The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) said it has restored regulatory services to one of its licensees, Globacom Limited after it successfully cleared its outstanding debt obligations to the Commission for unpaid spectrum fees, numbering fees, and Annual Operating Levy (AOL).
The Commission in a statement signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, said it has also stepped down planned enforcement action against Globacom over its breach of extant regulations by failing to pay its debts despite several demand notices.
The Commission had temporarily withdrawn the suspension of regulatory services to Globacom in a letter dated May 22, 2023, titled “Re: Continuous Breach of Commission’s Laws and Regulations.”
The suspension of regulatory services to Globacom was automatically reinstated after it failed to meet the conditions for the earlier withdrawal.
Globacom’s debt debacle
While the NCC did not state the amount owed and paid by the telecom company, an earlier report by Sahara Reporters citing Presidency sources had claimed that Globacom was owing the telecom regulator and by extension, the Nigerian government to the tune of almost N200 billion.
The report published on Wednesday stated that Mike Adenuga, founder and owner of Globacom Limited, had paid N154 billion to the Nigerian government, as part of the spectrum license renewal fees for the company.
According to the report, the indulgence of Gobacom to continue to hold on to money that should have gone to the government coffers was one of the reasons for the removal of the immediate past Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta.
New leadership at NCC
Recall that President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday announced some changes in the leadership of agencies under the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, which saw the exit of Danbatta from the NCC, while Aminu Maida was named as the new CEO of the Commission.
Aside from the issue of debts by mobile operators, which includes mounting interconnect debts among the players, Aminu Maida will be inheriting a number of unfinished projects from the Danbatta-led NCC. Top among these is the implementation of the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020-2025), which has now become more challenging as penetration has been declining in the last few months.
With a target of 70% broadband penetration by 2025 and penetration currently at 45.57%, all eyes will be on Maida to deliver on this target and address other burning telecom issues such as poor quality of service, and declining investments in telecom, among others.