The Senate has asked the Nigerian Communications Commission to take the advantage of the National Policy for Fifth Generation network, to generate N350bn for the Federal Government in the 2022 fiscal year.
This was the verdict of the Senate joint committees working on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, when the management of the NCC appeared before the panels of the red chamber.
The Chairman of the joint committees, Senator Solomon Adeola, said the 2022 budget of the NCC would not be N115bn, which it had projected.
He said, “We are proposing about N350bn. This is because there must be projection for the sale of the spectrum following the launch of the 5G network.”
The Federal Government on Wednesday approved the National Policy for Fifth Generation network to boost the country’s digital economy.
The approval was made after a presentation by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.
This was contained in a press statement titled ‘Federal Executive Council approves 5G Policy for Nigeria,’ issued by the minister’s Technical Assistant on Information Technology, Dr Femi Adeluyi.
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Umar Danbatta, while defending his agency’s budget before the Senate MTEF/FSP panels said the agency could generate up to N400bn from the spectrum auction next year.
Danbatta said his agency projected a budget of N162bn for 2021 but that, in the first quarter of 2021, “we have exceeded that amount because we were able to generate N181bn.”
“This is because two of our mobile network operators, the MTN and Airtel, requested for spectrum and that really gave us a lot of revenue.”
For the 2022 fiscal year, he said, “we are projecting N115bn. The projection did not take into consideration the 5G spectrum auction.”
The NCC boss said, “Each slot of the 5G spectrum is going for an exact price of N75bn. However, in an auction, it can go as high as N100bn.
“The exact price for the Spectrum auction, in 2022 will give the Federal Government, N300bn. When the projected revenue is added to it, we are expecting well over N400bn because it is an auction.
Those who will come forward to buy will start from the reserve price of N75bn and chances are that the prices will go up
The same scenario can be explained that the amount projected in 2023 is about N20bn but there would be more money from the spectrum auction.
“ This is because apart from the two slots we want to auction in 2022, we still have about four others slated for auctioning in 2023 which will give government a lot of revenue.
“Our state of preparedness for the launch of the 5G network is 95 per cent.
“We are ready any time the Federal Government gives us the instruction to proceed because we had submitted to the Federal Government, the 5G deployment plan.
“We have constituted the 5G spectrum auction Committee and they had concluded their work and we already have the spectrum to be auctioned.
“We are projecting N118 bn again in 2023 because the auction of the 5G spectrum may spill into the fiscal year and there may be more money for the government.
“In 2024, the spectrum auction would have been done with and I cannot say whether there will be money coming from the sale of spectrum hence we are projecting N111bn.
“We are putting in place, a technology solution that would be able to ascertain the exact amount that all the mobile network operators should be paying to the NCC as mobile operators levy.”