- Photo L-R: President, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigerian, Gbenga Adebayo; Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ubale Maska; Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NCC, Aminu Maida; Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Adeleke Adewolu; and President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Tony Emoekpere, at NCC EVC’s interactive session with chief executives of telecom companies in Nigeria, in Lagos on Thursday (November 16, 2023).
The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida has said that quality of service in the telecommunications sector is non-negotiable as he called for industry collaboration to make this a reality.
Maida, who spoke in Lagos at an interactive session with chief executive officers in the industry on Thursday, assured of collaborations within the industry and commitment to transparency in the telecom ecosystem.
He told the industry chieftains to appreciate that they have a very important role to play in an industry to consolidate on the achievements already recorded in the sector, which is an enabler of Nigeria’s digital economy.
Speaking as his confirmation as the substantive chief executive officer of the Commission was taking place at the Senate Chambers, Maida noted that the expectations of telecom consumers are very high.
“People actually expect telecom 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 telecom 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,” he said.
He also spoke about compliance to industry regulations and standards. “When it comes to compliance, this is an area where we are going to be placing a lot more focus, and things are going to be a lot more urgent. I am not going to be asking for compliance after the fact. That is going to be a very key area of focus for me.
“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 else. So, let people compare and say we have to be as good as telecom.”
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 said that he considered operating entities as a very crucial segment of the national telecom 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,” he said.
The CEOs, who expressed delight at the consultative approach of the EVC, promised to work closely in support of 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 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 boss of the NCC is very promising.