NCC Generates N1.5trn In 3 Years – Pantami 

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has disclosed that the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector generated about N1.5 trillion over the past three years through the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

The minister disclosed this during the 2022 and 2023 budgets defence held at the instance of the joint Senate and House Committees on Communications and ICT & Cyber Security.

Chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Akeem Adeyemi, however, demanded for evidence of revenues remitted into the Federation Account, contracts awarded, reduction in the 2022 personnel cost of N1.033 billion and the proposed N991.899 million for 2023 budget estimates.

In his presentation, the minister explained that the Ministry recorded three unprecedented contributions to GDP in Q1 2020 with 14.07 per cent, 17.92 per cent in Q2 2021 and 18.44 per cent in Q2 2022, and played pivotal role in lifting the economy out of recession with the ICT sector recording the highest growth rate in Q4, 2020 as the only sector that grew by double digits.

He added that the Ministry and its parastatals established 2,000 ICT projects and centres across the country within two years; developed 19 policy documents, as well as ensure complete implementation of 70 per cent access to broadband connectivity by 2025.

According to him, the Ministry has generated significant funds for the Federal Government including the recent auctioning of the 5G Spectrum which generated $547.2 million for the government, amongst other significant contributions to the economy of the country.

He observed that in August 2019, the broadband coverage was 33.7 per cent and today it is 44.65 per cent, representing close to 13 million new broadband users, adding that there were 13,823 4G base stations and we now have 36,751, representing a 165.86 per cent increase. The percentage 4G coverage across the country also increased from 23 per cent to 77.52 per cent

Additionally, the cost of data has crashed from N1,200 per GB to about N350, making it easier for Nigerians to connect to the Internet.

From less than 40 million people with National Identification Numbers (NINs) in October 2020, we now have about 91 million NIN records in October 2022.

“Our approval of National 5G Policy, the auctioning of the spectrum and the deployment of the technology has the potential to transform the digital technology landscape in Nigeria in the next few years. As one of the few countries that have deployed the technology in Africa, it positions to continue leading the way in Africa,” he said.

The Minister further noted that quarterly revenues generated for the Federal Government rose from N51.3 billion to N408.7 billion and the quarterly savings for government through the IT Projects’ Clearance Process rose from N12.45 million to N10.57 billion. Over 863,372 citizens benefited from digital skills programmes and 355,610 direct and indirect jobs were created.

During the exercise, the lawmakers including Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai expressed concerns over the N572,529,322 released out of N1,032,789,793 appropriated for personnel cost which stood at 100 per cent implementation level as at October 2022, alleging that the Ministry inflated the personnel cost, considering the sum of N991,898,999 proposed in the 2023 budget estimate.

The lawmakers also demanded for evidence of payment of the sum of N366.327 million revenues generated and paid into the Federation Account by the Ministry and contracts awarded during the period under review.

The lawmakers also queried the alleged duplication of some budget lines including local travels, trainings among others in the proposed 2023 budget.

Breakdown of the overall budget proposals of N29.018 billion for the Ministry and its parastatals, the sum of N4.068 billion is for the main Ministry, N4.544 billion is for NIGCOMSAT, N13.703 billion is for NIPOST and N6.682 billion is for National Identity management Commission (NIMC).

According to the documents submitted to the joint Committees, the sum of N2 billion revenue is expected from non-commercial spectrum licenses and renewal fees in 2023.

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