The impressive performance of telecommunications industry lifted Nigeria out of recession in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020.
The industry, regulated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), contributed 12.45 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Director of Public Affairs (DPA), NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, made this known in Abuja and said the latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated telecommunications and Information Services under Information and Communication grew by 17.64 per cent in Q4 2020 from 17.36 per cent in Q3 2020 and 10.26 per cent in Q4 2019.
He said that in the latest NBS report, agriculture, industries, and services sector, under which telecommunications is categorised, contributed 26.95 per cent, 18.77 per cent, and 54.28 per cent respectively.
“This is a pointer to the fact that telecommunications, trade, services and crop production are the main drivers of Nigeria’s exit from recession.
“In specific terms, NBS report showed that largest sub-sectors in Q4 2020 are crop production at 3.68 per cent, crude petroleum and natural gas at 8.2 percent, trade at 14.9 per cent,
“Telecommunications and information services at 12.45 per cent, and real estate at 5.7 per cent, the report says.
He said that the telecommunications sector had, in the last five years been a major driver of the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government.
The DPA said that it had continued to provide the needed digital sinews that support the economy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restriction period.
He explained that since the outbreak of the pandemic, government institutions, businesses and individuals had relied heavily on telecoms services to carry out their daily operations and official routines.
He said that in response to the increased demand, the Commission put a number of regulatory measures in place to ensure seamless access by Nigerians to telecommunication services.
He, however, said that it would also protect against any adverse impact on the quality of service enjoyed by consumers.
“The steady growth of the telecoms sector over the years with its pervasive positive impact on all other sectors of the economy in terms of increased automation of processes and digital transformation in service delivery has been remarkable.
“The growth trend since 2015 has reawakened hope that the economic diversification dreams of the country may finally be a reality.
“The sector will continues to energise significant economic activities in the services sector of the economy.
He also explained that telecoms investment grew from about $38 billion in 2015 to over $70 billion currently, under the leadership of its Executive Vice-Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta
Adinde informed that broadband penetration increased from 6 per cent in 2015 to 45.02 per cent at December, 2020, indicating that 85.9 million Nigerians were now connected on 3G and 4G networks.
He said that it provides enhanced high-speed Internet that had continued to boost efficiency and increase productivity across the economic spectrum.
According to him, recent statistics also indicate that between 2015 and December, 2020, active voice subscriptions have increased from 151 million to 204.6 million, with teledensity standing at 107.18 per cent.
“Basic active internet subscriptions grew from 90 million to 154.3 million during the period,” he said.
He assured that the commission was committed to its culture of quality regulation of the telecommunications industry that ensures a stable and robust sector.
It also drives the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government and ultimately leads in the growth of the country’s GDP.