The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has again restated its commitment to increase the number of base transceiver stations (BTS) from its current 39,000 to 80,000 in its efforts to bridge access gap and substantially address connectivity issues in the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, stated this at the National Assembly during the 2019 budget performance review and 2020 budget proposal defence of the NCC and the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).
The session held at the instance of the NASS joint Committee on Communications and Telecommunication of the two houses of NASS.
Danbatta also informed the legislators about the challenges hindering faster deployment of telecoms infrastructure and requested the support of the National Assembly as the Commission prepares to deploy broadband access points in each of the 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria.
The EVC affirmed that once the Commission gets the needed support in those and other areas where it is experiencing challenges, connectivity will be better and so will the quality of telecom service delivery.
Danbatta reiterated the need for State governments to implement the N145 approved by the Federal Executive Committee (FEC) as the amount to be charged by states per metre of fibre laid by the mobile operators.
“As we speak, there is no indication that all the states are complying with the resolution of the National Economic Council in this regard. This has to be addressed because it is encumbering accelerated infrastructure rollout by the operators coupled with several other challenges such as multiple taxation and regulation as well as vandalism. These challenges are undermining our determination to achieve a more robust and pervasive telecommunication experience for the people of Nigeria in keeping with the vision of President Buhari’s administration,” Danbatta said.
Members of the joint NASS Committee, chaired by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, acknowledged the cost-cutting measures of the Commission as reflected in 2020 budget proposal of the Commission which shows a drastic reduction in many aspects of recurrent expenditure.
After the Committee members have sought clarifications and received satisfactory answers on aspects of the budget performance and the proposals, Tinubu said the NCC’s 2020 budget indicates compliance with the direction of President Muhammadu Buhari to run a more efficient government through effective cost-cutting measures.