By Juliet Umeh

The Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, has said it will roll-out forward-looking and all-inclusive regulatory initiatives to provide market opportunities for all telecommunications licensees, having noticed that a lot of them are not doing well.

The Commission made the promise in Lagos yesterday at a forum to interact with the licensee tagged: “Talk to the Regulator” Forum.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, while speaking at the first day of the two-day programme said the Commission is much aware that not all its licensees are doing as well as they ought to be doing.

Danbatta said: “Several licensees are struggling to pay their staff, many are unable to comply with basic licence obligations, and several are defaulting in the payment of

their Annual Operating Levies, AOL, and the level of interconnect and other inter-licensee indebtedness is still unacceptably high.

“The Commission will continue to roll-out forward-looking and all-inclusive regulatory initiatives to provide market opportunities for all its licensees.

“We have also committed to the constant review of our licensing framework as well as key regulatory instruments so as to refresh our regulatory frameworks and ensure better service delivery for consumers and efficient attainment of other national interest objectives.

However, the industry can only achieve the national interest objectives set out in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, NDEPS, the Nigerian National

Broadband Plan (2020-2025) and other policy instruments if most, if not all, of our licensees are operating at optimal strength.

“We are therefore keenly aware of the need to listen to our licensees and address any concerns that may impede the attainment of the relevant policy objectives,” EVC said.

Also speaking, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management of the NCC, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, said the NCC is currently leading the industry to facilitate the rollout of Broadband Infrastructure so that Nigeria can achieve the target of 70 percent broadband penetration to at least 90 percent of the population by 2025 as articulated in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan.

He said: “We are also working to reach broadband speeds of 15Mbp and 25Mbps in rural and urban areas respectively.

“Furthermore, we recently held a stakeholder engagement to formally commence efforts towards the launch of 5G networks in 2022.

“This would enable Nigerians to enjoy cutting-edge technologies like Internet of Things (loT), Cloud Computing; Quantum Computing, Virtual/Augmented Reality.”

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