The Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta, has provided some insights into the development of Revenue Assurance Solution, RAS, which is designed to improve a very important aspect of the Commission’s regulatory initiatives.
The EVC and Chief Executive Officer spoke during a virtual interactive session with stakeholders on the deployment of RAS in the Nigerian telecommunications industry.
Danbatta explained that the annual Operating Levy, AOL, is a very important tool in the regulation of the telecommunications industry, adding that in Nigeria, its importance is well expressed in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.
“AOL can be described as the taproot of an efficient and effective telecommunications regulatory environment,” the EVC said, adding that the “mechanisms for collection and computation of AOL, are of interest and importance to both the regulator and the operating networks.”
Speaking further, Danbatta explained, “Since the NCA 2003 came into force, various efforts have been made towards achieving a very effective AOL administration, pursuant to the powers of the Commission under Section 72 of the NCA Act 2003.
“One of these key efforts include the making of the Regulations 2014, which is also currently undergoing review.
“Some of the major objectives of the AOL Regulations, as provided in Part 1 (2) of the AOL Regulations 2014, are to:
(a) Create and provide a regulatory framework for the effective and efficient administration by the Commission of the Annual Operating Levy regime and all matters related thereto;
(b) Stipulate the mode and methods of assessment of Annual Operating Levy and the payment modes thereof; and,
(c) Specify guiding standards and principles for the administration by the Commission of the Annual Operating Levy regime.
“The Commission has committed time and efforts to give vent to the provisions of this regulation in particular, and the administration of AOL, generally, in the best interest of the industry.
“The Commission believes that the deployment of appropriate revenue assurance solutions 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.
“In some countries where the systems have been deployed, including some African countries, appropriate revenue assurance systems have resulted in higher revenues and plugging of leakages.
“Modern revenue assurance systems have also shown to be equipped with additional capacities to generate and analyse information beyond those required for revenue computation.
“Hence, our desire to deploy the most appropriate revenue assurance systems in the Nigerian telecommunications industry began in 2015 when Commission published an invitation to bid for the services.
“With the emergence of a preferred bidder, 3R Company Nigeria Ltd, the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, offered no objection but further advised that due to the scope of the project, the solution would be more appropriately procured under a Public-Private Partnership, PPP, arrangement and further recommended that the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, be invited to guide the process as mandated by its regulations.
“Pursuant to this development, the Commission set up a Project Delivery Team, PDT, which worked with a consortium of legal advisers, financial modellers and PPP experts under the guidance of ICRC, took the appropriate steps required under the ICRC Regulation 200
“Part of the process, include proper due diligence of the preferred partner, which received a clean bill of health from the Office of the National Security Adviser, NSA.
“The Commission also subjected the software and hardware components of the proposed system to the certification of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA.
“On December 17, 2021, the transaction received the Certificate of Compliance from the ICRC in line with the Provisions of the ICRC Act 2005.
“On the strength of this status, our Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isah Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) graciously presented the NCC RAS project to the Federal Executive Council Meeting of January 26, 2022, where the final approval form the implementation of the solution was finally approved.
“We have invited you to share in this major milestone. We want to carry the industry along this very important path towards effective revenue assurance in the industry.
“We are very pleased that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, considered it appropriate to approve this transaction.
“We also considered this approval as a very significant milestone that needs to be shared with you, our key stakeholders for purposes of cooperation and collaboration to make a success of this initiative.
“The Nigerian telecommunications industry, and revenue events engaged by the network operators, demand effective, accurate, and technology-driven revenue assurance solutions which NCC-RAS represents.
“Therefore, this project relieves the Commission of the initial financial burden that will be required for the deployment of the RAS project.
“It will also ensure that accurate revenue generated by the licensed network operators are tracked, analyzed and utilized for the benefit of the industry.
“Beyond revenue assurance, when deployed, the NCC RAS will bring a lot of solutions to the industry, including more effective and enhanced monitoring and regulation of the licensed telecommunications operators by the Commission.
“The system is designed to be connected to the licensed telecommunications operators’ systems and will have the capability of capturing and reporting in near real-time billing activities by the operators for the purposes, amongst others, of computing and assuring with minimal, if any, error margin, the accrued AOL payable to the NCC by the licensees.
“Therefore, in addition to plugging possible loopholes and leakages in the revenue computation and collection processes, the RAS would enable the Commission to validate the information, records and data that are supplied to the Commission by the licensees from time to time regarding, amongst others, the revenue stream and profitability of the telecommunications industry.
“The RAS project is very significant to the telecommunications industry.
“The private partner, a consortium is known as 3R Revenue Assurance Solution Ltd, (3RRAS) will be responsible for the system for a Ten Years tenure as provided in the requisite Full Business Case (FBC) under a Design, Finance, Build, Operate, and Transfer, DFBOT and the Public-Private Partnership Agreement, PPPA.
“We are also particularly delighted that this private partnership initiative contributes to our commitment to strategic partnering which is one of the key pillars of our Strategic Management Plan 2020-2024.”