By Emma Okonji
The contribution of the telecommunications sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) doubled in the last eight years, according to data obtained from the website of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
According to the statistics, telecoms contribution to GDP in 2012 was 7.7 per cent, but the figure doubled to 14.3 per cent as at the second quarter in 2020. This represented a N2.3 trillion growth, whereas the total contribution of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to GDP, which was put at 17. 5 per cent.
From the inception of telecoms services in 2001 when the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) was rolled out, up till 2015, telecoms contribution to GDP was put at $70 billion.
But the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, in a recent interview with THISDAY, said figure had gone beyond $70 billion in 2020, given the continuous growth rate of telecoms operations in the country.
According to the statistics, telecoms contribution to GDP had maintained a steady growth rate between 2012 and 2020, excerpt for 2013, when there was a slight drop in the contribution, compared to the contribution in 2012.
The statistics showed that in 2012, telecoms contribution to GDP was 7.7 per cent and in 2013, the contribution dropped slightly to 7.4 per cent, but it picked up again in 2014, contributing 7.6 per cent to GDP. In 2015, telecoms contribution to GDP further increased to 8.5 per cent and it had another increase in 2016, contributing 9.13 per cent. In 2017, it contributed 8.7 per cent to GDP and in 2018, telecoms contribution to GDP grew to 9.9 per cent.
In 2019, telecoms contribution to GDP grew again to 10.6 per cent and in 2020, as at second quarter, telecoms contribution to GDP, reached 14.3 per cent, representing N2.3 trillion, whereas the entire contribution of ICT to GDP within the same period was 17.5 per cent.
Impressed by the contribution of telecoms to GDP, Danbatta said NCC would continue to rollout initiatives and implement government policies in such a way that the sector would continue to grow the country’s GDP.
Danbatta said the NCC would be unveiling its second Strategic Vision Plan that would guide the activities of the sector for the next five years from 2021 to 2025.
“The Strategic Vision Plan 2 will leverage on the National Broadband Plan, the National Digital Economic Policy (NDEP), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Vision Plan to drive telecoms activities in the next five years, and contribute more to the country’s GDP. These are policy documents expected to drive the sector, and NCC will come up with implementable plans to drive them,” Danbatta said.
He explained that the projection for 2021 would be on capacity building and the unveiling of the second Strategic Vision Plan.
“Government is looking at additional deployment of fibre optic cables in the next four years, in addition to what is currently on ground. The NCC is desirous that telecoms services are pervasive and accessible to all Nigerians, irrespective of their locations, even in remote and isolated communities. We need adequate infrastructure to build on the gains of telecommunications,” Danbatta said.