NCC says indigenous content Creation will prevent telecom tariff hike

By Joseph Ekeng

In a bid to ensure the stability of telecom tariffs in Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged Nigerians to invest in creating indigenous content that adds value to the telecom sector, ultimately reducing the need for costly imports. The call to action was made during the recently held second edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE 2023) by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta.

Despite facing rising operational costs and forex instability, telecom tariffs have remained stable in Nigeria. Prof Danbatta emphasized that this stability could continue as long as the various components of telecom services shift towards utilizing locally sourced content.

“It is important to note that while Quality of Service and Quality of Experience in telecommunications services in Nigeria have continued to improve, tariffs have remained stable notwithstanding the increase in cost-of-service provision to the telecom operators,” stated Prof Danbatta during the NTICE 2023 event. “In order to sustain and further improve Quality of Service and Quality of Experience in telecommunications services in Nigeria, we must embrace indigenous content and value creation within the telecoms value chain, otherwise, an increase in telecoms tariff will be inevitable.”

Highlighting the NCC’s commitment to fostering indigenous content development, Prof Danbatta mentioned the establishment of the Nigeria Office for Development of Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) in July 2021. NODITS was entrusted with four primary areas of focus: Manufacturing, Human Capacity, Research and Development (R&D), and Software and Services Development for the telecom sector.

The NCC Chairman proudly declared, “Today, I am happy to inform you that NTICE is one of the achievements of NCC through NODITS because it has served not only to promote Pillar number 5 (Strategic Partnering) of the Strategic Management Plan SMP 2020-2024 of the Commission but has also become the flagship indigenous content event for the industry.”

Furthermore, the NCC has incentivized the manufacturing of a Corrugated Optical Duct (COD) to safeguard fiber infrastructure, thus reducing service interruptions due to cuts. The Commission is equally dedicated to supporting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and innovators in the telecom sector through various means, such as angel investments, R&D support, exposure to investors, and sponsorship of local and international tech events.

One of the key achievements stemming from the NCC’s policies is the ban on the importation of whole-body SIM cards, announced at the maiden NTICE event last year. This ban not only alleviates the demand for foreign exchange but has also boosted the local SIM card manufacturing industry in Nigeria, creating business opportunities worth over N55 billion and generating both direct and indirect employment.

Telecom operators in Nigeria have been advocating for tariff increases due to rising costs, but the telecom regulator has prevented such increments, citing the absence of sufficient justification.

The NCC’s call for the creation of indigenous content to sustain stable telecom tariffs reflects a commitment to foster economic growth and self-reliance within the Nigerian telecommunications sector. The emphasis on local content development aligns with the government’s drive to place the Nigerian economy on a sustainable pedestal through sound policies and initiatives.


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