Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Why NigComSat’ll not get license – NCC

The board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has adduced some reasons why it would not approve operational license for the Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd (NigComSat).

This was contained in a communiqué issued by NCC at the end of its board’s meeting at the weekend in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to NCC deliberations where held on various challenges affecting the telecommunications industry in the country till date with emphasise on campaign by the NigComSat in some national dailies and decided that NCC will not join issues with NigComSat or any other government agencies on the pages of the newspapers.

“It is however important to clarify the Commission’s position and put into proper perspective the salient issues in this case. In the said publication, NigComSat had stated that they had applied for the use of certain frequencies and licences to enable them provide fixed, mobile and last mile services,” the communiqué endorsed by the Head, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Dave Imoko stated.

NCC, therefore, noted with concern that NigComSat’s application stands as an aberration to the guidelines of telecommunications industry in the country and contrary to the National Telecoms Policy (NTP) passed since 2003.

The commission pointed out that with the approval of the Federal Executive Council, the adoption and publication of the National Telecoms Policy (NTP), the Nigerian government firmly resolved to liberalise the telecommunications market and promote competition.

NCC cited an instance with one of the policy objectives of NTP, which paved the way for the restructuring and privatisation of NITEL and M-TEL by the divestment of majority shares owned by the government to the private sector.

“This has been achieved by the sale of a substantial portion of government interest in NITEL and M-TEL to Transcorp,” NCC noted, citing Section 5.0 and 5.2 of the policy, which centred on existing public enterprises and privatisation respectively.

Hence, the role of government is to provide overall direction to telecommunications development and ensure policy consistency.

“This role does not include participating in the provision of telecom services which is consistent with policy objectives as contained in chapter 2 Section 2.1 of NTP,” NCC said, in addition to ensuring that government divest interest in state owned entities and promote competition to meet growing demand through full liberalization of the telecom market.

As said by commission, the purpose of these prescriptions in the policy is to ensure a level playing field and drive competition among licensed telecommunications operators by making sure that government restricts itself to policy and regulation.

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