FG Losses Over N1Bn To Non-Renewal of Radio Frequency Spectrum

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NCC recovers 3.5GHz spectrum from NIGCOMSAT, ready to commence auctioning –  TechEconomy.ng

…threatens holders of licenses with court action after three months

 

Olusola Bello

The Federal Government has given three months grace to those non-commercial users of Radio Frequency Spectrum using it illegally to regularize their operations and process their radio communications licenses, as failure to do this will attract legal actions against them.

The Federal Ministry of Communication which is the one that issues the license stated that some of those that are using the frequency Spectrum  have failed to renew their licenses thereby owing the federal government over N1billion accumulated renewal fees within the last 10 years

 According to Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), Minister Of Communications and Digital Economy, he said, that the activities of these groups of people have damaging implications on the economy and the security of the country.
 Some of the implications the minister stated are; harmful interference to authorized users, threat to national security, and severe revenue loss to the government.

The Minister who spoke at the Sensitization on Sustainable Frequency Spectrum Management Development for non-commercial Radio Users, at Digital Bridge Institute, Lagos on Monday, said, the radio frequency is a scarce resource, and in view of its importance, there is a need to regulate and manage its usage in order minimize interference and ensure that radio spectrum is used to its most efficient manner for the public.

Professor Isa Ali Pantami who was represented by Bitrus Bako Nabalu Mni said the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 emphasizes the need for ensuring efficient use of Spectrum across Nigeria.

“ the policy reiterates the need to take into cognizance that spectrum is a ‘Use it or Lose it’ scarce resources to encourage its optimal use that is why through an open and transparent spectrum planning, we were able to free a lot of spectrums LTE including TV white space deployment for broadband of spectrum”.

He said it is worthy to note that the demand for internet access and availability of spectrum has stimulated the growth in 3G services which covers about 75 percent of the population.

“Efficient use of spectrum, right of way, site acquisition policies, availability of infrastructure and market efficiency are some of the other issues we have addressed in Nigeria national Broadband plan 2020-2025,” the minister said.

The  Federal Ministry of  Communications and Digital Economy he said in line with mandate, is saddled with the responsibility of managing Radio Frequency management for non –commercial users. The National Frequency Management Council is the apex body in Nigeria

In the course of managing this, the minister said the following challenges have been observed.

Unauthorized usage of radio frequency spectrum by non-commercial operators. Out of 300 frequencies that are monitored recently, 106 of them were found to be licensed;

Most of the users of the unlicensed radio frequencies that were identified in 2019 and requested to regularize their operation are yet to do so, two years after, the minister said.

The ministry he said, has received several complaints of interference from different organizations within the last five years, and within this period 2020 up till date alone, a total of 242 organizations have failed to renew their license.

The minister stated that because of this issue over one billion Naira of accumulated renewal fees owed the ministry by various organizations within the last10 years could not be recovered. While 32 organisations have failed to pay for their frequency assignment.

Given reason why it has to involve stakeholders in the country, the minister stated that the implications of the refusal of the licensees to do the necessary things required of them has made the job a herculean task for the government alone to tackle, hence its decision to draw the attention of everybody that is involved. It has become imperative to engage the “general public and stakeholders to brainstorm on the way forward.”

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