By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A total of N51.3 billion was remitted to the federal government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in the first quarter of 2019.
A statement signed on Monday by the agency’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr Henry Nkemadu, disclosed that the remittance was in compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 (FRA 2007).
According to the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the payment represents “Payment on Account” in respect of operating surplus of N44 billion and N7.3 billion spectrum assignment fee collected, both of which are due to the Federal Government as at April 30, 2019.
Provisions of the FRA 2007 stipulated that such payments are to be made every year after preparation of Audited Accounts.
Specifically, Section 22, Sub-section 1 of the Act states that, “Notwithstanding the provisions of any written law governing the Corporation, each Corporation shall establish a general reserve fund and shall allocate thereto at the end of each financial year, one fifth of its operating surplus for the year.”
Section 22, Sub-section 2 of the Act states further that, “The balance of the operating surplus shall be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government not later than one month following the statutory deadline for publishing each Corporation’s Account.”
Aside from remitting the operating surplus, Section 17, Sub-section 3 of the Nigerian Communication Act (NCA, 2003) also stipulates that spectrum assignment fees generated shall be remitted 100 per cent to the Federal Government.
The Section states that, “the Commission shall pay all monies accruing from the sales of Spectrum under Part 1 of Chapter VIII into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).”
Commenting further, the EVC said the commission had taken the initiative to be making payments on account as it generates revenue.
Mr Danbatta noted that through effective regulatory oversight by the commission, telecommunications sector has witnessed phenomenal growth since 2001, making it an enabler of economic growth and development.
“To date, telecoms industry has positively impacted all the sectors of the economy including banking, healthcare, commerce, transportation, agriculture, education and so on, with increased quarter-on-quarter contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Mr Danbatta added.
For instance, latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the telecoms industry contributed 10.11 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP in the first quarter of 2019.
This represents a 0.92 per cent increase from the first quarter of the last year. This year’s first quarter contribution is also 0.26 per cent more than the figure (9.85 per cent) recorded in the last quarter of 2018.
“From 2001 till date, telecoms investment has increased tremendously from $500 million to over $70 billion, just as the Commission intensifies measures aimed to further facilitate investment growth in telecoms infrastructure to drive the economy, especially through the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos). We are also working with necessary stakeholders across all levels of government to address identified impediments to investment drive in the sector,” the NCC chief said.
Mr Danbatta, while providing latest data on the industry to underscore the impressive growth already recorded in the industry, said “in the 21st Century, access to pervasive broadband is a game changer for any economy.”
He explained further: “The Commission has since placed greater emphasis on broadband development as the next frontier for economic growth by driving efficiency and innovations in Nigeria. Consequently, through painstaking implementation of our 8-Point Agenda with the need to facilitate broadband development topping the agenda, we have been able to increase broadband penetration to 33.13 per cent as at end of May, 2019.”
Accordingly, Mr Danbatta stated that as at May this year, there were over 173.6 million active mobile lines across mobile networks, corresponding to a teledensity of 90.98 per cent. Internet subscriptions during the month stood at 122.6 million up from 119 million in April.
The EVC noted that while the industry has provided and continues to provide direct and indirect jobs for millions of Nigerians, the Commission, through effective regulatory approach, is embarking on more initiatives to boost access to telecoms services in rural, unserved and underserved areas across the country “by ensuring service availability, accessibility and affordability for more Nigerians.”
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