The Federal Government earned about ₦362.3 billion from the telecoms sector in the last five years, according to the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta.
Specifically, this revenue came from spectrum fees and operating surplus from the sector.
Danbatta said this yesterday in Abuja at the maiden National dialogue on telecoms and ICT sector in Nigeria with the theme: “Harnessing the Digital Resources for the building of our National Economy.”
The event was organised by the Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ATCON). He said: “The commission has remitted N362.34 billion from 2015 to date to the Federal Government Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) through spectrum fees and operating surplus, which has helped to boost the revenue-generation drive of the current administration.”
According to him, to optimise the usage and benefit of spectrum, a number of initiatives such as spectrum trading, infrastructure sharing, satellite infrastructure and wireless infrastructure have been put in place to drive socio-economic development.
The EVC said the transfer of the spectrum licence of 2X 10MHz in the 900MHz E-GSM Spectrum band from Intercellular Nigeria to Airtel networks Limited amounted to the sum of N8.9 billion.
“It is interesting to mention that all the initiatives have helped the commission to ensure effective utilization of spectrum. We have also identified potential frequency bands to be harmonised for the impending 5G deployment, which include 26 GHz, 38GHz and 42GHz,” he stated.
On quality of service, the EVC appealed to the operators to pay up their Interconnect debt, which he put at ₦70 billion. He said refusal of operators to pay each other is slowing expansion of telecoms services in the country.
According to him, despite the level of investments that have gone into the sector, some 25 million Nigerians in some 114 locations in the country have no access to basic telephony services.
The EVC recalled that on assumption of office in 2015, the Commission gave priority to Quality of Service (QoS) and observed that two prominent factors, identified as “technical” and “non-technical” were impacting its delivery.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, urged Nigerians to key into the Federal Government’s digital economy project.
Pantami, represented by Danbatta, said the digital economy was not independent of the traditional economy, stressing that they were interdependent.
He said the World Economic Forum had predicted that over 60 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be digitised by 2022 and that over the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70 per cent of new value.