Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, has called on the Federal Government to revisit its forex policy for importation of telecommunications equipment in the country.
Speaking at the Universal Service Provision Fund, USPF’s “Focused industry stakeholders’ forum, in Lagos, Danbatta said the call was imperative because of the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure as Nigeria is currently at the bottom 10 of the world in terms of infrastructure development and hence the need for special incentives for the telecommunications firms “to tackle our infrastructure deficit”.
He said the policy is hampering telecom operators from importing relevant equipments needed to deepen telecommunications growth as well as extending services to the rural areas.
The EVC said commission is working towards providing telephony services to the approximately 36.8 million people identified as unserved and underserved in the clusters.
He, however, noted that the unserved population in Nigeria has been reduced from 36.8 million (34.5%) in 2013 to 33.7 million (22.5%) in 2015 based on the Access Gap Study and using the 150 million population benchmark.
“Our job today, is to amplify the cohesion and collaboration required for our interventions to be notable in the quest to achieve universal access in Nigeria. We are desirous of seamless collaboration with all partners to build a sustainable universal access and universal service infrastructure that will serve as a catalyst for improving Nigerians’ quality of life and promote socio-economic development.
“We promise to monitor the operators to ensure that forex allocated is judiciously used for that which it was originally meant for, if the government will be magnanimous enough to relax the forex restriction policy for them. So I call on everyone here to help in appealing to the government to revisit the policy so that equipments needed to boost critical infrastructure for development in the sector will come in.”
Earlier in his speech, the USPF’s secretary, Mr. Ayuba Shuaibu, however said that the establishment of the Universal Service provision Fund is to facilitate the achievement of national policy goals for universal access to information and communication technologies.


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