCC, the number of Internet users has risen to 122.6 million while broadband penetration currently stands at 35 percent. The NCC Chief Executive also informed the forum that the cumulative investment profile in the telecom sector is $70 billion.
According to Danbatta, the liberalisation of telecoms sector which started 18 years ago has triggered tremendous growth. He revealed that active telephone lines in Nigeria is now 175 million and that represents a teledensity of 91.65 per cent.
The EVC, who made his remark on the sub-theme: ‘‘NCC, SIM Registration, Security and National Development’’ stressed that with respect to Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Cards Registration and its connection with national security, the Commission is working with the operators and other stakeholders to ensure credible SIM data needed to improve security of lives and property to enhance national economic development.
He said: “I will like to remind us that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), established by the NIMC 2007 Act, has released the National Identification Number Regulations 2017, which provides that a person must provide his or her National Identity Number (NIN) in order to register a telephone SIM card.”
Danbatta said the NCC, in collaboration with all stakeholders, has instituted processes to ensure compliance with the extant regulation. He also said that NCC has been engaged in continuous verification exercise of the SIM data collected by the MNOs and their SIM registration agents across the country in order to deliver on its mandate.
“This is part of the Commission’s consistent regulatory interventions to ensure that we have credible subscriber data. I, therefore, would like to use this opportunity to encourage Nigerians who want to acquire new SIM cards, to ensure that they obtain a National Identity Number first,” the EVC advised.
Danbatta stressed that the Commission is irrevocably commitment to using telecoms to support the policies of the Federal Government, particularly to improve the economy, enhance security of lives and property and to fight corruption in our society. He thanked GOCOP members for using their platforms to disseminate the Commission’s programmes and policies to its various stakeholders.
Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event and he delivered a goodwill message.
The main paper for the event titled: “Economy, Security and National Development’’ was presented by Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto.
Radical Economist and former Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo, Prof. Akpan Hogan Ekpo, represented by Prof. Douglason Omotor, the Economic Development Advisor at the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) made a presentation on Nigeria’s economic situation.
A security expert and former Director at the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, also presented a paper on the nation’s security situation.