Telecoms investment in Nigeria now $75.6bn — NCC

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has said that the investment profile in the nation’s telecommunications sector, comprising foreign direct investment (FDI) and local investment, has reached $75.6 billion as of 2021.

Danbatta stated this at an interactive session with stakeholders in the communications media ecosystem in Lagos on Wednesday, where he provided his scorecards and landmark developments that have shaped the trajectory of growth in the telecoms sector since he became the chief telecom regulator in August 2015.

According to Professor Danbatta, in 2018, the investment profile in the sector stood at $68 billion. This increased to $70.5 billion in 2019 and $72 billion in 2020. At the end of 2021, the figure rose to $75,560,563,417.79 ($75.6 billion). The latest figure is the current official investment profile computed in the industry, up from the initial $70 billion investment in the last few years.

A statement by the Director of Public Affairs of NCC, Reuben Muoka, said investment in the telecommunications sector in Nigeria is computed from two sources: the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the financial data obtained from service providers by the Commission.

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It said while the CBN collects and calculates an element of the telecoms sector to include FDI, portfolio, and others, the Commission collects investment figures from telecom licensees described as domestic investment arising from capital expenditure (CAPEX) which form part of the total investment in the industry.

The NCC CEO said through the effective regulatory environment put in place by the Commission, the telecom sector has recorded tremendous growth from an initial investment profile of $500 million as of 2001 when the sector was fully liberalised.

Similarly, Danbatta said the telecom sector has continued to be a major contributor to Nigeria’s economy through an impressive sectoral contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) quarterly, up from about 8.5 percent in the third quarter of 2015, contributing N10.126 trillion to the nation’s GDP in 2022 alone.

Citing data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Danbatta said the telecoms sector contributed N10.126 trillion as an aggregate quarterly contribution to GDP in 2022.

“In the first quarter, the sector contributed 12.94 percent, equivalent to N2.246 trillion, while the second quarter witnessed an all-time high GDP contribution by the telecom sector to the nation’s economy, standing at 15 percent and valued at N2.593 trillion. The sector’s contribution to GDP in the third was 12.85 percent, and in the fourth quarter, it grew to 13.55 percent, which is valued at N2.436 trillion and N2.851 trillion, respectively.

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“The growth trajectory continued this year as the telecommunications and Information Services sector in Nigeria delivered a handsome N2. 508 trillion in terms of financial value contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product, GDP, representing 14.13% in the first quarter of 2023,” he said.

Telecoms’ contribution to national GDP has grown significantly since the assumption of Prof. Danbatta as the EVC of NCC in August 2015, according to available data from NBS.

From 8.50 percent in 2015, it grew to 9.13 percent in 2016 and to 8.66 percent in 2017. In the last quarter of 2018, telecoms contributed 9.85 percent to the national GDP, while it added 10.60 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Also, in the second quarter of 2010, it added 14.30 percent to GDP; 14.42 percent in the second quarter of 2021. The highest quarterly contribution to GDP by the sector to the economy was 15 percent in the second quarter of 2022.

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Danbatta said that overall, the sector has become a major enabler of economic development in Nigeria, as it continues to impact all the facets of the Nigerian economy positively.

“As the regulatory authority for the telecom sector in Nigeria, we are happy that the sector has recorded phenomenal growth statistics in the past two decades of the liberalization of the telecoms sector. However, we will not rest on our oars. We will continue to push upward to greater heights by encouraging the expansion of frontiers to put Nigeria’s imprint on the global map of the digital economy,” he said.

In addition to the growth in investment and GDP contribution, Danbatta said, “As of May 2023, active voice subscriptions reached 221.3 million, equivalent to 115.91 percent teledensity, while Internet subscriptions rose to 159.6 million.

According to the CEO of NCC, broadband subscriptions on Third Generation (3G) and Fourth Generation (4G) networks increased to 92.2 million, representing a 48.28 percent broadband penetration in the country.

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