The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, has assured the telecom operators of sustainability of the growth recorded in the sector far while working towards more development of telecommunications in Nigeria.

Maida said this while responding to the remarks by the operators at a reception organised in his honour by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Lagos during the weekend.

While commending him for the achievements of the agency under his leadership in the last one year, the operators had charged the EVC to address the carious challenges facing the sector while keeping the sustainability of the development.

Responding, Maida said with 14% contributions to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, the telecommunications industry has done well for the country, promising to increase it to 25%.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria has seen growth in the nominal GDP Value of the ICT Sector from N7.1 trillion in the Q3 2023 to N8.4 trillion in Q4, 2023 and a “patterned fall” to N7.9 trillion in Q1 2024.
​The nominal GDP value in the Telecoms & Information Services Sub-Sector in Q1 2024​, about N6.2 Trillion​, is 10.81 percent higher than ​t​he Q3​ 2023 and also higher compared to Q1, 2023 N5.6 trillion.

While recognising the challenges faced in the industry, the EVC said although Nigeria has close to 200 million connected lines, more than half are on 2G.

“So, there is a lot of work to be done, especially in addressing challenges faced by MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) for long-term sustainability.”

Thanking ATCON for the reception in his honour, the EVC said: “For me, it feels as though I have known you people for ages. I want to say a big thank you. I know the challenges are acute, but we are looking at them working with the Minister. The industry has done well for the country, contributing about 14% to the GDP.”

“You have my assurances that as the regulator, the NCC would always listen and do the right things. Please, continue in the spirit of conversation. Let’s see this as a partnership towards a better industry, ” he added.

Earlier, the ATCON members had taken their turns to shower encomiums on the EVC.

Leading the procession, Tony Izuagbe Emoekpere, president of ATCON thanked the EVC for demonstrating an open-door leadership policy that has enabled the players to get closer to the Commissioner.

He expressed confidence in the EVC’s leadership style to tackle multifaceted challenges plaguing the industry.

Also speaking, Dr. Ayotunde Coker, CEO of Open Access Data Centres (OADC), said: “The changes being made in this sector are instrumental for fundamental changes in the country. We have a lot of challenges, however, the new highway is digital. We need a collective approach to tackle our challenges and we trust in your regulatory competencies (as being celebrated across Africa and beyond) to face these challenges for the betterment of our economy.

Biodun Omoniyi, MD/CEO, VDT Communications, said: “We are happy to have the EVC in our midst. Truly, there are challenges across the country, but ours is peculiar. However, with the EVC at the helm of affairs, we are ready to work with you to achieve your visions for this sector. Collaboration is key.”

Commenting, Mr. Chidi Okonkwo, MD, TECNO Mobile, said: “TECNO is happy to be in this country to impact the lives of Nigerians. We will continue to provide affordable devices and in the quality that is required of us. TECNO has been recognised by the NCC as one of the most compliant OEMs in the country. We couldn’t have attained that if not for the support from the NCC and the industry advocacy group – ATCON.

In the words of Nihinlola Mary Fafore, a senior account manager at Huawei Nigeria, “It is a great honour to be here and to witness the active engagements of the EVC with ATCON and the all operators. Huawei has been in the country for 25 years. We are always ready to cooperate with the regulator to attain the country’s digital transformation goals.

“The year has been tough for everyone, but Huawei has fate in the country and will continue to support the EVC’s vision to lead the industry to a greater height.”

Ike Nnamani, CEO of Digital Realty [Nigeria], also commented thus: “The EVC’s engagements with the telecoms sector have been fruitful. So, it is not out of place to formally welcome the EVC to the industry. We look forward to more engagements for fruitful results in the industry.

Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne, an Equinix company, said: “Thank you for taking time to be with us this evening. ATCON has been actively involved in the agenda towards moving Nigeria forward and the telecoms sector in particular. Under your administration, we will look at strategies and outcomes that will benefit Nigerians.”

Lekan Balogun, NetAccess System, said: “One thing is peculiar about this gathering: People who are contributory to the nation’s transformation are gathered here. Recently, I was speaking to a group of young people who are building applications and they depend on connectivity [provided by the telecoms sector] to leapfrog their solutions.

“EVC you have a golden opportunity to transform our nation, as a lot of people are currently dependent on connectivity to work from home and make their contributions to the nation’s growth.”

When called upon, Mr. John Nwachukwu, CEO, Zoracom said: “NCC has been a productive Agency of the government that we are proud of. So, we are happy to have you [EVC] pilot the affairs of this Commission at this point of our nation’s growth.”

Mohammed Rudman, CEO of Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria [IXPN], also described the EVC as “a silent achiever. So, we are happy to have you as the EVC. We are optimistic about your leadership prowess to pilot the industry towards a sustainable future. I only play that you give listening ears to the captains of the industry who are always here to support you.”

Wale Abu, the CEO of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, said: “When the EVC was appointed, I quickly did Google Search and was wowed by your credentials. EVC you are controlling about 14% of the country’s GDP now.

“You have started well by taking the initiative to meet with captains of the industry. NCC has been an accessible regulatory Commission which is to the credit of the management. Hopefully, in your tenure this industry will grow from 14% to 25% contributions to the country’s GDP.”