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NDEPS: Pantami commends NCC, NIMC, NITDA, Others in Communications sector of economy

L-R: Engr. Abubakar Ladan, Coordinating Director, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy; Prof. Isa Ali Pantami; and Prof. Muhammed Abubakar, Managing Director/CEO of Galaxy Backbone, at the Recent FMCoDE Retreat in Abuja, FCT. Photo: NCC

*Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, rallies stakeholders for synergy, evaluation of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC, discloses the Commission ‘raised $563.1m for FG through 3.5GHz auction’ as 80million Nigerians have Broadband access

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

For diligent activation of their respective mandates for digital transformation, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, has commended all the government agencies in the communications and digital economy sector for being dedicated to the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Pantami urged them to work collaboratively and co-ordinately in order to achieve the Federal Government’s strategic objectives as articulated in NDEPS.

L-R: Engr. Aliyu Aziz, Director General of NIMC; Dr. Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner/CEO of Nigerian Data Protection Bureau; and Prof. Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC at the Retreat

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Friday, April 1, 2022, in a statement issued in Abuja, FCT, noted the Minister stated this at a retreat organised by Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE) for Senior Management Staff of the Ministry and all its agencies, which commenced Thursday, March 31.

READ ALSO: NCC Holds Board, Management Retreat To Advance Operational, Regulatory Excellence

The retreat took place at the Nigerian Army Officers Wives’ Association (NAOWA) Centre at Mambilla Barracks, in Abuja.

Evaluating the implementation of NDEPS

The telecoms sector regulatory Commission also said that the retreat was convened to evaluate the implementation of NDEPS in the context of what has been achieved, what needs to be achieved, and what processes should be emplaced to enhance the capacity of the Ministry and Agencies it superintends to mobilise all stakeholders to accomplish the objectives of NDEPS.

READ ALSO: Federal Government Urges Nigerians To Complete NIN-SIM Integration Without Delay

Referencing the most recent report of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Pantami in his keynote and opening address at the forum disclosed that synergy among stakeholders in terms of co-operative posture, collaboration, coordination, deployment of social skills, such as good listening skills, critical and analytical thinking, emotional intelligence, as well as project management and quality assurance skills, are central to organisational effectiveness, successes and the future of work, as projected by WEF.

He also urged all the agencies and their staff to challenge themselves to do more rather than think of themselves as competitors in the communications space in the Nigerian economy.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, while speaking at the retreat, asserted that the regulatory Commission had acted superlatively in implementing NDEPS and in the context of the vision of Federal Government and the supervision of the Ministry.

Dissecting the 8 pillars of NDEPS

Prof. Danbatta, whose methodical presentation chronologically documented NCC’s accomplishments under each of the eight pillars of NDEPS, also cited 10 of the 16 regulations that have been instituted in giving expression to government’s vision on developmental regulation, which is the first pillar of NDEPS.

RELATED: Stakeholders, Broadband Access Critical To Effective 5G Deployment, National Development ─Pantami

“These regulations were focused on Enforcement Processes, Lawful Interception, Quality of Service, Competition Practices, Licensing Regulations, and Universal Access and Universal Service among others, stated the Commission.

The NCC EVC/CEO further promised to also complete the review of the remaining soonest and activate their implementation.

Danbatta, who used a triangulation method in contextualising the achievement of NCC under the first pillar, itemised the guidelines, regulations and policy development initiatives to discharge the burden of proof of NCC’s effectiveness in the regulation of ICT and digital economy sector through approaches that enabled development.

RELATED: NCC’s Policy Engagement With Stakeholders For Quality Consumer Experience, Says Danbatta

In implementing Digital Literacy and Skills as the second pillar, he stated in his presentation, that the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) that the Commission established  2004, had trained 5,352 students through 49 institutions, provided educational training software to 398 secondary schools, and endowed seven professorial chairs in various Nigerian universities across all the geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

On Solid Infrastructure, which is the third pillar of NDEPS, Danbatta further stated that Broadband penetration as of December 2021 was 40.88 percent, thus enabling 80 million Nigerian consumers to have access to Broadband services.

NCC’s commitment to Broadband penetration

The EVC/CEO, in reinforcing the intensity of NCC’s commitment to improving Broadband penetration in the country, declared that NCC has emplaced a process for the deployment of optic fibre cable, using Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos).

According to him, the NCC has directed the licensed InfraCos to commence immediate roll out without recourse to counterpart funding because the licence issued to them is independent of the counterpart funding agreement.

RELATED: Danbatta Restates NCC’s Commitment To Broadband, Consumer Protection, Digital Economy

The InfraCos are expected to lay 38,296Km of fibre optic cable, said he.

In line with the government’s directive through a Federal Executive Council’s (FEC) decision of 2005, the Commission has constructed 32 Emergency Communication Centres (EECs) in various states, and 32 of these have been activated and are operational. Prof. Danbatta also documented copiously in his presentation, Commission’s achievement in the other five pillar areas.

Dr. Armstrong Takang, an innovative and technology-for-development specialist, who presented the lead paper as the Guest Speaker, commended the Federal Government for aligning ICT and digital economy with national economic imperatives.

Takang also applauded the NCC for driving the necessary infrastructure purposely and strategically, and for its effectiveness in regulating the telecoms sector.

Citing Lagos State and the Federal Capital Territory Administration as good models, the expert emphasised the correlates of adoption of technology or automation in economic growth and effective governance, crediting technology for improved internally-generated revenue in Lagos State.

READ ALSO: NCC Activating Strategic Plan For Broadband Infrastructure, All-Inclusive Digital Economy ─Danbatta

He recommended that Nigeria must link technology to specific programmes that are impacting and sustainable.

According to him, Nigeria needs to undertake pilots for projects that are planned for implementation and utilise the results of the pilots to scale up and for budgeting.

Takang also bemoaned the human capital challenge in the ICT sector in Nigeria, insisting that at least 500,000 software engineers are required to redirect efforts for effectiveness of policy.

Engr. Abubakar Ladan, the Director overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary in FMoCDE, and the CEOs of the other agencies in the Ministry also made presentations on their efforts and activities towards accomplishing the objectives of NDEPS.

These are Mr. Ayuba Shuaibu, Acting Executive Secretary, Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF); Dr. Abimbola Alale, Managing Director of Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), represented by Engr. Abdulrahman Adajah; Engr. Aliyu Aziz, Director-General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC); Kachifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Prof. Muhammed Abubakar, Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Plc; Dr. Adebayo Adewusi, Postmaster General of the Federation and Managing Director, Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST); and Dr. Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB).

“All the agencies and the Ministry were well represented at the retreat by at least 6 officers in the directorate cadre, said the NCC.

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