The Guardian (Lagos)

10 August 2014

Nigeria: Investments in Telecoms Sector Hit $32 Billion

- NCC partners EFCC on reforms

THE investment profile in Nigeria's telecommunications sector has grown to $32 billion, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said.

The $32 billion investments dated back from 2001 to now, following the successful liberalization of the sector. President Goodluck Jonathan affirmed last October, the growing profile of the industry, which he said has been growing by 30 per cent on a yearly basis.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who disclosed the figure in Abuja, at the weekend, during an anti-corruption interactive session organised by the commission in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), noted that currently, there are over 130 million connected lines across all the telecommunications networks in the country.

Juwah represented by his Chief of Staff, Jere Ugwu, said the telecommunications industry started from its humble beginning in 2001 with a paltry investment of $500 million, adding that the investments in the sector now stand at over $32 billion.

According to him, telecommunications contribution to the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) within the period has shot up from 4.5 per cent to 8.69 per cent in the recent re-based GDP.

As such, he said the commission has continued to receive international applause as well as attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to the industry and country in general.

It will be recalled that as at 2011, the sector's investment was $25 billion.

Already, the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), including MTN Nigeria; Airtel; Globacom; Etisalat; Visafone among others claimed to have provided mobile telecommunications service to 64 per cent of the country's population and had contributed in taxes, over N160 billion to government coffers. The country's teledensity currently stands at over 90 per cent.

Juwah explained that the profile and exponential growth of the sector would attract attention to the industry and challenge the moral, professional and ethical commitment of the regulatory body.

Speaking on the partnership between NCC and EFCC in the fight against corruption, Juwah said both agencies are vested with the primary roles of building a modern, enlightened, informed and civic-oriented society.

According to him, while the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 mandates the NCC with promoting the provision of modern, universal, efficient, reliable, affordable and easily accessible communications services, it also mandates the commission to encourage local and foreign investments among others.

"The EFCC is the designated Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Nigeria, charged with the responsibility of co-ordinating the various institutions involved in financial intermediation primed to fight against money laundering, fraud and terrorism financing," Juwah said.

The NCC boss pointed out that the guiding principles of the commission include: fairness, firmness and forthrightness in all transactions, describing EFCC as the essential tripod that drives the core values of integrity, excellence, professionalism, responsiveness and innovation.

Responding, the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde thanked the management of the NCC and expressed his pleasure at addressing staff at the unique occasion of the Anti-corruption Sensitisation Programme designed especially for public and private sector workers in direct response to the mandate of the commission to prevent economic crimes, including corruption.

Lamorde said similar campaigns have in the past been extended to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG); Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC); Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC); National Directorate of Employment (NDE); Ministry of Transport, Anti-Corruption and Transparency Monitoring Units (ACTU) among others.

The Executive Chairman of EFCC commended the EVC of NCC and his management team for accepting to partner with the EFCC to fight the monster called corruption, adding that the partnership would go a long way to show that NCC is a key player in the fight against corruption particularly in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector of the economy.

Lamorde called on Juwah to accept his proposal for the establishment of an NCC Integrity Section to work with the ACTU.

The unit, he explained is expected to be the rallying point for the promotion of transparency and accountability in NCC.

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