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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Telecom has transform Nigeria landscape - Ndukwe

Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe has said that the growth in the telecommunications sector has greatly transformed the nation’s socio economic landscape.

This, he said is based on the level of physical, direct and indirect developments in the telecommunications sector, as it has had positive impact on virtually all facets of life of the country.

He made this declaration at a recent event in Lagos, and said some of the transformation came about as a result of job creation, which he said is presently in excess of 12,000 direct employments.

According to him, in the telecommunications sector hundreds of thousands more are informally employed through the sector.

He also reiterated that NCC is not interested in fixing retail prices but consistently monitors the prices at which the operators offer their services to the public.

“Government’s interface with the citizens is now faster, family contact is renewed across distant parts, and businesses thrive thanks to their ability to link their customers in new and innovative ways,” he said, stressing that ownership of phones now cuts across the various social classes, thereby opening great opportunities for electronically empowered Nigerian state.

“Opening great opportunities for e-health, e-education, e-security, e-commerce and e-banking, in the country,” he said.

Ndukwe equally said telecommunication sector is a key contributor to Gross Domestic Products (GDP), which has continued to actively contribute to the GDP of the country.

“The percentage share of GDP from telecommunications sector rose from 0.06 in 1999 to 2.39 in 2007 at 1990 basic prices,” the NCC boss said.

He noted that the opening up of the Nigeria’s market space to competition in all segments of the industry has resulted in major drop in prices for telecommunications services.

Pre-2001, he pointed out, that the cost of subscription to Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTEL’s) analogue mobile services was over N60,000 per line and that Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) subscription started with a price of N20,00 per line and today, this figure has fallen to almost zero.

“The tariff calls on the GSM network was as high as N50 per minute at inception, today, a call on a GSM network can be made for lower than N25.00 per minute (mobile to mobile),” he said.

Maintaining that as much as the commission does not and would not fix retail prices, it intervenes when necessary in determining interconnect-rates for the industry.

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