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Buhari unveils National Policy on 5G Networks, highlights benefits for Nigeria Digital Economy

L-R: Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister for Science and Technology; Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President; President Muhammadu Buhari; Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, Minister for Communications and Digital Economy; and Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Governing Board, at the launch of National Policy on 5G Technology in the Council Chambers, State House, Abuja, FCT. Photo: State House

*The Federal Government seeks to make 5G a major driver of the economy, catalyst for smartcities, and platform for job creation that supports the country’s digital economy

*President Muhammadu Buhari directs the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy to supervise the 5G policy implementation by the Nigerian Communications Commission with the support of other government institutions

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In line with the country’s preparation for the deployment of the new technology in 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the National Policy on 5G Technology deployment to fully activate the Nigeria Digital Economy.

ConsumerConnect reports President Buhari unveiled the National Policy document on Fifth Generation (5G) networks Tuesday, January 25, 2022, in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT.

Recall that prior to the launch of the policy document Tuesday, the government had presented the National Policy on 5G to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its meeting September 8, 2021, and following a robust debate on it, the Council approved same.

As regards the strategic importance of application of the new technology, especially in curbing insecurity of lives and property, Buhari during the launch of the policy also directed all security institutions to leverage the 5G services when deployed, as  the technology will enhance security in Nigeria.

RELATED: 5G Deployment In Nigeria Is In Line With Global Innovation Curve ─Buhari

The President stated the Federal Government would take full advantage of the opportunities that 5G technology provides for the economy, security, and overall well-being of the country.

Benefits of 5G technology in activating digital economy

The President, at the event, also allayed fears earlier expressed by some citizens over the health safety of 5G, and noted that such issues had been “effectively addressed” in developing a National Policy on the new technology for the country’s development.

On the benefits of 5G technology, Buhari noted it could support virtually every sector of the economy, including enhanced connectivity, improved healthcare, support for education, fostering smartcities, and boosting agriculture among others.

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He further stated: “It will also support security institutions with real-time communication.

“5G technology is significantly faster than earlier digital technologies and it provides near real-time communication.

“This can play a key role in boosting our efforts towards enhancing security across the nation.

“It will enable our security institutions to effectively deploy robotics, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality to address any security challenges that we face.”

Buhari also explained that the National 5G Policy includes a deployment plan to ensure that major cities across the country benefit from the technologies.

READ ALSO Digital Economy: Nigeria Planning Widest 5G Deployment In Africa 2022 ─Pantami

According to the President, the policy, which is in line with the commitment of his administration to supporting the digital economy as an enabler for the diversification of the national economy, also seeks to make 5G a major driver of the economy, a catalyst for smartcities in the country, and platform for the creation of jobs that support the Nigeria digital economy.

Policy will create enabling environment for investors

As part of the essential contents of the National Policy on 5G, President Buhari has  assured investors that the Federal Government will continue to provide an enabling environment for their businesses to be very successful as Nigeria begins the rollout of the technology this year.

The President as well directed Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, to supervise the implementation of the Policy, being done by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) with the support of other government institutions.

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Going down the memory lane on the country’s journey to enhance investments in the telecoms/ICT ecosystem, Buhari recalled how his administration has created an enabling environment for investments to thrive in the Nigeria digital economy.

According to him, the journey to the launch of the 5G National policy started with the launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy November 2019 as well as the launch of a number of policies to strengthen the digital economy, including the Nigerian National Broadband Plan and the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector.

The President noted that under his watch the agreement of the National Economic Council to peg the cost of the Right of Way (RoW) at N145.00 per linear metre which was made in 2013, was only implemented in late 2019, after the intervention of the Federal Government.

Role of Telecoms/ICT in Nigeria’s exiting economic recession

The President further said the telecommunications cum Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector played a prime role in enabling Nigeria’s economy to swiftly exit the recession that was triggered by the damaging COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari noted: “The GDP Report of the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the ICT sector was the fastest growing sector in the fourth quarter of 2020 and entire year 2020, recording double-digit growth rates of 14.70 percent and 12.90 percent respectively.

READ ALSO: 5G Networks Safe, Beneficial For Socio-Economic Transformation ─NCC

“The sector also recorded a 17.92 percent contribution to our GDP in the second quarter of last year- this was its highest ever contribution.

“All these impressive and significant achievements have justified our efforts to support the growth of our digital economy. ”

He, therefore, described the process of developing the National Policy on 5G as “painstaking, inclusive and focused,” sequel to the 5G trials that commenced in some selected locations November 2019.

RELATED: How Nigeria Approves National Policy On 5G Networks For Digital Economy ─Minister

“Multi-sectoral stakeholders then deliberated on the report of the trials to ensure that health, security, and other concerns were effectively addressed in developing a policy that suits our country.

“The National 5G Policy will position Nigeria to harness the potentials of 5G technologies to further develop the economy and improve the indices of well-being in the nation,” said Mr. President.

NCC’s successful auctioning of 3.5GHz spectrum for 5G deployment

Prof. Pantami also affirmed the sector has recorded unprecedented achievements with increased remittances to the Federation Accounts, resolution of lingering issues in the industry, and successful auctioning of the 3.5Gigahertz (GHz) spectrum for the deployment of 5G technology in the country.

The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy further expressed confidence, that given the experiences from other countries and available research, Nigeria and Nigerians would derive maximum benefits from the deployment of 5G technology.

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