Dr Aminu Maida says that telecoms service quality will not be negotiable on his watch as the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC).
Maida’s riot act, handed down at an interactive session on Thursday with CEOs and telecoms industry stakeholders, comes amid his confirmation by the Senate as Nigeria’s new telecoms regulatory chief at NCC.
“So we need to really come together as an industry and deliver value to the customer. Quality of the service is non-negotiable. We have to deliver. So I am going to be asking a lot from you but hopefully it would be a relationship where we will benefit from each other,” Maida tells attendees at the interactive session in Lagos.
Dr Aminu Maida: Humanity thrives in the midst of challenges
The NCC chief tells the telcos that “we cannot run away from the fact that the current operating environment is very challenging. But at the same time, when I look at it with my background. I operated a number of years in the entrepreneurial state. Humanity is always at its best when there are challenges. In the entrepreneurial space, I innovated when there were challenges. Even in my previous role in payments, it was when there were challenges, whether there was covid, or whether it was during the cashless earlier in the year, that was when I saw the best come out of myself and the team I was working with.”
Maida says that he has felt the pulse of operators and industry stakeholders across the telecoms industry diversity in the past few weeks that he has been in NCC.
“So I think we recognise those challenges and like I have interacted with some of you unofficially and I have said that this is something affecting all sectors of the economy. The Federal Government and the honourable Minister realise the critical role that telecoms infrastructure of the country is going to play in achieving the goals of the renewed hope of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the NCC EVC tells attendees at the session.
“So without a doubt, we know your pains. We have heard your pains. I think this is the time that we also need to stand up and show that this is the sector that will show Nigerians that despite the challenges that we are undergoing, we can actually move this country forward. So I absolutely rely on all of us to get our thinking caps out, think out of the box and I am 100% sure that we can do it.”
According to him, “when the telecoms revolution started during Obasanjo’s time, there were challenges. But what we are today, if we had not sat down and made it happen, we would not be here having this discussion. I think that it is just a different kind of challenge and I think it is just within us to rise up and solve some of these issues.”
Maida’s interaction on Thursday was to coincide with the Senate in Abuja, confirming his appointment as the substantive Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Maida was confirmed by the Senate during its plenary session where it adopted a report of the Senate Committee on Communications that screened Maida on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, Reuben Muoka, NCC Public Affairs Director says in a statement made available to Technology Times.
Senator Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications, and former Minister of Communications, who submitted the report urged the Senate to consider the request of President Bola Tinubu for the confirmation of Maida for appointment as the country’s Chief Telecoms Regulator.
He said the Committee had screened Maida, who had earlier passed all scrutiny by the relevant security agencies in the security governance sector.
Bilbis informed the Senate that Maida possesses the requisite qualifications, professional experience, competence, and regulatory capacity to ensure accelerated development of the nation’s telecoms sector. He urged the Senate to approve the nomination of Maida by Mr. President.
Consequently, the Senate proceeded to confirm the appointment of Maida, through a voice vote to serve a five-year term in office, subject to renewal by the President.
Earlier at his screening by the Senate Committee, Maida responded to questions related to his insights into the industry, qualifications, experience, suitability, and competence to manage the nation’s telecoms regulatory sector, and was variously described by members as the round peg in a round hole.
Maida told the committee that his top priorities are to improve coverage and connectivity by bridging access gaps between rural and urban communities through increased broadband infrastructure as well as increasing the quality service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) for the consumers to enable them to get value for money.
He also stated that, under his stewardship, he would ensure that the Commission’s licensees numbering over 8,000 across different segments of the sector, are made to adhere strictly to their Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with their consumers in terms of service delivery.
He would create a more conducive environment for investment in the sector, Maida says, promising to work with the dynamic team at the NCC to “re-think” how the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) would be better leveraged to bridge the extant digital divide in the country.
On his watch, he would prioritise inter-agency collaboration towards achieving the current blueprint for the digital economy sector, just as he said that the ongoing review of the NCA 2003 would lead to greater innovation for improving the performance of the sector and solicited the support of the National Assembly to succeed.
Maida further emphasised his commitment towards aligning regulatory activities with the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Communications, Innovations and Digital Economy, developed to accelerate the actualisation of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government.