The telecom sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has shown significant growth, reaching 16 percent in the second quarter of 2023. This data, computed by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and reported by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), reflects a substantial increase from the first quarter of 2023, where it contributed 14.13 percent, and surpassing the previous all-time-high record of 15 percent in the second quarter of 2022.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, delivered this information during a keynote address at the annual Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum (TERF), hosted by the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Lagos.
Danbatta highlighted the remarkable progress made in the telecommunications sector since he assumed the role of EVC in 2015 when it contributed about 8 percent to the GDP. He emphasized that the sector’s growth has positively impacted various aspects of the Nigerian economy.
He attributed the industry’s success to effective regulatory practices and operational efficiency maintained by the NCC, along with support from stakeholders. Danbatta acknowledged that barriers such as right-of-way issues, fiber cuts, high capital requirements, multiple taxation, and regulations exist in broadband deployment. However, he expressed the NCC’s commitment to addressing these challenges through regulatory excellence and collaboration with stakeholders like ATCON.
The issue of right-of-way was highlighted, with Danbatta mentioning that the telecom sector currently faces approximately 46 different taxes, imposed by various agencies and tiers of government, especially at the state and local levels. These charges ultimately place economic burdens on telecom subscribers.
Regarding connectivity, Danbatta noted that while access gaps were identified in various parts of the country, substantial progress has been made in reducing them. This has been achieved through government commitment to a digital economy, robust policy frameworks, infrastructure development, digital literacy, competition promotion, spectrum allocation, and the advancement of the e-government ecosystem.
Danbatta expressed confidence that the NCC’s ongoing regulatory efforts would lead to achieving the 50 percent broadband penetration target by the end of 2023 and potentially surpassing the 70 percent broadband penetration target set in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025 by 2025.
He commended ATCON and its members for their collaboration and constructive engagement with the Commission to address industry challenges. Danbatta emphasized that the success of Nigeria’s digital aspirations extends beyond technological advancements and includes transforming lives, driving economic growth, and enhancing the nation’s global competitiveness.
He encouraged all stakeholders in the public and private sectors to remain committed to building a more connected and prosperous future for Nigeria.