Nigeria’s telecommunications sector contributed over $70 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the last one year, the country’s telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said.
Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, made this known in South Africa during his speech at the 2018 ITU Telecom World Conference which is ending today.
According to him, the sector has consistently contributed an average of $5 billion to the GDP in half-year 2018, thereby marking a considerable increase since 2017 when it contributed $70 billion.
In all, the contributions by Nigeria’s telecommunications sector to the GDP has increased by 10.5%, up from 9.1% in 2016.
But more needs to be done
Professor Danbattta went ahead to admit that even though Nigeria’s telecoms sector is performing well, more needs to be done to take advantage of the opportunities that abound in the sector.
According to him, the NCC is already working to this effect by putting measures in place to incentivise Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to speedily deploy “infrastructure that will deepen broadband penetration” and encourage greater investment in the sector.
In his own words:
“THIS IS PART OF THE ROADMAP TO TAKE NIGERIA TO THE NEXT LEVEL UNDER THE OPEN ACCESS MODEL TEMPLATE. SO FAR, SIX INFRACO LICENCES HAVE BEEN ISSUED TO COVER LAGOS, NORTH EAST, NORTH WEST, SOUTH SOUTH, SOUTH WEST AND SOUTH EAST ZONES OF THE COUNTRY. ARRANGEMENTS ARE UNDERWAY TO RE-LICENSE THE NORTH CENTRAL ZONE.”
Over the past decade, the telecoms sector has grown to become a major component of the Nigerian economy. It has made life easier for most Nigerians, created new frontiers in the economy, and ensured that hundreds of thousands of Nigerians are directly and indirectly employed.
Asides the value and revenue generated by the telecom sector, it has also been fraught with many controversies thereby requiring intensive regulatory oversight. First, there was the debt crisis that rocked Etisalat Nigeria (now 9mobile), and the MTN many regulatory infractions, including violation of SIM registration requirement and illegal repatriation of funds to South Africa.