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ATCON Backs Call for Telecoms Industry Infrastructure Bank



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Mr. Ogungboye Muyiwa, managing director and chief executive officer, eStream Networks has called for the establishment of a Telecommunication Infrastructural (Development) Bank to offer players special facilities to deepen service expansions.

Mr. Muyiwa is not alone, as Mr. Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), has thrown weight behind the call, saying that the industry has attained special status following the increasing relevance of ICT in everyday lives.
Speaking to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek in Lagos, Mr. Muyiwa said that if approved, the Infrastructural development bank should be able to cater for the loan facilities for the industry’s which are not realizable under the present commercial banks’ interest rates. 

“Part of my advocacy is what I call Telecoms Infrastructural Bank (TIB), where locals can access loans at single digit; not expensive digits. There will be certain criteria to access the fund. We will be glad to meet the terms and conditions, but a situation where a commercial bank is charging 30% and foreign companies are coming with funds at 2-3% from their countries of origin, of course they will gain the whole market.

“It is very tasking to compete with these people and Government is making it more difficult by not listening to us. They cite the market being deregulated as excuse, but forgetting that in every economy you must protect ‘your-own’”, he told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek.

Nodding in agreement, Teniola, ATCON president, said, “The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports, the ICT industry contributes 9% to the nation’s GDP. It’s on the lips of everyone that our lives now depend on ICT. It is now very rare for one to leave the house without your phones.

“The fact that ICT is such a critical part of the economy you would thought it needs a bank to integrate and sustain it. There have been calls in the past for an ICT Bank to be created. We must understand that the period we are is infrastructure development based which is capital intensive by its nature and needs longer tenure. Unfortunately, the facilities given by the commercial banks in Nigeria are short term. Anything from 0-3years is not enough for the industry.

“So, there is a mismatch between funds required to deploy infrastructure and funds available. That is why telecom players will continue to go for dollar based facility because they are buying things in dollars and requires better facility not available in Nigeria. So, you would have thought we should fix that and the ICT Bank is one approach to addressing the issue”.

Speaking further, Mr. Teniola lamented the disparities in the forex market, which has thrown some players into confusion on the path to follow.

According to him, “The CBN’s position on the 41 items hasn’t changed. The pronouncement made about two years ago is still in effect. As far as the 41 items are concerned, you cannot access CBN’s forex mechanism. It doesn’t mean you can’t get dollars, but it pushes you to the parallel market.

“However, the CBN has intervened over the last three months by injecting quantum of dollars into the wholesale market, which has caused the interbank rating to lessen, which is a window and there is a PTA rate that also is there, which is about N360/$, Banks at N315/$ and the CBN N301/$, the BDC are there and the parallel market. So, what is happening is that through the CBN force, which is the most powerful supplier in the market, they dictated where the parallel market has gone.

The supply of dollar has caused appreciation of Naira. Inadvertently, the pronouncement by the CBN after the NCC EVC’s intervention on the Etisalat issue, there was a window for those who filled the form-M where able to access dollar at PTA rate of N360/$. That is still the case.

“But, we can’t say it is ok for the industry. Reason: it was also with caveat that, if it was not honoured, then you need to re-involve the NCC because the item is still on the 41-items list. Therefore, the industry is not clear on the forex window, operating in uncertainties. We don’t know the rate we are allowed to purchase the forex”.



Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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NCC: US Delegation‎ Visits Commission, Lauds Regulatory Strides



(L-R): Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC; Rachel Atwood Mendiola, Manager, U.S Embassy; Engr. Ubale Ahmed Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC; Mudari Aliyu Dura


Nigerian Communications Commission NCC, Thursday, received a delegation from the United States Embassy in Abuja,

The team, led by Rachel Atwood Mendiola, Fraud Prevention Manager, United States Embassy, was received by the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive, Prof. Umar Danbatta and other top Management staff of the Commission.

The delegation was at the Nigerian Communications Commission’s Head Office to gain insight into the workings of the Commission and to commend NCC’s Management for its regulatory strides in sustaining the growth of the telecommunication industry in Nigeria.


Prof.Danbatta while addressing the delegation, recalled to the admiration of his guests some of the Commission’s efforts in ensuring effective regulation of the telecoms sector and providing an enabling environment for telecoms services to flourish, exponentially attributing the Commission’s successes to the faith reposed on it by the consumers and their unflinching loyalty.


And that is, the reason the Commission commits itself irrevocably to protecting the interest of consumers and all stakeholders in the industry.

He told his guests that, “NCC continues to be a strategic member and active participant in the activities of many bodies including the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), African Telecommunications Union (ATU), and the West Africa Telecommunication Regulators Assembly (WATRA).”

To demonstrate the resilience of the telecommunication sector even in the face of challenging economic climate, Danbatta stayed that the sector contributed about 9.5% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in the second quarter of 2017 and credited the Nigerian telecom consumers with the successes recorded because of their patronage.

The EVC/CEO of NCC said it is the faith the consumers have demonstrated in the sector that made the Management of the Commission to declare the 2017 as the Year of the Telecom Consumer to celebrate the primacy of the consumer and to rededicate itself to addressing the challenges of the consumer.

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NCC Ignores Telcos, Says No to OTT Regulation



Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice chairman

Nigerian Communications Commission [NCC] has said it can’t regulate Over The Top Technology [OTT] for now, refusing the telecom operators’ call that the technology be regulated in the country.


OTT operators are firms like Facebook, WhatsApp, 2go, Instagram and others who ride on social media to reach their audience.


Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice chairman disclosed this Thursday when a delegation from the United States [US] embassy paid a working visit to the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.


‘’ The operators are saying we should do something about the OTT. That the OTT is riding on their infrastructure to make money and all other. But it will be very difficult to regulate OTT,” Prof Danbatta said.


According to him, though NCC understands the operators’ plight ‘’ the truth is that there is nothing we can do for now’’.


The NCC EVC, said he had interacted with head of telecom industry’s regulatory agencies in US and some other advanced economies and he was indirectly told that OTT couldn’t be regulated for now.


He also said NCC couldn’t regulate content in the social media as this falls within the jurisdiction of its sister regulatory agency, the National Broadcasting Commission [NBC].


He also told the US embassy delegation which was led by Rachael Atwood Mendiola to convince US investors to come and invest in Nigeria’s telecom industry as this is the best time to stake their money in the country.


‘’We want investors to come and invest in telecoms infrastructure across the country. I believe they will make their money in no time. Our investment environment is becoming friendlier, our security has improved greatly and the Federal Government had promised some number of incentives for would-be investors.


‘’ Plus we still have access gap. We still have about 200 locations across the country yet to have telecom services. This has cut off about 40million people, including people in my local government in Kano. So, investors can come in and take this opportunities.’’, he said.


But he said the NCC was working to see the access gaps blocked in the next two years.

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Nigeria to Increase Mobile Broadband Subscriptions to 50% by 2020



NCC headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria

By peter oluka

Nigeria has disclosed plans to increasing the current coverage of the active mobile broadband subscription per 100 from 20.95 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020.

This was disclosed by Mr Bolaji Akinremi, minister plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, while delivering Nigeria’s statement on ‘Information and Communications Technologies for Development’ at the UN General Assembly’s debate in New York.

Active mobile broadband subscription is the number of subscriptions to mobile cellular networks with access to data communications – like the Internet – at broadband downstream speeds of 256 kilobit per second.

Nigeria’s mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants increased from 1.0 inhabitant in 2012 to 11.7 inhabitants in 2016.

Akinremi said Nigeria recognised the direct impact of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) on the wellbeing of Nigerians.

“The Government of Nigeria recognises the reality that Information and Communications Technologies has direct impact on the nation’s ability to improve the economic wellbeing of its people.

“The Government of Nigeria is committed to facilitating universal availability and cost-effective access to communications infrastructure and promoting utilisation of ICT in all spheres of life.

“Nigeria is committed to achieving cutting-edge global ICT standards, encourage rapid ICT penetration among all socio-economic levels.

“The Government of Nigeria is also committed to increasing the current coverage of the active mobile broadband subscription per 100 from 20.95 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020.

“Nigeria is committed to promoting and encouraging local production of ICT hard and software so as to reduce import dependence and generate foreign exchange by exporting to the regional and continental markets”.

He said that involving developing countries in the ICT revolution would bridge the wide gap of access to information among people.

According to him, if the information gap keeps widening, the possibility of attaining sustainable development by 2030 is not certain.

“It is in this vein that Nigeria further calls on Member States to consider giving Information and Communications Technologies a pride of place in the education curriculum. By so doing, they will undoubted bridge the digital divide,” Akinremi added.

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