Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the regulator is committed towards Digital Nigeria for sustainable economic growth of the country.
Danbatta made the pledge at the Business Journal 2nd Annual Lecture held last Friday in Lagos.
Represented by Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Danbatta said Digital Nigeria is when the country will be able to utilise electronic devices online and offline and in which case most transactions/activities will be in digital format.
“Our world is becoming ever more connected. Billions of intelligent devices and machines generate massive amounts of data, creating a bridge between real and virtual worlds. Turning these vast amounts of data into value is a key success factor.
In Nigeria, the number of active mobile subscriptions is over 174 million as at August 2019 and the active ICT infrastructure deployment continues to rise to support the telecommunications sector. A subscriber tele-density of 91.6 Million, Internet subscribers of over 111 million, and a broadband penetration of above 33%, Digital Nigeria has become a reality and not a myth. Having contributed 13.86% to the GDP, as at 2nd quarter of 2019, the ICT Sector in Nigeria has attained remarkable milestones in ensuring that the Sector continues to play a great role in Nigeria’s economic diversification and sustainability. This is done by consistently ensuring that the necessary policies and infrastructure are enhanced, so that the requisite technological platform for a viable economic diversification can ensue. Certainly, no economy is sustainable on a mono product.”
He added that the NCC as the telecommunications regulatory body facilitates universal access to ICT services by providing enabling regulatory interventions to stimulate competition among the industry players:
- Implementation of the National Broadband Plan Initiatives.
- Pervasive infrastructure support
- Granting of more Spectrum Resource Licenses for the delivery of broadband wireless access service at the wholesale level, to ISP’s and other Retail Telecoms Service Providers for the provision of retail high speed internet access services.
- Facilitate the Participation of Young Entrepreneurs in ITU Global ICT Competitions for SMEs, Business Start-Ups and Innovators
- USPS Initiatives That Impact on Economic Growth
- Industry Capacity Building and Promotion of Innovations – DBI, New Media & Information Security.
- Collaboration of Other Government Agencies – CBN, Health, Agriculture, Works, etc.
“The NCC continues to promote and facilitate universal access to ICTs to ensure implementation of the following areas identified for economic diversifications needed for the Nigerian economy:
- E- government
- Entrepreneurship, Youth Empowerment and SMES
- E-Taxation to boost Revenues
The NCC chief said the Commission will continue to promote and facilitate, through appropriate regulatory interventions, the expansion of pervasive broadband infrastructure that will stimulate the provision of e-products and e-services across Nigeria.
“The NCC will encourage the digitalization of information to be transformed into business and economic activities that drive national growth and development.The economic diversification of the Nigerian economy will give impetus for increase mobilization of all resources and increase revenues accruable to government. This will cause an exponential increase in productive activities in industry, manufacturing, infrastructure development, health, and agriculture to stimulate growth and development of the Nigerian economy. The NCC shall continue to provide the conducive regulatory environment for increased private sector investment and expansion of economic activities.”
The interventions of the NCC play a vital role in supporting the evolution of digital processes and appreciation in various sectors of the economy.
From Setting up Public Access Points and ICT Training Centres, the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP), the Advanced Digital Awareness programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI), the School Knowledge Centre (SKC), all of which have benefitted over 500 schools across the country, the educational sector in Nigeria has definitely felt the digital wand of the NCC.
The NCC continues to promote and facilitate universal access to ICT to ensure implementation of e-taxation, ecommerce and e-government financial sector areas, which were identified as the economic enhancement needed for sustainability of the Nigerian economy. Improving user (traveler) experience such as online ticketing, boarding, and check in processes; and Vehicle tracking and navigations through mobile and Internet services, are also some key examples of how telecommunications is enhancing Nigeria’s digital profile.
The deployment of Optic Fibre transmission network has been adopted in the “Open Access Model” to bridge the current digital gap and deliver fast and reliable broadband services to households and businesses and the success of this model is evident in the tremendous growth witnessed in the provision of broadband services by all major players in the industry through one technology or the other.
Presently, Nigeria has achieved 33.72% Broadband penetration, thus over 64 million Nigerians are presently connected to broadband internet services. This is an encouraging leap from the 8.5% penetration in 2015.
Six Infraco licensees are to cover Lagos, South-West, South-South, South-East, North-West and North-East regions while the process leading to the licensing of an Infraco for North-Central is on-going.
The Infraco licensees are to provide IP fiber Optic capacity, to all the 774 LGAs of the federation on an open access, price regulated basis, with a 10 Gbps Point of Access (PoA) capacity in each local government of the federation. The project is for a four- year period with the negotiated subsidies to be paid to the Infraco licensees at the attainment of agreed and verified milestones.
“Let me conclude by leaving a picture in your minds of what an enhanced digital Nigeria will look like:
- Increased GDP
- Increased emergence of new services and industries
- Increased job creation
Reduction of inequality gap