Telecoms Investment Grew by $42bn in Six Years, Says NCC

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By Samuel Ohwovoriole

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that telecoms investment grew from about $38 billion in 2015 to over $70 billion currently., attributing the growth to an efficient regulation by the Commission.

It also stated that the telecoms, trade, services and agric sectors are major drivers of the Nigerian economy as they were mainly responsible for lifting the country out of recession.

The commission, in a statement signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said: “Through effective regulatory regime emplaced by the Commission, under the leadership of its Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, telecoms investment grew from about $38 billion in 2015 to over $70 billion currently.

It noted that broadband penetration also increased from 6 per cent in 2015 to 45.02 per cent as at December, 2020, indicating that 85.9 million Nigerians are now connected on 3G and 4G networks which provide enhanced high-speed Internet that has continued to boost efficiency and increased productivity across the economic spectrum..

The NCC also stated that “between 2015 and December 2020, active voice subscriptions have increased from 151 million to 204.6 million, with teledensity standing at 107.18 per cent, adding that basic active internet subscriptions grew from 90 million to 154.3 million during the period.

The NCC recalled that Nigeria slipped into a second recession in about four years in the third quarter of 2020,
which it exited last week, adding that in the latest gross domestic product (GDP) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), agriculture, industry and services sector, under which telecommunications is
categorised, contributed 26.95 per cent, 18.77 per cent, and 54.28 per cent respectively.

This, it observed, is a pointer to the fact that telecommunications, trade, services and crop production
were the main drivers of Nigeria’s exit from recession.

The NCC based its statement on the latest report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS),
telecommunications and Information Services under Information and Communication which grew by 17.64 per
cent in Q4 2020 from 17.36 per cent in Q3 2020 and 10.26 per cent in Q4 2019.

In specific terms, the NBS’ report showed that the largest sub-sectors in Q4 2020 were crop production at 3.68 per
cent, crude petroleum and natural gas at 8.2 per cent, trade at 14.9 per cent, telecommunications & information services at 12.45 per cent, and real estate at 5.7 per cent, the report said.

According to the NCC, “The telecommunications sector has, in the last five years been a major driver of the digital economy agenda of the federal government, as it has continued to provide the needed digital sinews that
support the economy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restriction period.

The Commission noted that since the outbreak of the pandemic, government institutions, businesses and
individuals have relied heavily on telecoms services to carry out their daily operations and official routines.

It added that in response to the increased demand, the Commission put a number of regulatory measures in
place to ensure seamless access by Nigerians to telecommunication services and protect against any adverse impact on the quality of service enjoyed by consumers.

The Commission explained that the steady growth of the telecoms sector over the years with its pervasive positive
impact on all other sectors of the economy in terms of increased automation of processes and digital
transformation in service delivery has been remarkable.

The growth trend since 2015, it added, has reawakened hope that the economic diversification dreams of the country may finally be a reality as the sector continues to energise significant economic activities in the services sector of the economy.