The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has re-emphasized the role of Annual Operating Levy (AOL) towards ensuring efficient and effective Telecommunications regulatory environment.
This is even as the Commission restated it’s unwavering commitment to deploy a Revenue Assurance Solution (RAS) in the telecommunication sector to ensure a more robust Annual Operating Levy (AOL) administration in the telecom industry.
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said this at an event, attended by representatives of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Licensees of the Value Added Service chain, officials of the Commission and other industry stakeholders.
Danbatta said the event was organized to sensitize industry stakeholders through a conversation on the Commission’s plan to deploy RAS that will instill greater transparency and increased accuracy in the administration of AOL in the sector, as stipulated by the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003.
According to the EVC, since the NCA 2003 came into force and pursuant to Section 72 of the Act, various efforts have been made by the Commission towards achieving an effective AOL administration, including the development of AOL Regulations 2014, which is being reviewed.
He stated the Commission’s believes that the deployment of appropriate RAS would enhance monitoring and regulatory activities around AOL administration and confer higher levels of integrity and fidelity on the AOL figures obtainable in the industry.
Danbatta also stated that the need to deploy the most appropriate Revenue Assurance Systems in the Nigerian telecommunications industry began since 2015 when Commission published an invitation to bid for the services, in which 3R Company Nigeria Limited emerged the preferred bidder. The EVC informed that during the bid process, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), indicated a ‘no objection’ to the process.
“However, it was reasoned thereafter, that due to the scope of the project, the solution would be more appropriately procured under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. This led to the invitation of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to guide the process, as mandated by its regulations. Following this, the Commission set up a Project Delivery Team (PDT), which worked with a consortium of legal advisers, financial modelers and PPP experts under the guidance of ICRC, and took the appropriate steps required under the ICRC Regulations 2005,” he said.
According to him, the emergence of the preferred partner was devoid bias after proper due diligence by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
He said another feather was added to the cap of the Commission in December 17, 2021, following the receipt of the Certificate of Compliance from the ICRC in line with the Provisions of the ICRC Act 2005.
“Thus, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) graciously presented the NCC RAS project to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting on January 26, 2022, where the final approval was given for the implementation of the solution,” he said.
Also speaking, the Head, Special Duties, Reuben Muoka, who stated that the industry has been waiting for the RAS from the Commission said the current regulatory intervention will bring about a multiplier effect on the economy, local content and several other sectors in the Nigerian economy.
the Deputy Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC, Edoyemi Ogoh, stated that the approval of the RAS project by the FEC is a major success in finding a transparent process for an independent assessment, validation and completeness of the Annual Operating Levy (AOL).
Ogoh noted that the solution has the capability to limit the loss of revenue due to faulty billings, inaccurate or incomplete data and information from service providers, redundantly provided services and frauds. “It will enable the resolution of inconsistencies in billings for services provided by licensed service providers to their subscribers as well as AOL bills from NCC to service providers, resulting in optimum efficiency and accuracy.