NCC Seeks House’s Cooperation in Telecom Regulations

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Following the recent reduction in MTN fine to N33 billion, coupled with the reaction of the members of the House of Representatives who had kicked against the reduction, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has called for more cooperation and understanding of members of the House of Representatives, on regulatory functions of the commission.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who made the call during an oversight visit of the members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Communications, yesterday in Abuja, stressed the need for striking a balance in satisfying diverse stakeholders in the industry the Commission regulates.

“We will still use this opportunity to seek your cooperation and understanding of delicate balance existing between the functions of regulators, and its many publics and stakeholders, including the legislature,” Danbatta said.
According to him, “These stakeholders have diverse but very important interest, which the regulator must satisfy. In the course of achieving an effective regulation for the benefit of all and in creating an enabling environment for growth, issues and challenges are bound to arise.”

The NCC boss also told members of the committee that the Commission had recently won a European Award for Best Practices, in addition to emerging African Regulator of the Year at regional level.
Responding, Chairman of the Committee,

Hon. Shaheed Fijabi, who said they were at the headquarters of the NCC to exercise their oversight duty, also commended the strides of Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) in the country. The USPF is the platform through which NCC drives telecoms investments and development in the country, especially in rural communities of the country.
Earlier, the Director Public Affairs of the commission, Mr. Tony Ojobo, who said the commission had always enjoyed fruitful relationship with the committee, commended its members for the very matured way they have handled its affairs.

Citing several pleas from MTN and business implications over the N1.04 trillion fine, which the NCC slammed on MTN in October last year for its refusal to deactivate 5.2 million unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards on the MTN network, the NCC, in collaboration with the federal government, initially reduced the fine by 25 per cent to N780 billion and later further reduced it to N33 billion. But both reductions did not go down well with the members of the House of Representatives, who had insisted that MTN must pay the full value of the N1.04 trillion fine. The House of Representatives had even gone to the extent of summoning the NCC and the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, to explain their roles in the two reductions of the MTN fine. The summon was before the House Committee on Communications visited NCC yesterday as part of its oversight functions.