Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC

NCC urges stakeholders to activate digital economy for diversification, transformation

*Digital Economy offers Nigeria the opportunity to grow and diversify its economy from overdependence on oil and gas resources ─Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of Nigerian Communications Commission

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

For the country to have a piece of the action regarding the benefits of the $11.5trillion global Digital Economy, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has restated the need for the stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and telecoms sector to harness the potential and opportunities it offers for real diversification from the largely oil and gas economy.

ConsumerConnect learnt Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, stated this in a presentation at the Civil Society Roundtable on Digital Economy Tuesday, September 21, 2021, in Abuja, FCT.

The Civil Society Group for Good Governance (CSGGG) with support from NCC and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), among other partners, organised the forum, agency report said.

The event was said to have attracted stakeholders, including officials from the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NCC, NITDA, Nile University, among others.

The NCC EVC/CEO, represented at the event by Dr. Augustine Nwaulune, Director of Digital Economy Department at NCC, in a presentation on the topic, “Understanding the Gains of the Department of Digital Economy towards Economy Diversification and Social Prosperity”, stressed the stakeholders could put Nigeria on the global map of digitally prosperous countries of the world by exploiting the inherent opportunities in the Digital Economy.

According to Danbatta, Nigeria has 187 million mobile lines with 98.39 percent teledensity in the country, and the country, therefore, has all that it takes to reap huge gains from the digital economy.

He stated: “The Digital Economy offers Nigeria the opportunity to grow and diversify its economy from overdependence on oil and gas.

“The Digital Economy is worth over $11.5 trillion globally, accounting for 15.5 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product. Nigeria can tap into this.”

He said, “however, we have three components of the Digital Economy and they are Infrastructure, Innovative services and Entrepreneurship products/digital skills.

“Capitalising on the digital economy to improve the economy is a great possibility, because, you can see that, Uber, the world largest Taxi Company has no vehicle.

“Facebook has no content, but yet they are making billions of dollars.’’

The NCC Chief also reminded the audience that the Federal Government had launched two strategy documents for the development of the digital economy.

He noted these include the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2013-2018, and 2020-2025.

Danbatta also stated: “The second document is the Nigerian Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030.

The EVC/CEO also explained that the policy document has about eight pillars, which have to do with digital regulations, literacy and skills, solid infrastructure, content promotion and adoption and many others.”

The challenges currently facing the telecoms sector regulatory Commission in Nigeria include vandalism, infrastructure gap, Right of Way (RoW), Forex issues, and duplication of functions.

Danbatta, however, assured that despite these identified challenges in the economy, there is hope for a digitally mature structure in the country to resolve issues, promote collaborations on a larger-scale, and advance prospects of e-governance for the benefit of Nigerian consumers.

Malam Inuwa Abdullahi, Director-General of NITDA, represented by Dr. Aminu Lawal, likewise observed that digitisation has come to stay in Nigeria, and that “it is for us to follow the trend.”

Abdullahi said: “NITDA is doing a lot to ensure that Nigeria achieved its goals as set out in the National Digital Economy Policy Strategy Document.

“On digital innovation and entrepreneurship, we are doing a lot to promote and see that more jobs are created; currently, we are collaborating with MIT, Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Scholarship Scheme and many others.

“The Agency has train over 6,000 youths on Digital Entrepreneurship across the country. We taught them how to develop content and sell their products and services online.”

Mr. Dominic Ogakwu, Convener of the Roundtable and President of CSGGG, said that there were gaps between those with digital literacy and those without in the country.

The Convener said that the essence of the programme was to create awareness in the youths to consciously take the opportunity of the digital space to do legitimate business, create wealth, and positively contribute to the Nigerian economy, and the world in general.

Also in his presentation on “Maximising The Potentials Of Digital Entrepreneurship For Youth Empowerment And Self-Reliance”, Dr. Ahmed Adamu, a lecturer at Nile University, called on the youths to use the Internet to make a decent living.

Internet fraud does not pay, and that youths should develop digital skills and be courageous to delay gratification for a better future, Dr. Adamu stated.

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