L-R: Prof. Muhammed Abubakar, Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone; Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman, Board of Commissioners at NCC; Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of NCC; and Mr. Kashifu Abdullahi, Director-General, NITDA, at the Event in Abuja, FCT Photo: NCC

Digital Economy: 22 Nigerian institutions, others benefit from N16.7bn Broadband access projects

*Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, discloses the Broadband connectivity and access project is in tandem with the mandates of President Muhammadu Buhari on job creation and economic diversification in the country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In a move to accelerate the Nigeria Digital Economy efforts in the West African country, over 22 institutions comprising 18 Universities, six polytechnics, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), selected from the six geopolitical zones across Nigeria, have benefited from a Federal Government’s Broadband infrastructure projects.

ConsumerConnect reports the unveiling of the projects being driven by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) held Thursday, November 24, 2022, at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, FCT.

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Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, who presided over the event, stated that the project underscores the importance of Broadband connectivity and access as central to the accomplishment of the targets of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 for a digital Nigeria.

Federal Government’s mandate on job creation, economic diversification

Pantami said the project was in line with the mandates of President Muhammadu Buhari on job creation and economic diversification.

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The Minister, joined by Malam Mohammed Bello, Honourable Minister for Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at the event, also disclosed that the key infrastructure being provided for the project comprises Broadband infrastructure for tertiary institutions of learning; Broadband infrastructure for MSMEs; and the distribution of 6,000 e-Pad tablets.

He noted there is also provision of Broadband connectivity to 20 markets as a pilot programme in the economy.

MSMEs’ contribution to Nigerian economy

The interest in supporting the MSMEs is justified by their current contribution of more than half of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) prior to COVID-19 outbreak, and now constitute 96.7 percent of entire businesses in the country, said Pantami.

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The Minister, therefore, stated, “any effort to develop our economy without bringing such important sector into the equation will amount to efforts in futility.”

In attendance at the event are Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman, Board of the NCC; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman NCC; Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC); Prof. Idris Bugaje, Executive Secretary of National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), among others.

Presentation of new book, “Skills Rather Than Just Degrees”

The telecoms sector regulatory Commission noted another unique feature of the event was the unveiling of a book entitled: “Skills Rather Than Just Degrees” for the industry.

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Prof. Pantami authored the book with the Foreword written by Brad Smith, President of Microsoft Corporation.

According to Pantami, the new book is his intellectual contribution to bridging skills gap to enable Nigerians to tap into the opportunities that exist in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and other sectors of the economy.

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Three different University Vice-Chancellors, including Prof. Muhammad Abdulazeez of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; Prof. Owuanari Georgewill of University of Port Harcourt; and Prof. Sagir Adamu Abbas of Bayero University Kano, who reviewed the book, all commended the Minister’s efforts at putting his thoughts and experience on paper.

The book reviewers recommended the book, which they commended highly, said the NCC.

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In their comments, NCC’s Professors Akande and Danbatta, affirmed that the digital connectivity project would fast-track the Commission’s ongoing efforts at deepening connectivity towards achieving the targeted Broadband penetration of 70 percent by 2025.

Prof. Akande, NCC Board Chairman, also assured of the commitment of the Commission to completing the projects, which will add the necessary fillip to achieve the major objectives spelt out in the NDEPS, 2020-2030.

NCC committed to Broadband penetration, digital skills acquisition: Danbatta

Speaking at the event, Prof. Danbatta, EVC/CEO of NCC, highlighted the Commission’s drive towards deepening Broadband penetration and promotion of digital skills acquisition to improve service delivery in other sectors of the economy.

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The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Commission stated these sectors include education, commerce, healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation and governance, among others.

The event attracted several other stakeholders, especially from the academia, as well as technology enthusiasts, including prospective start-up companies, FinTech organisations, and other interested sectors whose activities are billed to be energised through diligent implementation of the NDEPS and other extant policies guiding the digital economy agenda of the Nigerian Government.

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