The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, has remitted N70 billion into the federation account in the first quarter of 2016, precisely from December 2015 to March 2016, according to a statement released by the commission.
The amount is in addition to the N30 billion paid by MTN Nigeria Communications Limited recently, as a part payment of the N330 billion fine slammed by NCC and the $96 million paid by the same MTN, for 5 MHz of 6 slots of 30MHz in the 2.6GHz band auction that it won this year.
The generation and remission of the N70 billion into the federation account by the NCC, is coming at a time when the country is in need of money, owing to its shrinking economy, occasioned by the sharp drop in the prices of oil at the international markets.
It was however gathered that the N70 billion that was remitted, is part of the total contribution of the telecoms sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is put at over N1.4 trillion in quarter one, according to financial figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
NCC has been in the vanguard of generating non-oil revenue for the nation and under the leadership of its current Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the commission has continued to generate funds for the federal government, through transparent auction of broadband spectrums that will deepen broadband penetration and make access a lot easier and cheaper.
Through its strict but transparent regulatory functions, NCC was able to fine MTN a whooping N1.04 trillion as fine for refusal to deactivate 5.2 million unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards on the MTN network, despite repeated warnings from the NCC. The fine was however reduced to N330 billion after several plea negotiations from MTN and the telecoms company has paid the sum of N80 billion as part of staggered payment agreement reached between the company and the NCC.
Confirming the contribution of NCC and the entire telecoms industry to GDP growth of the county, the Special Assistant to Danbatta on Media, Yakubu Musa, said: “These and many more, including the N1.4 trillion telecom sector contribution to the GDP, are no doubt, parts of significant feats under Danbatta’s leadership.”
Based on its financial contributions to the growth of the Nigerian economy, coupled with its recent regional award as the African Regulator of the year at the African Information Technology and Telecoms Awards (AITTA) in Ghana, Danbatta was invited along side heads of key government agencies to make a presentation at a two-day retreat on enhancing revenue generation in the country.
The retreat, which is geared towards sensitising stakeholders on the funding of the 2016 Budget, commenced Wednesday in in Kano State, ended on July 15.