By Chioma Iruke
In a bid to upgrade Nigeria’s telecommunication parameters to meet global standards, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that it has started the process of reviewing the existing telecoms licensing structure.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made the disclosure when he inaugurated an in-house Standing Committee to carry out the task.
Danbatta, while inaugurating the Committee, said the need for the review of the existing license structure was informed by the wide range of technological advances, convergence of technologies and services which have characterized the global telecoms space over the years, and which impact is increasingly being experienced in Nigeria.
According to him, the current license structure is almost 20 years old, hence the need for an urgent review of the existing license pattern to reflect new licensing trends in line with international standards while providing opportunities for improved revenue for government.
“Therefore, it is evidently clear that this Standing Committee, drawn up from competent hands in various departments of the Commission, is perfectly suited and capable of addressing the enormous task of reviewing the existing license structure of telecom licensees in Nigeria,” he said.
While noting that the work of the Standing Committee will be carried out in phases, Danbatta said effective delivery of the Committee’s task will help the Commission to institute a process, which will culminate in the review of the terms and conditions of the various license categories.
This, he said, will include licensing fee, as well as identification of the limitations of the various license categories, with a view to clearly determining licenses that should be phased out or amended.
Danbatta further outlined management’s seven-point deliverables from the Committee to include a comprehensive review/report on existing licenses; report and recommendations on consultative fora; and report on recommended new license undertakings. Others include a report on recommended amendment to license fees and durations; a report on benchmarking of license with similar jurisdictions, a report on the impact of certain licenses on other license holders.
The Committee is also expected to recommend solutions, as well as develop updated regulatory framework for new and amended licenses as the case may be; and a final report on the project with all recommendations.