The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has solicited the support of the National Assembly, especially the Senate, for a more vibrant telecommunications sector.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made the call in Lagos, at the weekend, during a retreat for the Senate Committee on Communications, organised by the commission.
Represented by Head, Legislative and Government Relations, NCC, Inatimi Spiff, Danbatta said such cooperation would ensure that the sector was effectively regulated.
He said that he was delighted on how enthusiastic the committee members were about the growth and development of the telecommunications industry.
According to him, it is evident that NCC and the Senate share a common interest in overcoming the challenges of the industry, as well as a common aspiration towards progress for the benefit of Nigeria.
“This retreat gives us further opportunity to seek your cooperation in carrying out our mandate as the independent regulator of the telecommunications industry.
“We shall remain fair, firm and forthright always,” he said.
Danbatta promised that the NCC would continue to manage the process of regulation of the telecommunications industry in the most efficient way and in the best interest of Nigeria.
The EVC said that the stakeholders had diverse but very important interests, which the regulator must consider.
He said that in the course of achieving an effective regulation for the benefit of all and in creating an enabling environment for growth, issues and challenges are bound to arise.
Responding, Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Ademola Adeleke, said that the retreat was very timely.
Adeleke said that it was an opportunity for the legislators and the regulator to come together and compare notes on ways to move the country forward.
In a related development, the NCC will commission more emergency centres in 2018.
Danbatta disclosed this, while receiving a delegation of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) led by the Director-General, Julie Okah- Donli, in Abuja.
Danbatta said the projects of building and equipping the emergency centres in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja are currently at various stages of completion.
“The Federal Government has mandated the commission to provide emergency communications centres in all states of the federation and Abuja. We already have 3 digit emergency line, 112, which is equivalent to 911 in other climes,” he pointed out.
Allaying the concern of high telecommunications tariffs in the country, the NCC boss noted that Nigeria has one of the lowest telecom tariffs in the world.
He said the NCC has so far resisted pressure from telecom operators calling for tariff hike to protect many people from being deprived of access to communications.
“We will continue to look at the regime of fees being charged by services providers, I am talking on voice services, SMS or data service, to ensure these rates are consistent with global best practices as Nigeria cannot live in isolation.’’