Telecom Sector Risk: NCC, Stakeholders Collaborate On Elimination

Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is seeking collaboration with stakeholders in the industry in order to identify and address emerging risks in the telecommunications sector to ensure sustainable and impacting growth.

The Executive Vice Chairman, of the commission Prof. Umar Danbatta, stated this at a conference titled: “Nigerian Telecommunications Industry: Managing the Emerging Risks and Embracing Risk Opportunities,”according to a statement by the Director Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka on Tuesday in Abuja.

Danbatta said it had become imperative to minimize risks in the industry to ensure that services are not disrupted, and that consumers obtain the best services that are globally available.

The EVC who was represented by the Director of Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, Yetunde Akinloye, said the essence of the forum was to examine myriads of issues that challenge the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, and to enhance the development of a sustainable ICT sector in Nigeria.

“The focus of this conference is to bring to the fore the ever-rising uncertainties in the global economy and the attendant regulatory/operational risks in the areas of increased data security regulations, new partnerships and transforming business models, fast-changing mix of mounting capital expenditure (CAPEX) burdens, shifting market structures, newly emerging disruption scenarios, regulatory and policy challenges amongst others,”.

The EVC told participants at the event, which also featured virtual participation, that the Commission had been at the forefront of ensuring that the telecoms industry was not adversely impacted by these uncertainties/risks.

He stated that one of their Strategic Visions was to ensure a competitive market for the communications services that foster fair inclusion of all players, promote local content and innovative services in ways that facilitate new investment, job creation and consumer satisfaction.

Danbatta said the NDEPS was the guiding document for the Federal Government’s activities to maximise the immense opportunities that were inherent in digital technologies to nudge the diversification of Nigeria’s economy and attain the key national objectives of improving security, reducing corruption, and expanding the economy.

“While risk management has been critical in our regulatory service delivery, we acknowledge that all stakeholders must be concerned about the varied uncertainties that confront the Industry.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that the Information and Communication Technologies Sector is inherently filled with several business and technology risks,” Danbatta said.

“It is, therefore, important that regulatory risks be minimised to ensure that services are not disrupted, and consumers obtain the best and latest services that are globally available.

“The Commission in a bid to ensure that operators in the industry enjoy a conducive operating environment has had cause to seek government interventions and collaborate with other Agencies of Government in addressing major sectoral risks.

“These risks include cybersecurity and online fraud, regulatory burden, multiple taxation, vandalism of telecommunication infrastructure, right of way challenges, access to foreign exchange, inter-industry indebtedness, among others,” he said.

In his paper presentation titled ‘X-raying Telecommunications Risk Radar: The Operators’ Perspective’, a facilitator at the event, Eniola Olugboyega, who spoke to issues of concern to operators, said that risk-taking can have positive or negative impact on businesses.

He also stated that most common losses from improper management of risk in the sector include customer dissatisfaction, fines and litigation, product failure, and loss of business opportunities, among others.

According to him, effective risk management aids effective decision making, prevents financial and reputational loss and addresses potential threats.

Thus, telecommunication risk from the operators’ perspective includes regulatory risk, insecurity, data breach risk, foreign exchange risk, rising CAPEX risk, human resource risk, and the inability to take advantage of new business models.

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