Nigerian Communication Commission on Tuesday said there was inflow of about $68 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the telecommunication sector of the country despite economic recession.
This was disclosed by NCC Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Prof Umar Dambatta, at a seinsitisation workshop on code of corporate governance for the telecosm industry at teh Derenassance Hotel, Ikeja.
Dambatta, who spoke on “Sustaining the Telecoms Industry as a Leverage for the Next Economy,” said these acheivements were accomplished in spite of the crushing recession ravaging the economy.
He said: “The sector continues to contribute incrementally to the GDP of the nation which currently stands at 9.8 per cent notwithstanding the impact of recession on investment flows. That is against 8.5 per cent in 2015 and less than 1.00 per cent in 2001. Factoring in direct and indirect investment in the telecoms sector over the last 16 years, it has pulled in investment of over $68billion and when the GDP impact of these local and FDI are factored in, the contribution of the sector would even be higher than stated.”
Also speaking, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Managment at NCC, Mr Sunday Dare, said the regulator has taken proactive step to avert business collapse in the sector by undertaking to conduct financial and technical health check on the telcos.
He said the exercise will not only enhance business sustainability but will also put closure to issues arising from from poor quality of service (QoS). According to him, a team of chartered accountants will go through the books of the telcos to ascertain their financial fitness while technical experts will also examine the technical well being of the telcos. He said the technical audit will establish the technical capacity of the telcos to carry the traffic on their networks, adding that recommendations will be made when and where necessary for capacity expansion.
Prof Dambatta said the sector has been showing sterling performance due to quality of regulatory oversight provided by the Commission, stressing that the Code of Corporate Governance for Telecoms Sector has passed through the phase of voluntary compliance to mandatory phase.
“The code of corporate governance for telecoms industry was developed to raise the standard of leadership role as drivers of the overall growth of the national economy.
“Sustaining improvement in standard of international best practices will ensure that the sector is strongly positioned to play the facilitator or ensure that the sector enabler role which has come to represent in the contemporary world economic ecosystem. As technology trends emerge to disrupt traditional economic order the sector must order, the sector must must leverage strength to provide the backbone needed to ride the storm of the disruption on that evolution.
“All sectors of every national economy have become dependencies on telecommunications and ICT, and failure in the sector would have far reaching negative ramification and thus be the onus is on the sector build capacity to lead effectively,” Prof Dambatta explained.
He lamented that in the last 16 years of the telecoms revolution, many operators have fallen by the way side largely owing to internal management issues than from technical challenges. He said as the industry migrates more towards knowledge economy and higher level economic infrastructure dependence on internet and ICT support services, it would no longer be desirable for such collapses to occur hence the need to sensitise operators on the observed poor corporate governance practices which had contributed to failures in the past.
“We have as an industry developed this code of corporate governance which has since late 2016 become mandatory with a regime of compliance monitoring instituted and enforcement framework developed. This sensitisation workshop is part of the commission’s standard consultative approach aimed at securing wholesome industry buy-in.
“We are already in the era of internet of things (IoT) where every sector will depend on telecoms and It infrastructure to maximally operate.
The full impact of the collective coolaborative partnership of the industry operators through buy-in of the governance principles espoused in the code will simultaneously enhance foru elements of my eight point agenda tin the following areas:
Promotion of ICT innovation and investment, as the sector becomes more investment attractive; facilitation of strategic collaboration and partnership as there will be greater synergy in the sector which will build trust and lead to greater opportunity for self-regulation; promotion of fair competition and inclusive growth, enhancing suatainability; and regulatory excellence and operational efficiency putting the industry in a leading position to pull the country in the economic growth direction it is presently being redirected.
We are at the threshold of the next telecoms revolution in Nigeria and we must position to avoid the consequent disruption that will follow it.
The strategic objective being to entrench the Code as operational baseline frowm which entities can aspire to higher performance standards.