By Emmanuel Adeleke
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida has reiterated that excellent service delivery in the telecommunications sector is non-negotiable.
Maida, who stated this in Lagos during an interactive session with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in the industry, assured of collaborations within the industry and commitment to transparency in the telecoms ecosystem.
He said the industry chieftains have a very important role to play in consolidating on the achievements already recorded in the sector, which is an enabler of Nigeria’s digital economy.
“People actually expect telecoms services to work. I don’t think they really appreciate what it takes to deliver these services. So, it has come to a stage they just see telecoms service as utility like water and electricity. Like a social service, it needs to work. We need to really come together in the industry and deliver value to the customer.
“When it comes to compliance, this is an area where we are going to be placing more focus, and things are going to be urgent.
“So, we owe it to ourselves to benchmark ourselves against the best, not against other sectors. We have to just take ourselves as setting the benchmark for every person. So, let people compare and say we have to be as good as telecoms,” he said.
On broadband, Maida said the commission has a very short time to do so much.
“A lot has been done with the Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) licensing. We just have to re-imagine, look at it again, and see whether that is the right approach and re-imagine how we approach it. We now need to start getting into the states, and perhaps we might need to sit down and see how we can do that differently. Again, on the broadband issue, we need to increase the investment,” he said.
The new NCC boss stressed that he considered operating entities as a very crucial segment of the national telecoms development, hence his desire to hear directly from industry CEOs about the issues, challenges and opportunities.
“We also have to be clear that this is not just a conversation about you representing your shareholders. This is a conversation about Nigeria. This is a conversation about moving Nigeria forward. So, your shareholders are one part of your stakeholders, but Nigerians are also another critical, in fact, your most important stakeholders. So, this conversation is going to be about you having your shareholders, but you also have Nigerians to whom you will have to deliver services,” Maida added.
The CEOs, who expressed delight at the consultative approach of the EVC, promised to work closely in supporting Maida’s mandate.
President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Tony Emoekpere, said the industry is reassured by the steps that Maida has taken in convening the interactive session.
“We are really encouraged that your first action is to meet with us here at this interactive session. What you have done to invite us here to hear what we have to say. That is the right step,” he said.
Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, commended the interactive session for providing a platform for discussing the issues in the industry.
He said the approach of the new NCC boss is very promising.