By Nwadigwe Nitzack
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Professor Umar Danbatta, has given assurances to potential investors in the telecommunications sector on Nigeria’s commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of their investments in the country.
Speaking at the investment forum session of the country at the ongoing ITU Telecom World, as the global ICT community continues to brainstorm on the future of the industry in Busan, South Korea, Danbatta said it was part of the Federal Government’s strategy to protect the sanctity of contracts and ensure that genuine investors’ interests are protected in the country.
He therefore assured potential investors in the telecommunications sector of Nigeria’s commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of their investments. The NCC boss relayed the story of how his Commission, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), prevented a takeover bid for a telecommunications company by a consortium of banks back in Nigeria.
He said “The NCC is assuring the investors that our doors are open and that we will do whatever we can within the regulatory mandate assigned to us to ensure that their investment is safe and secure,” adding that the Commission would continue to build a reputation “of a firm but flexible agency”, which provides incentives to operators and potential investors in order to ensure the gains recorded over the past couple of years are sustained.
“We collaborated with a sister agency to successfully stave off the takeover of a telecommunications company by a consortium of banks. Banks are not competent to run telecommunications companies. They should concentrate their efforts on making the financial sector more robust, which I believe they are doing. I have no doubt about it.
“This company is now rebranded as 9 Mobile and is providing services to over 20 million Nigerians. Nigerians are on the payroll of the company. The message we are sending out to investors is that in NCC we are always committed to ensure stability in the telecoms sector of Nigeria as well as making sure the safety of the investment is guaranteed,” he said.
At the opening of Nigeria’s pavilion at the ICT fiesta earlier, Danbatta told the dignitaries in attendance, including the ITU Secretary General, Houlin Zhao, that Nigeria’s engagement with the global community during the event would include creating awareness of the investment opportunities in Africa’s biggest Telecom market, as well as guarantee of adequate Returns on Investments (RoIs).
“In this connection, we are here to tell the ICT community that Nigeria with a population of about 170 million is a preferred investment destination in Africa.
“With over 150 million active subscribers, in the voice segment, over 102 per cent teledensity and a little over 92 million internet connections, Nigeria is indeed a place to invest,” he said.
Those who spoke at the investment forum include former Minister of Communications Technology, Omobola Johnson; the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku; and the ITU scribe, Mr Zhao.
Danbatta told the investors the story of how the NCC, in collaboration with Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), prevented a takeover bid for a telecommunications company by a consortium of banks back in Nigeria.
He said the NCC would continue to build a reputation “of a firm but flexible agency”, which provides incentives to operators and potential investors in order to ensure the gains recorded over the past couple of years are sustained.
… Pledges to ensure greater access to information
From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Executive Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has said the commission is working hard to ensure that Nigerians have greater access to information.
Danbatta, who stated this during a workshop on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Utilisation and Sustainability for the South-South Zone held in Calabar yesterday, maintained that the commission will not restrict Nigerians to the information space alone.
Represented by the Head of Strategy, Universal Service Provision Fund, Mr. Kelechi Nwankwo, he said there are several things people want the commission to do to restrict the information space in the light of hate speeches, which are prevalent in the country but the commission will be guided by extant regulations. He said: “We need to make sure that people have access to information and not restrict it. It’s more like self-regulation. People need to be mindful of what they put online and be responsible for it. Government is monitoring and ensuring that people have access to information.”
He disclosed that NCC is implementing an eight-point agenda within the strategic Vision 2015 – 2020, adding that this vision aims at promoting innovation, investment, competition and consumer empowerment in and on top of the communication platforms of today and the future.
According to him, this agenda is factored upon a tripod of availability of service, accessibility of service and affordability of service (triple A), which will maximise the power of information and communications technology.
“At the end of this programme, we have agreed on sustainable solutions on how to advance the use of ICT for development (ICT4Dev) by facilitating and supporting the development, adoption and usage of technology innovations for improvement in agriculture, healthcare, education and security amongst other socio-economic activities,” he further stated.
The Executive Chairman further disclosed that the commission will introduce some programmes, including Community Resource Centre (CRC) and School Knowledge Centre (SKC) to enlighten stakeholders on global trends as well as national objectives on the use of CRCs and SKCs to equip benefitting communities with the skills necessary to study, work and play in the 21st century.