Prof. Danbatta Reveals: How Nigeria’s Telecom Sector Became a $77 Billion Giant

John Deer Jeje Laye
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Prof. Danbatta Reveals: How Nigeria’s Telecom Sector Became a $77 Billion Giant

Amidst the bustling cityscape of Kano on a sunny Saturday, a revelation that would underscore Nigeria’s telecom ascent was about to be unveiled. Prof. Umar Danbatta, the charismatic Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), met with media stakeholders to unfold a tale of exponential growth.


  • Nigeria’s telecoms investment inflow leaps from $38 billion in 2017 to $77 billion by mid-2023.
  • Under Prof. Umar Danbatta, NCC’s quarterly contribution to Nigeria’s GDP soars from 8% to 16%.
  • Telecoms user statistics showcase significant growth: 218.9 million telephone users and 159.5 million internet subscribers.
  • The NCC plans emergency communication centers in all 36 states, enhancing national emergency response capability.

According to the latest figures, the telecoms investment inflow in Nigeria surged from a considerable $38 billion in 2017 to a staggering $77 billion by the second quarter of 2023. The media industry, as Danbatta highlighted, played a pivotal role, contributing a hefty 16% to the nation’s GDP during this period.

Reinforcing the authenticity of these figures, Danbatta acknowledged the diligent efforts of the Nigerian Statistical Information Service. Their detailed analytics provided the foundation upon which NCC based its conclusions.

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Prof. Danbatta reflected on his tenure, which began in 2015. “When I first stepped into the role of EVC at the NCC, our quarterly contribution to Nigeria’s GDP hovered around 8%. Today, that figure has doubled to 16%,” he proudly stated, emphasizing the transformative impact on all economic sectors.

The NCC’s journey over the past two decades wasn’t just about numbers but about its commitment to excellence. “Our sustained regulatory excellence and operational efficiency have been the backbone behind this explosive growth,” Danbatta stated, “a growth that witnessed improved standards, digital innovation, and garnered global recognition.”

The telecom user statistics in Nigeria bore testament to this achievement:

  • Telephone users: 218.9 million
  • Internet subscribers: 159.5 million
  • Broadband users: 88.7 million

However, like any evolving sector, the telecom industry hasn’t been without its challenges. Prof. Danbatta candidly spoke of obstacles ranging from issues with the right of way, frequent fiber cuts, substantial capital requirements, and multiple taxes and regulations. He assured the stakeholders that the NCC remains committed to navigating these complexities, promising continuous efforts to bridge the digital divide.

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One of the visionary steps the commission intends to take is the establishment of emergency communication centers in each of the 36 states and Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital. Once operational, these centers will serve as crucial nexuses connecting those in distress with various emergency response organizations across the country.

In a move towards fostering innovation, Prof. Danbatta also disclosed the commission’s decision to enhance its research contributions to institutions, increasing the grant from N20 million to N30 million. “Telecom is an enabler and catalyst for Nigeria’s economic growth,” he remarked, further noting that three educational institutions had already benefited from this enhanced grant.

The journey, though commendable, is not without its trials. The NCC vice-chairman expressed concerns about the deliberate damage to NCC facilities and the overwhelming number of 41 different tariffs levied on telecommunications firms. Despite these hurdles, he expressed a firm resolve to work closely with the media community to ensure the public remains well-informed.

As the session came to a close, it was evident that under the guidance of Prof. Umar Danbatta and the NCC, Nigeria’s telecom landscape had not just evolved but transformed, making immense strides in connectivity and economic contribution.