The National Telecommunications Policy instituted in September 2000, indicated that the number of telephone lines to Independence in 1960 was only 18,724. This figure was for a population of around 40 million people and translated into a teledensity of around 0.5 phone lines per 1,000 people. The telephone network consisted of 121 exchanges of which 116 were of the manual type (magneto) and only 5 were automatic.

The installed switching capacity at the end of 1985 was 200,000 lines against the expected target of about 460,000. Meanwhile, that has been a modest development in the telecom industry since the inception of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL). In the year 2000, Nigeria had a public network with a capacity of about 700,000 lines, but only 400,000 lines were connected. Nigeria therefore lagged behind even the least endowed African countries, not to mention the advanced economies.

Following the initiation of industry deregulation initiated to address these observed deficiencies, the country began with the establishment of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through Decree 75 of 1992, the main objectives of which include: Creating a regulatory environment to facilitate telecommunication support. services and facilities; facilitate the entry of private entrepreneurs to the telecommunications market; and promote fair competition and efficient market conduct among all industry players.

In July 1993, the NCC was launched, leading to the establishment of guidelines for private sector participation and the issuance of licenses to various companies to operate in different segments of the emerging Nigerian telecommunications market. The Commission embarked on complete deregulation of the market in 2001 with the issuance of the operators’ Digital Mobile License (DML) which finally broke NTEL’s perennial monopoly as a historical and major operator.

Today, the telecom industry has recorded tremendous growth across all market segments and the industry has witnessed quite impressive statistics, indicating how the telecom industry has continued to have a positive impact on Nigeria’s development vision. , and with positive multiplier effects in other sectors of the country. economy.

By July 2022, active telecommunications subscribers have grown significantly, reaching 209 million out of some 400,000 telephone lines added in the country on the eve of concrete deregulation in the year 2000. This represents a teledensity of 109.47%. In addition, basic Internet subscriptions have also grown from zero in the pre-liberalization era to over 152 million right now. It is also gratifying that broadband subscriptions now sit at 85 million, representing a penetration of 44.49%.

The industry has also become a major contributor to our national economy. Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector contributed 18.44% to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2022. Of this figure, only the telecommunications sector contributed 15%.

The contribution of ICT to GDP is by far the second largest contributor to the national economy after the agricultural sector. From an investment of less than $500 million in 2001, the investment profile in the nation’s telecommunications sector has exceeded $70 billion.

But what do all these statistics mean? They speak of the growing centrality of telecommunications in our social, economic and political lives, at work, at home and in other spheres. It has continued to redefine the way we conduct our personal, social and professional activities with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

In every sector, including education, finance, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, governance, and even in media systems where emerging technologies have revolutionized the pattern, pace, and sophistication of generation, production and content consumption, broadband access has become a necessity for optimization. efficiency and success.

Having laid the historical groundwork, allow me, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, to move on to the other important area of ​​my speech, which focuses on NCC’s new Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP) 2021-2025. This Commission initiative is a transformational agenda, following on from the Eight-Point Agenda I instituted in 2015 upon taking over as CEO of NCC.

It is our management intent to simplify for effective implementation, the responsibilities of the Commission under the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025 and the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024.

Management was convinced that the SVP would accelerate the consolidation of all the great achievements of telecom liberalization, and subsequently move forward with updating the government’s digital economy policies, programs and objectives as stipulated in a marching order that the President gave me in 2015, which is also aligned with the vision of the Federal Government in the Growth and Economic Recovery Plan.

As stated above, the Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) 2015 – 2020, a precursor to the SVP 2021-2025, was based on 8 pillars, which we refer to as the 8-Point Agenda. In that draft, each plan or pillar had its focus and goals that have been satisfactorily achieved during the period.

The Eight Point Agenda (SVP 2015-2020) focused on: Facilitating Broadband Penetration, Improving Service Quality, Optimizing the Use and Benefit of the Spectrum, Promotion of ICT Innovation and Investment Opportunities, Protection and Consumer Empowerment, Promotion of Fair and Inclusive Competition, Growth, and Regulatory Excellence and Operational Efficiency.

The need to take the vision of the Commission to greater heights facilitated the development of a new Strategic Vision Plan which was released on September 7, 2021. In developing the new SVP (2021 – 2025), we have been made aware of several notable developments in the Nigerian telecommunication industry in the last five (5) years, as well as current global realities.

These realities, all of them incorporated in the SVP 2021-2025, include the Strategic Plan (2020-2023) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024 of the NCC, the National Digital and National Economy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020-2025 and the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government.

The new SVP 2021-2025 has five focal points as follows:

  1. Organizational Renewal for Operational Efficiency and Regulatory Excellence.
  1. Facilitate the Provision of Infrastructure for a Digital Economy that promotes National Development.
  1. Promote fair competition, inclusive growth, increased investment and innovative services.
  1. Improve quality of service (QoS) to improve consumer quality of experience (QoE).
  1. Facilitate strategic collaboration and partnership.

An important aspect of the SVP 2 is the established implementation metrics that establish the tasks to be carried out and the timeframes within which they must be carried out. That is a major deviation from the 2015-2020 SVP. In the SVP, there is an implementation matrix that assigns responsibilities to various Commission departments and, most importantly, there is a provision for monitoring and evaluation.

So at any given point in the process of implementing the plan, we can tell Nigerians who our main stakeholders are, exactly where we are, how far we’ve come, and what else we need to do. achieve the desired objectives specified in the plan for the development of our economy.

Let me emphasize at this time that the Commission seeks a greater partnership of the Nigerian media professionals gathered here today to help track the progress made and identify the challenges in achieving each of the 5 visions in the SVP 2021-2025. Indeed, Commission Management will be delighted to receive recommendations for practical solutions to address the challenges within the context of the goals and expectations in the new SVP.

I would like to emphasize that the NCC Board, Management and staff will continue to do everything possible to fulfill the Commission’s mandate, especially to facilitate the deployment of broadband, which is critical to diversify Nigeria’s economy and bolster development in line with the National Digital Economy Agenda.

We believe that the communications industry, under the leadership of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, will take a leap forward and retain its current leading role in the telecommunication space to take Nigeria to the next level of development after 60 years of Independence. .

In addition, the NCC will continue to strengthen collaboration with the media in many ways, as needed, to create an environment where businesses and individuals can seamlessly take advantage of digital technology and infrastructure, such as 5G, that will make it possible Tasks get done faster because of its speed.

For the media, it means that the process of collecting, processing and disseminating news will be achieved faster, allowing them to inform and educate citizens about what is happening around them in a more timely, accurate and adequate way to achieve greater socioeconomic development in our country. country.