WorldStage Newsonline – The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed that it will soon introduce registration fees on licensed telecommunications devices and short codes.
The commission made this known during the opening of a three-day public inquiry into the proposed revision of telecommunications regulations and guidelines on Tuesday in Abuja.
This comes after the federal government planned to implement a 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on telecommunications services.
The NCC’s Executive Vice President (EVC), Professor Umar Danbatta, said the review had become necessary due to current realities in the industry.
Danbatta said it has become imperative to amend the five existing regulatory instruments to reflect current realities.
According to him, the regulatory instruments under consideration affect all sectors of the telecommunications industry.
“The Type Approval Regulations provide a framework for the approval of communications equipment for connection to communications networks in Nigeria.
“This is in accordance with sections 130 to 134 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.
“The Guidelines on the Operation of Short Codes are intended to prescribe a standard of practice for providers of short code services.
“It will also provide a revised framework for the provision of these services and for protection against abuse.
“The third instrument, being the guidelines on the technical specifications for the deployment of the communication infrastructure,” he said.
According to him, it provides standards to be met by communication service providers to ensure environmental safety and good engineering practices.
“The fourth instrument is the Advertising and Promotions Guidelines.
“It provides minimum requirements and standards for promotional advertisements by licensed telecommunications operators in Nigeria.
“Finally, the fifth instrument, which is the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations, among others, sets rules for consumer protection.
“It prescribes the procedures to be followed by a licensee when preparing approved codes of practice for consumers, pursuant to Section 106 of the Act,” Danbatta said.
He said the NCC has also introduced business rules for type approval to address issues that cannot be accommodated in regulations and to ensure that the type approval process is transparent.
The EVC said broadband penetration in Nigeria has increased by 91.70% over the past four years, with over 84 million internet subscriptions in the country.
“We hope this review will improve standards and procedures for type approvals, how short codes work, and advertising and promotions,” he said.
Mr. Nwanze Ononye, Senior Director of the Technical Standards and Network Integrity Department, said licensed telecom devices and short codes for consumers were previously free.
“What the commission is introducing that didn’t exist before is payment for licensed telecom devices and short codes, which were previously free,” he said.
Ms. Helen Obi, Head of Department of Telecommunications Laws and Regulations, Department of Legal and Regulatory Services, said the public inquiry was a way for the NCC to incorporate comments and suggestions from industry stakeholders. .
Obi said this would help in the development of his regulatory instruments.
“This process ensures that regulatory instruments issued by the commission are consistent with current industry realities,” she said.