The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Dambata, has said that Nigeria was a business destination for the international community with government policies put in place to attract investors and guarantee quick returns on investments.
He stated this while welcoming a delegation from the American Embassy led by Rachel Atwood Mendiola, on what the NCC does as a regulator of the telecom industry.
According to the NCC boss, “In the area of investment we have been trying to convince the international community about the attractions in the market and this is a going time to invest. The government has come out with policies that are attractive to the investor which include the policy on the ease of doing business, which was recently signed by government.
“If there is one sector that investors can put their money and get quick returns, it is the telecom sector. This is as a result of the statistics available. We keep improving on our regulations in order to attain our goal of 30% penetration by 2018. We have achieved 22% and are now left with 8% to go.
“We are about to license infrastructure service companies, those who will be licensed to provide infrastructure in the seven zones of the country. Two zones have been licensed already (Lagos and Abuja).”
Rachel Atwood while briefing the NCC Executive Vice Chairman, disclosed that the mission of the delegation was to specifically know the NCC’s mandate in the telecom industry and brief the US Consular who was new in Nigeria and would want to know its workings in relation to the culture of Nigerians.
“We came here specifically to know what your organisation does and how it relates to the Nigerian society,” she stated.
Prof. Dambata briefed them on how the NCC had been able to properly regulate the telecom sector by providing a level playing field for all investors and also provide a healthy competition amongst all players.
He added, “We regulate the telecom sector through a regulatory framework to ensure that the sector is properly regulated and ensure a level playing field for all investors to invest. This is done with the aid of the Telecom Act 2003, which is 14 years now.
‘’We also issue guidelines and directive. We promote healthy competition in the industry; when we notice anything that will distort the market we quickly move in. If a promo that is not healthy for the market is about to be brought in we quickly say don’t bring that in.”
The Executive Vice Chairman also stated the Nigeria played in the global telecom industry and that with a subscriber base of over 150 million the international community should come and invest in Nigeria.
“We are a global player in the Telecom industry and Nigeria is a council member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and we are campaigning for re-election again in 2018 in Dubai and we are also aspiring to be the Director of the Bureau for Information Development an organ of ITU.
‘’We are member African Telecommunications Union and also a member of West African Telecommunications Regulators Agency with Secretariat in Abuja. Nigeria has produced the Executive Secretary on Two occasions,’’ he explained.
He added that with a subscriber base of over 150 million the international community should come in and invest in the sector, saying that the industry had shown remarkable resilience and contributed 9% to the country’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP) and between 4-5 billion quarterly.