Danbatta Highlights NCC roles in Digitalization and Economic Diversification of the Nigerian Economy

“Telecommunication is the transmission of signals, messages, writings, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems which culminates in the exchange of information (voice, data and video) transmission over significant distances within a nano-second.”

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta as Distinguished Guest Speaker at the 2nd edition of the Business Journal Annual Lecture and Awards said available information through the process of digitization is converted into a digital format and in this format; information is organized into discrete units of data that can be separately addressed.


Through Digitalization, Danbatta noted that this relevant digital information transformed into business and economic activities that drive national growth and development.


The Executive Vice Chairman who was represented at the Business Journal 2nd Annual Lecture & Awards in Lagos by Dr Henry Nkemadu, Director, Public Affairs of the Commission said telecommunication acts an enabler to drive socio-economic growth, developments and modernization across all sectors of the economy.


The 2019 Business Journal 2nd Annual Lecture & Awards with theme: ‘Digital Nigeria: The Path to Sustainable Economic Growth’ was held in Lagos.


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:


o        Implementation of the National Broadband Plan Initiatives.


o        Pervasive infrastructure support: As part of the goal of the Commission to build a pervasive infrastructure support for the industry, through its national broadband plan initiatives, it introduced authorization for infrastructure companies (Open Access Model) for the entire six geopolitical zones of the nation and Lagos which is targeted at delivering affordable internet services to last mile end users, especially those at the rural areas.


o        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.


o        Facilitate the Participation of Young Entrepreneurs in ITU Global ICT Competitions for SMEs, Business Start-Ups and Innovators


o        USPS Initiatives That Impact on Economic Growth:

He pointed out that the Universal Service Provision Secretariat (USPS) is secretariat of the universal service provision fund (USPF) in the Commission that set aside funding for projects and initiatives that impacts directly on economic growth in the provision of universal access to telecommunications services in underserved and unserved rural areas of the country;


o        Industry Capacity Building and Promotion of Innovations – DBI, New Media & Information Security.


o        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:


o        E- government: an overall cost reduction in governance through paperless electronic communications links within the government ministries, departments and Agencies. Example, TSA, e-Payroll (PPIS) etc


o        E-education: telecom enables access to education in remote areas through internet, mobile education, content enrichment, access to wide range of education resources in the cloud, online and distance e-learning from the comfort of our homes.


o        E-agriculture: Agricultural developments at all levels of government occasioned by modern technology is required to drive mechanized and organic farming that would boost production, generate exports and increase youth employment rates.


o        Industrialization: Technological innovations and emerging ICTs have enabled efficient production processes and optimal output.


o        Entrepreneurship, Youth Empowerment and SMES


o        E-Taxation to boost Revenues: Electronic filing of tax returns, and online assessment and payments of tax obligations by the tax payers would boost tax revenue collection of government.


o        E-Commerce: the expansion of broadband and backbone infrastructures to drive financial inclusion and massive uptake of mobile money across the nation


o        E-health: most clinical patients now have access to online information on the nature of their illnesses which assist the doctors to provide quick health care support. Again, telemedicine has enabled expanse of knowledge base in the care of both patients and the Doctors.


EVC said that the Nigerian Communications 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 forsustainability 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.

He disclosed that the 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.


He therefore concludes that “what an enhanced digital Nigeria will look like:

  • Increased GDP
  • Increased emergence of new services and industries
  • Increased job creation
  • Reduction of inequality gap
  • Etc


“Digital transformation is the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way.”



The Captioned Photo: The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta


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