The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is set to roll out minimum financial health requirements for all licensed telecommunications operators as part of its move to push the Nigerian Telecoms Sector into the next growth phase and eliminate distress in the sector.
The NCC today unveiled a five – year (2020-2024) Strategic Management Plan(SMP) called ASPIRE 2024 that will leverage the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) as well as the new National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020 – 2025 Roadmaps.
It will cover the guiding principles and act as the operations manual for the Commission towards actualising the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government in the next five years.
The Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (2020 – 2024) comprises of five pillars:
Regulatory Excellence: The Commission aims to develop adaptive and sustainable regulation to ensure efficient regulatory service to all stakeholders.
Universal Broadband Access: Broadband Access is critical to the achievement of the Digital Economy Policy of the Government. The Commission aims at achieving pervasive and inclusive broadband access by providing incentives for broadband deployment in Nigeria.
Promote Development of Digital Economy: The Commission will provide the necessary regulations and initiatives for the achievement of the Digital Economy policy thrust of the Government.
Market Development: The Commission through its policies and directions will ensure a dynamic market that drives innovation necessary for economic growth.
Strategic Partnering: The NCC aims at mutually sustainable collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
The move to roll out minimum financial health requirements for Telco’s like MTNN, Glo, Airtel and 9mobile, comes under the market development segment of the plan.
Other plans under this segment include: annual financial audit of investment base for operators, rollout incentives for broadband infrastructure, expediting the rollout of iNFRACOs, reviewing existing policies on communication resource and Spectrum trading guidelines, and optimizing the use Digital Dividend Spectrum.
MoneyCentral had earlier reported that broad band provider MainOne reported a loss for the 2019 financial year, which could come under more scrutiny by the regulator NCC following this new plan.
9 Mobile recently came out of bankruptcy protection with new owners, while there have been issues of unpaid interconnectivity debts lingering in the industry.
The Nigerian telecommunications industry has made giant strides since 2003 when the first GSM licenses were issued.
As at January 2020, active mobile subscribers were 186 million, industry mobile tele-density, 97.4 percent, broadband subscription stood at 73.5 million and broadband penetration, 38.5 percent.
However, 4G adoption in Nigeria was only 12.2 percent of total connections within the same period. Mobile broadband download speed is still very low with Nigeria ranked at 104th in the world as at July 2019.
However, the telecom industry led by MTNN, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile has consistently continued to be a leading contributor to the national economy.
The contribution of the industry to Nigerian GDP in the second quarter of 2019 amounted to 11.39 percent compared to 10.11 percent in the preceding quarter but the contribution dipped to 10.39 percent in the last quarter of the year due to the general lull in the economy, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).