The NCC is responding to the challenge of new financial technologies and electronic innovations in the financial systems riding on telecommunications networks as the nation’s economy seeks to reboot post pandemic.
The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta at the National Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) event said these innovations are driven by the availability of a robust communications infrastructure made possible by the Commission’s continuous quest for investment in the sector.
Prof who stated this while delivering his keynote address at NITRA Virtual Innovative Tech Forum Webinar recently noted that in this regard, collaborative partnership between the NCC and the CBN has been very effective, leading to the emergence of various brands of electronic transaction models which have totally reformed banking in Nigeria making it possible for instant cash transfers which have cut out waiting times at banking halls and simplified online transactions.
He revealed that between 2015 and 2020, much has been done to put Nigeria on the global map of nations that are electronically driven while delivering financial intermediation. Together with our stakeholders from the banking sector, the NCC is actively involved in the application of various electronic portals that continue to drive transactions off banking floor and onto handheld devices or personal computers.
Danbatta anchored his speech on the topic: “Multi-Stakeholder Approach to National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, and there is no better time than now to talk about NCC’s preparedness in addressing the prevailing situation, he said.
He disclosed that the Commission’s interventions have continued to lift the Nigerian economy and create hope for financial inclusion based on the seamless implementation of the Commissions Strategic Vision Plan.
EVC said it is pertinent to note that NCCs Emergency Communications Centers (ECC) have been crucial in the Federal Government’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 1,209 COVID-19 related calls made between March and June 2020 from the 19 ECCs across the country. This pro-active step by the Commission to introduce ECCs across the nation was borne out of the need to safeguard all Nigerians irrespective of their geographical locations.
“We hope to reap the rewards of the SVP in the coming years and provide Nigerians the comfort of new innovations and new ways of living. It is a future in which Broadband penetration would be ubiquitous, QoS will be assured and available spectrum would be optimized with full benefits. Moreover, there would be more investment opportunities in the industry, greater strategic collaborations and partnerships, enhanced consumer protection and empowerment, as well as an environment of fair competition and inclusive growth.
“The next thing I want to talk about is 5G technology. We are all aware of the controversies surrounding COVID-19 and 5G technology. It is normal for the emergence of new technologies to be followed by such disagreements and the debate is mostly useful. However, and more importantly, we at the Commission are inevitably committed to examining the pros and cons.
According to him, the socio-economic benefits of the expansion in telecommunications capabilities embarked upon by the Commission would be of immense benefit to the country, especially with the roll out of the 5G technology, which currently is being test run in about 40 countries. This will be a significant upgrade for networks and will be the backbone for the ICT industry post-pandemic recovery, he added.
According to the ITU, 5G technology is expected to connect people, things, data, applications, transport systems and cities in smart networked communications environments. 5G is meant to seamlessly connect a massive number of embedded sensors in virtually everything through the ability to scale down in data rates, power, and mobility – providing extremely lean and low-cost connectivity solutions.
Danbatta reassured stakeholders that the Commission is vigorously working to establish a policy for 5G with multi-sector Stakeholders, including the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), The Academia, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Industry Consultative Advisory Forum (ICAF) and a host of others.
“Our goal is that when the Federal Government is able to establish a policy that will drive 5G, all the benefits of 5G will be properly harnessed by Nigerians. The Commission is also working to ensure the safety of 5G networks in Nigeria by having multi-stakeholder approach in environmental impact analysis on the use of 5G and the Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) impact on humans in Nigeria. Once this is done, Nigerians can safely utilize 5G and reap all the economic, human and material benefits of 5G.
“The economic benefits to 5G to Nigeria post corona virus pandemic will be huge, especially as almost all businesses and activities of government are migrating and offering their services online. 5G will enable a new kind of network for Nigerians designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. It will usher in the era of Internet of Things and faster innovation in Artificial Intelligence applications.
He disclosed that Nigeria’s vibrant youth population stands to benefit immensely from the deployment of 5G as it will offer technopreneurs, technology enthusiasts, SMEs and Tech-startups the platform to expand and network with other global players on a scale that has never been witnessed before.
“With high speeds, superior reliability and negligible latency, 5G will expand the mobile ecosystem into new realms. 5G promises to impact every industry, creating safer transporting systems, improving access to healthcare for our rural populace, increasing output from the agriculture sector, and digitized logistics among others.
He said, According to a landmark economy study conducted by QUALCOMM, 5G will affect the global economy and drive growth exponentially. 5G’s full economic effect will likely be realized across the globe by 2035 – supporting a wide range of industries and potentially enabling up to $13.2 Trillion worth of goods and services. This impact is much greater than previous network generations.
“5G promises to provide increased speed and bandwidth as well as providing deeper coverage to reach people in rural or challenging locations. In addition, 5G will provide strong security for the various sectors of government and private organizations.
“Due to its sheer scale and scope, the ITU predicts 5G will accelerate the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) from affordable and clean energy to zero hunger.
He re-assured NITRA that telecoms operators are passionate partners in the journey to reposition Nigeria’s telecom industry. This symbiotic relationship between the Commission and NITRA must be sustained in order for Nigeria to come out stronger from the Covid-19 global pandemic, he added.