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NCC TTTR 2021: Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges – Danbatta

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L- R: Engr. Bako Wakil, Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Mr. Yakubu Gontor, Director, Finance Services, NCC; Mrs. Tolulase Omodele-Rufai, Assistant Director, NCC Lagos Zonal Office; Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC; Mr. Babajika Mohammed, Director, Licensing and Authorization, NCC; Mr. Chidi Ibisi, Executive Director, Business Development, Broadband Communications Limited; Mrs. Chinwe Maduabum, 2021 Chairman Committee on Talk to the Regulator; Mr. Damian Udeh, Associate Director, Regulatory Affairs, IHS

…as Danbatta charges regulators to find lasting solutions to issues negatively impacting the licensee’s compliance

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has said that continuous dialogues between the regulator and its various licensees are central to finding lasting solutions to issues negatively impacting the licensee’s compliance with extant regulations and challenging the growth of the telecoms industry.

Danbatta stated this during the second edition of NCC’s 2021 Talk to The Regulator (TTTR) forum held at Four Points by Sheraton, Lagos, over the weekend. The theme of the discourse is, “Improving Stakeholders Satisfaction”.  

The Lagos edition of the programme followed the successful hosting of a similar dialogue in Kano on 16th October, 2021.

The objective of the forum is to get direct feedback from licensees on how the Commission, as a regulator, is meeting licensees’ expectations.

The programme was also designed to identify areas for regulatory improvement, highlight areas where licensees are defaulting as well as address critical industry challenges undermining full accomplishment of the set objectives for consolidating the gains in the telecoms sector.

According to Danbatta, who was represented at the forum by NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, the forum is orgainsed in keeping with the Commission’s commitment to continually ensure regulator-licensee interactions to develop collaborative solutions and implementation programmes to the challenges of the telecom ecosystem.

Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Emilia Nwokoro, Deputy Director, Licensing and Authorization Department, NCC giving her presentation on the ‘Review of Licensing Trends’.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Group picture of participants at the Talk to the Regulator Forum.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Adewolu giving the opening remarks.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Mohammed while giving his remarks at the Forum.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Mohammed; Mr. Abdulazeez Salman, Member NCC Board of Commissioners; Adewolu; Gontor.

“The Nigerian Communications Act (NCA, 2003) invests the NCC with powers and responsibilities for the regulation of both the technical and market-related aspects of telecoms infrastructure and services in Nigeria. We consider our role as a regulator very vital to ensuring industry sustainability because NCC considers consultation as the lifeblood of regulation” the EVC emphasised.

The EVC also declared that “we have consistently deployed stakeholder engagement tools like public enquiries, private investigations, written information requests, one-on-one discussions as we are having it now and diverse consumer engagement platforms.

These tools enable us to ensure that our interventions are well-grounded and that our decisions are based on a clear understanding of stakeholders’ perspectives”.

Danbatta said that such interactions fit squarely within the five pillars of the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024), which include Regulatory Excellence, Promotion of Universal Broadband Access, the Development of the Digital Economy, Facilitation of Market Development, and Strategic Partnering.

“Through regular interactions with our licensees, the Commission is able to gain valuable insights to enhance our regulatory output and enabled us to drive excellence in consonance with the five pillars of our strategic vision for the industry as streamlined in the Commission’s Strategic Vision Plan (SVP), 2021-2025,” he said.

Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Wakil while giving his presentation on ‘Short Code Assignment, Type Approval Obligation, and the Commission’s Expectations’.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Gontor giving his presentation on the ‘Implementation of Annual Levy Regulations’.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Joe Emeshili, Principal Manager, Spectrum Administration Department, NCC giving his presentation on ‘Maximising the Potentials of Telecommunications Operations’.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Olumide Samuel, Chief Executive Officer, Priority Communications Ltd asking questions at the Forum.

The EVC also reinforced the Commission’s belief that only through optional performance by the licensees will Nigeria be able to achieve the national objectives and targets in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025 and other national policy instruments targeted at developing the nation’s digital economy ecosystem.

He said on this basis that the Commission is, “Therefore, we intend to use this forum to seek support for many initiatives that the commission has carefully developed in our quest to enhance market opportunities for all our licensees,” Danbatta said to emphasise NCC’s faith in collaboration with stakeholders and its licensees in order to address any concerns that may impede the attainment of the relevant policy objectives.

The NCC CEO also emphasised that the Commission will continue to roll out forward-thinking and all-inclusive regulatory initiatives to provide market opportunities for all its licensees.

Additionally, Danbatta said NCC is also committed to constantly reviewing licensing framework as well as key regulatory instruments so as to refresh the Commission’s regulatory frameworks and ensure better service delivery for consumers and efficient attainment of other national interest objectives.

However, Danbatta said some licensees are not doing as much as they ought to be doing. “Several licensees are struggling to pay their staff, many are unable to comply with basic licence obligations, some are defaulting in the payment of their Annual Operating Levies (AOL) while the level of interconnect and other inter-licensee indebtedness is still unacceptably high.

Therefore, we are required to ensure regulatory interventions are put in place to address challenges, bottlenecks, and grievances that may arise among the licensees in this regard,” he said.

Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Another cross-section of participants at the Forum.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Cross-section of participants at the Forum.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Attah Ogbadu, Senior Manager, Public Affairs NCC compering the event.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Maduabum in her session ‘on what can the NCC do to ensure the survival of smaller licensees’.

Also addressing the gathering, the Director, Licensing and Authorisation at NCC, Mohammed Babajika, said the forum was intended to foster a harmonious relationship with licensees, identify their challenges and provide feedback on licensees’ fulfillment of their license obligations, and re-emphasize the role of licensees in ensuring good quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) for the consumers.
While intimating the licensees of some regulatory initiatives focused on licensing issues, Babajika said despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant challenges, the Commission was taking measures to further liberalise the telecoms industry by finalising the framework for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) while also reviewing existing licensing regulations.

In addition, the Director also informed the licensees that the Commission was finalising work on Information Memorandum (IM) for Fifth Generation (5G) technology deployment, which will promote emerging technology trends such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Over-The-Top (OTT) Services and Big Data Analytics, Blockchain, among others. 

At the event, presentations were made by the Management staff of the Commission to the licensees and others, who participated actively through listening, making observations and suggestions, as well as seeking clarifications to improve the quality of discourse and the expected outcomes. 

Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Titilola Edu, Assistant Legal Manager, Caricare Development Nigeria Limited asking questions at the Forum.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Emeshili; Olasumbo Olawaiya, Assistant Director, Universal Service Provision Fund.

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Airtel Kick Starts Annual ‘5 Days of Love’ Yuletide Initiative

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Airtel Kick Starts Annual ‘5 Days of Love’ Yuletide Initiative

…‘5 Days of Love’ to cater to less privileged persons

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Leading telecommunications service provider, Airtel Nigeria has commenced its annual Christmas feeding initiative tagged ‘5 Days of Love’, as it rolled out the drums to celebrate the less privileged at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in Lagos on Monday, December 5th, 2022.

The Airtel ‘5 Days of Love’ programme is designed to cater to less privileged persons as well as support people in communities across the country. Since the commencement of the initiative eight years ago, Airtel has partnered with leading fast-food vendors to feed people across major cities. However, the last edition took an unprecedented approach following the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as the campaign focused on the distribution of raw food supplies to 5,000 vulnerable families in IDP camps.

This season of the ‘5 Days of Love’ is focused on distributing food in 5 days to 5,000 people across 5 states – Lagos, Ogun, Enugu, Rivers, and Kaduna. At the Lagos distribution, 1,000 persons including children, women, youth, and the elderly were served nourishing meals in a fun-filled atmosphere.

Airtel Kick Starts Annual ‘5 Days of Love’ Yuletide Initiative
Left-Right: Acting Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Femi Oshinlaja; CSR Lead, Airtel Nigeria, Chioma Okolie; Chairman, Ojodu LCDA, Hon. David Olusegun Odunmbaku and Regional Operations Director, Airtel Nigeria, Chika Obanor at the presentation of 1,000 food packs to the residents of Ogba at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism during Airtel `5` Days of Love yuletide program in Lagos. (5/12/2022).
Airtel Kick Starts Annual ‘5 Days of Love’ Yuletide Initiative
Left-Right: Regional Operations Director, Airtel Nigeria, Chika Obanor; Chairman, Ojodu LCDA, Hon. David Olusegun Odunmbaku; Acting Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Femi Oshinlaja and General Manager, Human Resources, Airtel Nigeria, Oladipo Babalola at the presentation of 1,000 food packs to the residents of Ogba at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism during Airtel `5` Days of Love yuletide program in Lagos. (5/12/2022).

Speaking during the Lagos event, Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Surendran Chemmenkotil, noted that the Christmas season is a time of celebration and is synonymous with giving and sharing especially with the less privileged who have no one to cater to them and over the years, Airtel Nigeria has celebrated the yuletide season with the less privileged through its ‘5 Days of Love’ programme.

“It is that time of the year when we appreciate our family, friends, and loved ones; and for us at Airtel, we have seized the opportunity of using this programme to spread our love to everyone. Airtel is committed to touching the lives of underprivileged persons in society as well as empowering stakeholders in the communities where we operate,” he added.

Following the commencement of the ‘5 Days of Love’ initiative in Lagos, the distribution continues in Ogun State on Tuesday, 6th December. While on Wednesday, 7th December, the programme will hold in Enugu State. The next stop will be in Rivers State on Thursday, 8th December. The final stop for this year’s ‘5 Days of Love’ season will be on Friday, 9th December, at Kaduna State.

Through this initiative over the last seven years, Airtel has touched a lot of lives and will continue to spread love to people across the country.

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Huawei Names Computer Lab After Danbatta, District Head Commends Him

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Huawei Names Computer Lab After Danbatta, District Head Commends Him

By Moninuola Sulaiman

A computer lab, constructed by Huawei Technologies and commissioned at the weekend to serve the community of Koguna Town of Makoda Local Government of Kano State, has been named “Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta Computer Lab”.

Director, Public Relations of Huawei Nigeria, Lola Fafore, said at the commissioning, which was witnessed by the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, and the District Head of Makoda, Alhaji Labaran Abdullahi, that the project was among the company’s contribution to Nigeria as part of its corporate social responsibility. Fafore assured that Huawei will continue to promote digital inclusion, primarily through the provision of access to technology.

“Huawei has been operating in Nigeria for over 22 years now and we can say that Nigeria is a great country filled with many great talents and potential. We love the Nigerian people and are happy to always give back through Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives such as this,”

“Huawei is therefore constantly making more effort in terms of connectivity, applications, and skills transfer to promote digital inclusion for all. This is in line with Huawei’s mission to bring digital services to every person, home, and organization for a fully connected intelligent world. As part of our contribution to this great nation, we believe in making technology accessible to all. Technology should not be for the few, but for everyone,” she said.

Huawei Names Computer Lab After Danbatta, District Head Commends Him
Left-Right: Director, Human Capital, and Administration, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Usman Malah; Director, Public Relations, Huawei, Lola Fafore; Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NCC, Prof. Garba Danbatta and the District Head of Makoda, Kano State, Alhaji Labaran Abdullahi, during the commissioning of computer lab constructed by Huawei and named after Danbatta in Kano recently.

In appreciation of naming the centre after him and donating to the community, Danbatta commended Huawei Nigeria Limited. He also thanked the company for the central role it has played in the development of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria.

“This computer laboratory was built through a huge donation by Huawei. And Huawei is a household name in Nigeria. They provide and manage services for major telecommunications companies in Nigeria. They are dominant in that sector. I can’t imagine the state of telecoms in Nigeria without the invaluable role that Huawei is playing in the country,” Danbatta said. 

The traditional ruler of Makoda who doubles as Barayan Bichi poured encomiums on the donors and the NCC boss, whose philanthropic disposition attracted the gesture to the community.  

He said Danabatta has been making invaluable contributions to the development of our communities, the state, and the nation at large. The community leader stated that Danbatta has implemented many philanthropic and people-oriented projects in his Danbatta community in addition to his strides in driving the development of ICT adoption and usage, through numerous initiatives as the country’s Chief Telecoms Regulator.

Those who attended the commissioning ceremony include, the Vice Chairman of Makoda Local Government, Alhaji Yusif Bala, the Director of Human Capital and Administration of NCC, Barrister Usman Malah, the Chief of Staff to the EVC, Malam Hafiz Shehu, and the Controller, NCC Zonal Office in Kano, Malam Shuaibu Swade among others. 

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3.5GHz Spectrum Auction: NCC Announces Publication Of Final Information Memorandum

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3.5GHz Spectrum Auction: NCC Announces Publication Of Final Information Memorandum

By Moninuola Sulaiman

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced the adoption and publication of the final version of the Information Memorandum (IM) to guide the upcoming auction of the remaining lots of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) Spectrum for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) services in Nigeria.

Earlier, the Commission had published a daft IM and requested stakeholders to make comments and inputs into the document to enrich its contents.

Subsequently, stakeholders’ comments were collated and discussed at a Stakeholder’s Engagement forum hosted by the Commission on November 15, 2022, at Marriot Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on the same subject.

All comments have been considered and a final Information Memorandum to guide the upcoming auction is now available on the Commission’s website (www.ncc.gov.ng) with the link: https://www.ncc.gov.ng/media-centre/public-notices/1297-public-notice-final-im-3-5ghz-spectrum-band-2022.

The Commission requests all stakeholders to check public notices in the dailies and visit the website to study and review the final IM.

In 2019, the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions project was commissioned, and the SPDC JV is planning to reduce associated gas flaring further through its Forcados Yokri gas-gathering project, of which large parts are set to be completed in 2022. Despite such efforts to reduce continuous flaring, unfortunately flaring intensity (the amount of gas flared for every tonne of oil and gas produced) at both SPDC- and SNEPCo-operated facilities increased in 2021 owing to short-term operational issues. Flaring from SPDC-operated facilities increased by around 5% in 2021 compared with 2020. The increase was primarily because of the extended outage of the gas compression system in SPDC’s shallow-water operations. The system was restored and became operational from January 2022. Flaring at SNEPCo-operated facilities rose by around 160% in 2021 compared with 2020. This was mainly because of an increase in flaring on the Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Repairs to a flex-joint on the Bonga FPSO’s gas export riser in the second quarter took longer than expected, in part because of weather conditions. While repairs were under way, the FPSO continued to produce oil and therefore flaring was necessary for safety reasons. The repairs were safely concluded in July 2021. Although flaring intensity levels rose in 2021, SPDC and SNEPCo over the last 10 years have almost halved the combined amount of hydrocarbons they flare from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2021. This reduction is the result of a strict flaring reduction management process and both SPDC and SNEPCo will continue to work in close collaboration with joint-venture partners and the government to make progress towards ending routine flaring of associated gas. NIGERIA LNG EXPANSION UNDERWAY Global demand for LNG continues to grow as the world increasingly seeks reliable supplies of lowercarbon energy. Shell’s investment in Nigeria’s gas infrastructure for export is expected to help 6 This is according to a data provided by global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. the country benefit further from revenues. Shell Gas B.V. and its partners took a final investment decision in 2020 on a new LNG processing unit – known as Train 7 -- at NLNG. The expansion is expected to create around 12,000 jobs for Nigerians during construction and stimulate growth of the local oil and gas service sector, with 55% of engineering and procurement of goods and services being sourced in-country. Train 7 is expected to ensure Nigeria’s continued place as a global player in a lower-carbon energy source. Once operational, Train 7 will add around 8 million tonnes per annum of capacity to the Bonny Island LNG facility, taking the total production to around 30 million tonnes per annum. In 2021, NLNG began awarding procurement and construction contracts. Early works started at the site. The first phase of the worker village is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022 and the new material offloading facility ready for use by the end of 2022. NLNG’s Train 7 is expected to come onstream in the middle of the 2020s. KEY LICENCE RENEWED FOR DEEP-WATER SNEPCo has interests in four deep-water blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, two of which it operates. Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production comes from the Bonga and the nonoperated Erha fields.6 Since production began in 2005, Bonga alone has produced more than 950 million barrels of oil with the 2021 average oil production per day at 105,000 barrels. The Bonga FPSO vessel has a total production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 standard cubic feet of gas export per day. In 2021, the availability of the FPSO vessel increased to 80% from 70% in 2020. In addition to Bonga, SNEPCo’s exploration activities have led to several significant discoveries of oil and gas over the last two decades, including the Bolia and Doro fields (Shell interest 55%). Nigeria Briefing Notes Helping to power Nigeria’s economy 13 In the right investment climate, SNEPCo believes that there are opportunities to expand. In 2021 the OML 118 (Bonga) production sharing contract was renewed and the lease extended for 20 years. Bonga North and Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil fields are two such potential opportunities. Bonga North is a proposed tie-back project to the existing Bonga FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 14 wells. BSWA is a development of a new FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 23 wells. SUPPORTING RENEWABLE ENERGY STARTUPS Millions of Nigerians are excluded from the country’s power grid and Shell Companies in Nigeria have established and provided substantial funding for a not-for-profit, impact-investing company called All On. Operating as an independent company, All On works to bring reliable electricity – often from renewable energy sources -- to off-grid urban and rural customers. This support aims to build a solid pipeline of viable businesses that can create the scale required to address Nigeria’s access to energy gap. In December 2019, SPDC and SNEPCo made a significant additional 10-year financing commitment of $160 million in All On, bringing the total commitment to $200 million. By the end of 2021, All On had provided investment capital to over 40 renewable energy start-ups in its portfolio – an increase of more than 30% from 2020. One such company is Infibranches Technologies Limited, to which All On has committed $2 million, which is expected to enable the indigenous technology company to expand sales of solar home systems via its more than 13,000 agent banking partners across Nigeria. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the All On Hub was established in 2020 to provide nonfinancial support and build the capabilities of off-grid energy entrepreneurs. In 2021, the hub supported 81 ventures – nearly double the 41 supported in 2020. Also in 2021, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet launched a $10 million equipment financing facility as part of the DART pilot programme in Nigeria. 7 Hydraulic flying leads support the delivery of hydraulic fluid and/or chemicals between subsea equipment. 8 Subsea trees are an assembly of valves and other components used to monitor and control the production of a subsea well. DART will combine demand pooling, aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, and access to affordable finance to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. DEVELOPING LOCAL CONTENT AND SKILLS Shell Companies in Nigeria contribute to the growth of Nigerian businesses that can provide technical and support services to the industry. This includes the manufacture of tools and technical kits, the operation of helicopter flights in the Niger Delta, and strategic partnerships between foreign and local companies to stimulate technology transfer and capacity development. While there are government-required programmes in some areas, such as the Nigerian and Community Content Strategy embedded in the Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately seek to contract local businesses wherever possible. In 2021, Shell Companies in Nigeria awarded $800 million worth of contracts to Nigerian-registered companies. Of these, 92% were companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership. SNEPCo has awarded major engineering and construction contracts to companies that are indigenous, have local staff, or possess domestic capabilities in the country. At present, the manufacture and rebuild of hydraulic flying leads7 (HFLs) is being carried out in-country by wholly indigenous companies. Pressure Controls Systems Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian company, continues to refurbish old subsea trees.8 Sometimes, a lack of access to capital hinders Nigerian companies from competing for and executing contracts effectively. Shell Companies in Nigeria have provided access to nearly $1.6 billion in loans to 901 Nigerian vendors under the Shell Contractor Support Fund since 2012. These loans help improve their tendering opportunities.

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