L-R: Prof. Akande, Board Chairman, NCC; Prof. Pantami, Minister for Communications and Digital Economy; Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; Alh. Kabiru Balarabe, Secretary to Zamfara State Government; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta,  Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO, NCC; and Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, Board Chairman, MTN Nigeria, at the BTAF for Governors in Abuja, FCT    Photo: NCC

Pantami woos Nigerian Governors on Broadband as Obaseki shares experience

*Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, discloses the global recognition of Broadband infrastructure explains the Federal Government’s decision to develop plans aimed at deepening in-country connectivity to enhance the socio-economic development of Nigeria

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government has restated the significance of Broadband Internet connectivity to the development of the Nigerian economy.

Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, said this Thursday, October 20, 2022, at the the maiden edition of Broadband Technical Awareness Forum for Governors (BTAF) in Abuja, FCT.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Pantami told a gathering designed for State Governors that the potential benefits of Broadband are so enormous that making the infrastructure available for their citizens would be the best gift for their economic emancipation.

The Minister, at the event organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), also informed the state governors, their representatives, and other industry stakeholders at the BTAF, about what Governor Godwin Obaseki  Edo State, who gave an impressive report card, had already achieved with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the education sector, and several other sectors of the state economy.

Pantami further stated that greater support and collaboration would be required from the State Governors towards addressing challenges to Broadband infrastructure deployment by the telecoms companies, which are expected to deploy required infrastructure to provide Broadband services in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

He said: “This is because, more than ever before, our security, economic and educational development rely on having state-based Broadband structure and framework that will articulate the key targets in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

“This is the essence of this forum today.”

Broadband as a necessity

Pantami also noted at the forum that access to Broadband is globally recognised as a necessity, and not luxury.

According to him, this affirmation explains the Federal Government’s decision to develop Broadband plans aimed at deepening in-country connectivity to enhance socio-economic development.

The Minister, who established correlates between Broadband penetration and growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), stated that countries with high density of Broadband network have higher GDP per capital for the citizens. The steady growth in broadband penetration over the years in Nigeria is directly reflecting on the economic growth of the country, stated he.

Governor Obaseki, who delivered a goodwill message on behalf of other state governors and listed efforts made by state governments in encouraging Broadband infrastructure deployment, assured stakeholders of the readiness and willingness of the state governments to work more with the Federal Government.

He, however, emphasised the need for increased open dialogue and trust between the Federal Government and the States.

Representatives of other state governors also expressed their determination to cooperate more with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the NCC and other telecoms companies to facilitate deployment of fibre infrastructure which they believe would improve the socio-economic lives of citizens.

In his remarks, Prof. Adeolu Akande,

Chairman, Board of Commissioners at NCC, said Nigeria deserves to be in tune as the world goes digital in all spheres.

Akande stated that Nigeria cannot afford to lag in being among the countries leveraging Broadband for socio-economic development.

The NCC Boards Chairman said: “We recognise the fact that Nigeria is a nation with federating units.

“Hence, it would be difficult to achieve faster and desired Broadband penetration level without effective collaboration with the state governors.”

The telecoms regulatory Commission noted Akande particularly, emphasised the centrality of synergy to tackle all challenges undermining Broadband deployment, particularly “multiple taxation, Right of Way (RoW), denial of access to telecoms sites for maintenance, vandalism, insecurity, among others.”

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, in his own submission at BTAF, said the objective of the event was to seek better understanding and rich resolutions to all issues affecting faster Broadband deployment.

Danbatta reminded participants “though we are making gradual progress towards our target, this forum will provide us with deeper insights on how to address identified challenges to Broadband deployment.”

At the event attended by over 170 delegates and following discussion at the technical panel session, several resolutions were made towards ensuring accessible, available, and affordable Broadband services that will support the overall socio-economic development in the country.

According to NCC, a key decision taken at the forum is the urgent need to establish State Broadband Coordinating Council, as a Sub-National Structure at the state level, which is urgently required to enhance the accomplishment of the objectives of the NNBP.

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