The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has hosted a two-day maiden conference on risks identification and elimination in the telecoms sector.
It was a regulatory step by the Commission to sensitise the industry on need for proper and continuous risk identification with the view to managing such before they affect the health of the industry.
The conference, as contained in a press release by the NCC Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, was held at the headquarters of the Commission in Abuja.
The conference had the theme: “Nigerian Telecommunications Industry: Managing the Emerging Risks and Embracing Risk Opportunities”.
It called for collaboration between the regulator and other stakeholders in the industry, to achieve multi-stakeholder strategies aimed at identifying and addressing emerging risks in the telecommunications sector to ensure sustainable and impacting growth.
Speaking at the conference, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta, said it has become imperative to minimise risks in the industry to ensure that services are not disrupted, and that consumers obtain the best services that are globally available.
The EVC, represented by Director of Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, Yetunde Akinloye, said the essence of the forum was to examine myriads of issues that challenge the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030.
Danbatta added that its essence was also to enhance the development of a sustainable Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in Nigeria.
“The focus of this conference is to bring to the fore the ever-rising uncertainties in the global economy and the attendant regulatory/operational risks in the areas of increased data security regulations, new partnerships and transforming business models, fast-changing mix of mounting capital expenditure (CAPEX) burdens, shifting market structures, newly emerging disruption scenarios, regulatory and policy challenges amongst others,” he said.
The EVC told participants at the conference, which also featured virtual participation, that NCC has been at the forefront of ensuring that the telecoms industry is not adversely impacted by these uncertainties/risks.
He stated that “one of our Strategic Visions is to ensure a competitive market for the communications services that foster fair inclusion of all players, promote local content and innovative services in ways that facilitate new investment, job creation and consumer satisfaction.”
Danbatta said the NDEPS is the guiding document for the Federal Government’s activities to maximise the immense opportunities that are inherent in digital technologies to nudge the diversification of Nigeria’s economy and attain the key national objectives of improving security, reducing corruption, and expanding the economy.
“While risk management has been critical in our regulatory service delivery, we acknowledge that all stakeholders must be concerned about the varied uncertainties that confront the industry.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that the Information and Communication Technology Sector is inherently filled with several business and technology risks.
“It is, therefore, important that regulatory risks be minimised to ensure that services are not disrupted, and consumers obtain the best and latest services that are globally available.
“The Commission, in a bid to ensure that operators in the industry enjoy a conducive operating environment, has had cause to seek government interventions and collaborate with other agencies of government in addressing major sectoral risks.
“These risks include cybersecurity and online fraud, regulatory burden, multiple taxation, vandalism of telecommunication infrastructure, right of way challenges, access to foreign exchange, inter-industry indebtedness, among others,” Danbatta said.
In his paper presentation titled ‘X-raying Telecommunications Risk Radar: The Operators’ Perspective’, a facilitator at the conference, Eniola Olugboyega, said risk-taking can have positive or negative impact on businesses.
He also stated that most common losses from improper management of risk in the sector include customer dissatisfaction, fines and litigation, product failure, and loss of business opportunities, among others.
According to Olugboyega, effective risk management aids effective decision making, prevents financial and reputational loss and addresses potential threats.
Thus, he said, telecommunication risk from the operators’ perspective includes regulatory risk, insecurity, data breach risk, foreign exchange risk, rising CAPEX risk, human resource risk, and the inability to take advantage of new business models.