NCC…REGULATING FOR SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION & ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

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GOLDEN PENNY

NCC logoThat Nigeria is a blessed nation-brand is crystal for everyone to see. But The beautiful part of the Nigerian story cannot be complete without the brand stories of a select few individuals and organizations that are champion brands whose aggregate value have made Nigeria Africa’s largest economy and the world’s 26th most important for investors.

Often times, people make the mistake of alluding Nigeria’s potential greatness to its natural resources and its huge population. But land, minerals and numbers count for nothing unless astutely gifted individuals and organizations properly harness, manage and appropriate the benefits of Nigeria’s assets to its teeming citizens and the rest of the world.

As Brand Nigeria marks its centenary, BRANDPOWER begins a new series to show-case the individual, corporate and institutional brands that have, despite great challenges, made positive contributions, worth celebrating, towards the progress, growth and prosperity of Nigeria

We begin this series with a special feature on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Golden Penny Pasta made by Golden Penny Plc. Thiers are two dizzyingly remarkable stories.

…REGULATING FOR SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION & ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been a source of pride and fulfillment for respective administrations and citizens of Nigeria. This is due to the exceptional execution of its mandate. The NCC is the independent regulatory body for the Nigerian telecommunications industry. Created on November 24, 1992, The NCC’s responsibilities include regulating the supply of telecommunications services and facilities, promoting competition, and setting performance standards for telecom services across Nigeria.

Dr. Eugene Juwah, Vice-Chairman/CEO of NCC
Dr. Eugene Juwah, Vice-Chairman/CEO of NCC

THE BACKGROUND

At independence in 1960, Nigeria had only 18,724 telephone lines. By 1999, the installed capacity had only risen to just about 700,000 lines. This meant that the subscriber base grew at a mere average rate of 10,000 lines per annum nationwide over a 40 year period. Meanwhile there was an additional challenge as only about 400,000 lines were actually connected within the period. In 1980 cellular service was introduced but also by 1999 the installed total capacity was just a mere 20,000 indicating an annual growth rate of 1,250 subscribers per annum.

THE TELECOM REVOLUTION

In 2000, the recharged Nigerian Communications Commission was set to change the dismal fortunes of Nigeria’s telecom sector as it announced a never-before-tried transparent GSM licence auction process for the country’s spectrum assets. The very efficient execution of the transparent auction process was to later literally shoot Nigeria’s subscriber base to the skies in just a couple of years. In addition the NCC was able to attract very competitive licensing fees unlike what obtained in the past when such national assets were sold for a token. With the huge success and the transparency of the NCC initial GSM licences, the NCC approach towards assigning critical national assets became a model for other agencies in Nigeria and even across the world.

THE SUCCESS STORY

In line with this initial success as a bastion of transparency, the NCC has also successfully executed the following auctions to interested bidders with widely acclaimed results: Second National Operator licence; Fixed Wireless Access Licence; 3-Carriers (3.75MHz) in the 800MHz Spectrum band licence; 3g (2GHz and 450 MHz bands); 2.3GHz; 30MHz in the 450 MHz. There is also the upcoming auction of spectrum in the 2.6GHz Frequency band. The net result of these transparent auctions is the geometric growth of the total telephony subscriber base from 700, 000 in 1999 to 132,186,840 as at July, 2014 while internet penetration is a staggering 67, 197, 505. This is in addition to the tremendous boost to the Nigerian economy by way of a marked increase in the revenue generation for the federation and a quantum leap in the our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The NCC success story is hardly surprising as its avowed mission is to support a market-driven communications industry and promote universal access with a complementary vision of being a responsive, world-class communications regulatory organisation. It is putting everything in place to achieve its ‘overarching strategic results’ which is to deliver an information rich environment, comparable globally in quality communications service provision.The NCC’s core values of integrity, excellence, professionalism, responsiveness and inovation resonates in all their dealings with each category of stakeholders.

Little wonder, after revving up Nigeria’s teledensity to its present 94.42%, the NCC has focused keenly on quality service delivery, consumer protection, appropriate pricing of services and value for money. From time to time the commission has intervened to drastically reduce interconnect rates among the telecom operators, fixed a fair price for SMS at N4 each from a previous minimum of N10, ensured adequate compensation for subscribers by operators and sanctioned the operators whenever necessary over poor service delivery, enforced local content input into telecom operations such as local production of scratch cards, enforced co- location rules for cost reduction and provided a level-playing field for operators and subscribers alike with the introduction of number portability.

NCC Headquarters in Abuja FCT
NCC Headquarters in Abuja FCT

With the recent rebasing of Nigeria’s economy which saw the country becoming the largest economy in Africa, It has become apparent that in line with its mandate and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s transformation Agenda, the NCC has effectively transformed the telecom sector to improve on its contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which has moved up from 4.5 percent to 8.69 percent in the recent re-based GDP. Total investments have so far exceeded $32 Billion. In a recent media chat, Dr. Eugene Juwah, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC observed that “The industry had witnessed a lot of policy initiatives, which had continued to impact positively on the industry with multiplier effect being felt on other sectors of the economy”. NCC according to Juwah has undertaken a number of policy initiatives all of which continue to put the nation’s telecoms market on the path of consistent growth. “Looking at investments in the sector, we increased it from $18 billion in 2010 to more than $32 billion today. The sector has created the most stable jobs and as investments grew in the past four years, more jobs, both direct and indirect, had been created and are still being created,”

THE PROMISE

NCC is dedicated to doing and achieving even more for the greatness of the Nigerian Brand. Besides its core mandate NCC is presently collaborating with a number of other Agencies to make Nigeria a much better place. One such collaboration is with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to combat online and allied crimes. This, Dr. Juwah notes, is because “The investment profile and the exponential growth within the (telecom) sector would attract attention to the (telecom) industry and challenge the moral, professional and ethical commitment of the regulatory body. Dr. Juwah points out that the collaboration between NCC and EFCC, is designed to fight against corruption in the country, since both agencies have the primary responsibilities to build a modern, enlightened, informed and civic-oriented society. This is more so as the telephony revolution in Nigeria has since birthed the broadband revolution which has really transformed the way Nigerian interact and do business both within the country and globally.

Without doubt, Nigeria will not have reached its present level of development without the positive contributions of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). NCC, indeed, stands tall as a Great Brand of Nigeria!

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