The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, has said that quality of service in the telecommunications sector remained non-negotiable and charged industry stakeholders to collaborate with the commission to make this a reality.
Maida, who made this remark in Lagos at an interactive session with chief executive officers of the industry assured government’s readiness to partner all players in the industry and commitment to transparency in the telecom ecosystem.
He told the industry chieftains to appreciate that they had a very important role to play in the fast-growing industry to consolidate on its achievements so far as the catalyst of Nigeria’s digital economy.
Reflecting on his confirmation last week as the substantive chief executive officer of the Commission by the Senate, Maida expectations of telecom consumers from the commission remained very high, hence the need for all stakeholders to meet the expectations
Maida explained: “People actually expect telecom services to work. I don’t think they really appreciate what it takes to deliver these services. So, it has come to a stage they just see telecom service as utility like water and electricity. Like a social service, it needs to work. We need to really come together in the industry and deliver value to the customer.
“When it comes to compliance, this is an area where we are going to be placing a lot more focus, and things are going to be a lot more urgent. I am not going to be asking for compliance after the fact. That is going to be a very key area of focus for me.
“So, we owe it to ourselves to benchmark ourselves against the best, not against other sectors. We have to just take ourselves as setting the benchmark for every person else. So, let people compare and say we have to be as good as telecom”, he added
On broadband penetration, the EVC said “a lot has been done with the Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) licensing. We just have to re-imagine, look at it again, and see whether that is the right approach and re-imagine how we approach it. We now need to start getting into the states, and perhaps we might need to sit down and see how we can do that differently. Again, on the broadband issue, we need to increase the investment.”
The new NCC boss said that he considered operating entities as a very crucial segment of the national telecom development, hence his desire to hear directly from industry CEOs about the issues, challenges, and opportunities.
He clarified: “We also have to be clear that this is not just a conversation about you representing your shareholders. This is a conversation about Nigeria. This is a conversation about moving Nigeria forward. So, your shareholders are one part of your stakeholders, but Nigerians are also another critical, in fact, your most important stakeholders. So, this conversation is going to be about you having your shareholders, but you also have Nigerians to whom you will have to deliver services.” he said.
The industry top players, who expressed delight at the consultative approach of the EVC, promised to work closely in support of Maida’s mandate.
Specifically, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Tony Emoekpere, said the industry was impressed by the steps being taken by the EVC to work with all stakeholders, including the convening the interactive session.
The ATCON chief said: “We are really encouraged that your first action is to meet with us here at this interactive session. What you have done to invite us here to hear what we have to say is the right step.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, commended Maida for organising the interactive session to discuss issues in the industry, adding the approach of the new boss of the NCC is very encouraging in view of the positive implications for the current drive towards digitalization of the economy.
L-R: President, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigerian, Gbenga Adebayo; Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ubale Maska; Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NCC, Aminu Maida; Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Adeleke Adewolu; and President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Tony Emoekpere, at NCC EVC’s interactive session with chief executives of telecom companies in Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos