The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has embarked on a regulatory move to sensitize the industry to the need for adequate and ongoing risk identification with a view to managing these risks before they affect the health of the industry.
To this end, the Commission hosted its first two-day conference at its headquarters in Abuja, where its Executive Vice-President, Professor Omar Danpatta said it had become imperative to reduce risks in the industry to ensure that services were not interrupted, and that consumers received the best services available globally.
The conference, with the theme: “Nigerian Telecom Industry: Managing Emerging Risks and Embracing Risk Opportunities”, 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 telecom to ensure sustainable and impactful growth.
Advocating for EVC, Yetunde Akinloye, Director of Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis said the core of the forum was to examine the myriad of issues that challenge the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, and to promote the development of a sustainable ICT sector in Nigeria .
“The focus of this conference is to highlight the ever-increasing uncertainties in the global economy and the attendant regulatory/operational risks in the areas of increasing data security regulations, new partnerships and transformative business models, the rapidly changing mix of escalating capital expenditure (CAPEX) burdens, and changing market structures,” Danpatta said. scenarios of newly emerging disruptions, regulatory and policy challenges among others.
The EVC told participants at the event, which also included virtual participation, that the Commission has been at the forefront of ensuring that the telecom industry is not adversely affected by these uncertainties/risks.
He stated, “One of our strategic visions is to ensure a competitive market for telecommunications services that promote fair inclusion of all players, and promote local content and innovative services in ways that facilitate new investment, job creation, and consumer satisfaction.”
Danpata said the NDEPS is the guiding document for the federal government’s activities to maximize the huge opportunities inherent in digital technologies to drive the diversification of the Nigerian economy and achieve key national goals of improving security, reducing corruption and expanding the economy.
“While risk management has been paramount in the delivery of our regulatory services, we acknowledge that all stakeholders should be concerned about the various uncertainties facing the industry. There is no gain from the fact that the ICT sector is inherently riddled with many Business and technology risks.
Therefore, it is important to minimize regulatory risks to ensure that services are not disrupted, and that consumers receive the best and latest services available globally.
In an effort to ensure that operators in the industry have a favorable operating environment, it has had reason to request government interventions and collaborate with other government agencies in addressing key sectoral risks.
“These risks include cybersecurity and online fraud, regulatory burden, multiple taxes, sabotage of communications infrastructure, right-of-way challenges, access to foreign exchange, and indebtedness between industries, among others,” he said.
In his presentation titled “X-ray Telecom Risk Radar: An Operators Perspective,” one of the facilitators at the event, who spoke on issues of concern to operators, Eniola Olugboyega, said that risk can have a positive or negative impact on companies.
He also stated that the most common losses from improper risk management in the sector include customer dissatisfaction, fines, litigation, product failure and job loss, among others.
According to him, effective risk management helps in effective decision making, prevents financial and reputational loss and addresses potential threats.
Thus, telecom risks from the perspective of operators include regulatory risk, insecurity, data breach risk, foreign exchange risk, increased capital expenditure risk, human resource risk, and inability to take advantage of new business models.
NCC seeks to identify and remove risks in the telecom sector