Telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has called on operators to review their governance practices to conform with the Code of Corporate Governance in the industry. The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare, made the call during the Annual Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum on Selected Licence Categories held in Lagos. Represented by the Director, Licensing and Authorisation, NCC, Ms Funlola Akiode, Dare said there are existing Service Level Agreements and codes of conduct in the telecommunications industry.
He said these Service Level Agreements and codes of conduct, when appropriately implemented, would guarantee conducive operating environment. According to him, such conducive operating environment will significantly reduce the need for regulatory intervention. “I wish to particularly mention the Code of Corporate Governance for the telecoms industry. We are concerned that much of the problems bedeviling the industry can, arguably, be traced to lax governance standards. We expect all licensees – including those on whom the code is not yet mandatory – to review their governance practices to better conform with the code,’’ he said. Dare said the commission had taken steps to ensure that the industry continually adapts to the evolution in the telecommunications sector.
He said that NCC licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to roll out shared access broadband infrastructure across the country, on an output-based incentive system, with a view to speeding up broadband penetration. According to him, the commission has also recently concluded the licensing of Value Added Services (VAS) aggregators to improve the service delivery framework and consumer satisfaction on value-added services. “The framework will, therefore, ensure that telecommunications subscribers truly get added value when they sign up for such services. It will ensure that all stakeholders along the value chain are treated equitably so that the industry can grow.
Our expectation is that licensees will compliment interventions like these from the commission by instituting best practices in the running of their activities,’’ he said. The Executive Commissioner said the commission was not disregarding the impact of the disruptive changes brought about by advancements in technology, changing values and growing efficiency. He said that a consequence of the mix was that businesses were having to grapple with staying alive as their turnovers take successive hits. He added that an example was the impact of Over-The-Top (OTT) services that are eating into traditional revenue at a pace that barely allows legacy companies the wiggle room to respond to the changes taking place.
Also speaking the Director, Licensing and Authorisation, NCC, Ms Funlola Akiode, who was represented by the Head, Post Licensing Unit, NCC, Mr. Chukwuma Azikiwe, said that the forum was aimed at fostering harmonious relationship with licensees and identifying their challenges. Akiode said that the forum was to re-emphasis the role of licensees in ensuring good quality of service. She said that the Nigerian telecommunications industry had continued to make giant strides, which was evidenced in the progressive growth of mobile telephony and internet penetration/data usage.