Nigeria’s telecommunications generates trillions, offers poor service – Danbatta

  • As Ambode Sets To Optimize Lagos Waterways For Business, Leisures

Nigeria’s telecommunications sector has contributed over N15 trillion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), since the liberalisation of the sector began.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Executive Vice-Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta disclosed this during an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday.

Danbatta said the sector’s contribution to the GDP increased from eight per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016 to nine per cent in the first quarter of this year, noting that since his assumption of office about 18 months ago, the industry had been adding between N1.43 trillion and N1.45 trillion to the economy every quarter.

Danbatta who posited that his administration had been implementing an eight-point agenda it set out for itself however grieved over the poor quality of service offered by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) saying this is yet to be impressive, even though it had seemingly shown some stints of improvement in the first quarter of this year.

“Continuing drop in service quality has really created a huge gap between consumers and the MNOs”, he pointed out, stressing that the consistency of poor quality of service delivery might not be unconnected with the drops in mobile subscriptions.

“The commission will review the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set for the operators to meet, with a resolve that any of the MNOs that failed to meet up will be adequately sanctioned,” Danbatta said.

Speaking on the continuous drop in telephone subscriptions in the country, the NCC chief disclosed that the commission discovered that some subscribers were migrating from Third Generation (3G) to 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks.

“So they would rather use WhatsApp to communicate and even make free calls.

“Consumers are moving away from high tariff services to cheaper and free services,” he added.

The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management of the commission, Mr Sunday Dare, said that the commission had already read the riot act to service providers on poor services.

Dare who stated that this year’s first quarter KPI result was under review, maintained that there was however no deadline on improving QoS on the part of the operators, but that sanctions were on the cards.

“NCC is not in the habit of giving deadlines but when we get to giving deadlines, then know that we had sounded it long enough for the operators to improve,” Dare explained further.

In the meantime, the Lagos Government has indicated an intention to explore new ways of optimizing it’s abundant waterways for transportation and leisure, in furtherance of Government’s commitment to boost water transportation from its current 2% to 8 percent.

The Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Prince Anofi Olarenwaju Elegushi highlighted this while addressing a Press Conference on the activities of his ministry at Ikeja.

Elegushi averred that the provision of water transportation infrastructure and safety gadgets had significantly made Lagos waterways safer and more acceptable to the people. He added that proper channelization, route delineation and a broadly agreed operational guideline for operators have been key to the new boost the sector is showing.

Prince Elegushi who maintained that the reviving of the state-owned LagFerry, by its restructuring will ensure that government is actively promoting water transportation, adding that the various promoters and partners mandated to provide ferries and manage ferries operations were already being considered, noting that boats/ferries for transportation and leisure is to be purchased by the State Government.

While stating that the State Government has awarded the concessioning of Mile 2 terminals to Messrs Crowns worth Nig Ltd, the Commissioner said a full complement of mall, office complex, recreation and water transportation facilities will be made available.

He said plans are on-going for the concessioning of other terminals. He said plans to ensure the buy in of future generation of Lagosians to adopt water transportation bears full expression in the ‘’water savvy kids” programme by LASWA.

He assured that the Lagos waterways would be continuously cleared of weeds and dirts under the “keep the waterways clean” programme which has seen water hyacinth cleared from the Waterways, even as a new era of partnership with NIWA is envisaged to consolidate the gains, through ensure safety on the waterways.