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SPV: Tijani lauds Development FIs, NCC, NITDA for progress on fibre optic connectivity project

Photos: DrBosunTijani

*Dr. ’Bosun Tijani, Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy applauds Development Finance Institutions, Nigerian Communications Commission, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, National Information Technology Development Agency, and others for commitment to activation of the Special Purpose Vehicle to build 90,000km additional fibre optic connectivity to improve lives of telecoms consumers across the country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As Nigeria intensify efforts at deepening digital connectivity to improve the lives of telecoms consumers in the ecosystem, Dr. ’Bosun Tijani, Honourable Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, applauded the contributions of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and others to activation of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to build 90,000km additional fibre optic connectivity across the West African country.

ConsumerConnect reports elated Dr. Tijani, who stated this in a blog note via his verified social media account Wednesday, June 26, 2024, following a stakeholder engagement held in Abuja, FCT, described the session as taking “many steps closer” to setting up the SPV to deepen digital connectivity in Nigeria.

According to him, the country is set to achieve more in this regard as the stakeholders push through with their apparent commitment to fundamentally improve connectivity across the country, and improve the lives of all citizens.

In attendance at the last stakeholder engagement forum include Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC and Engr. Abraham Oshadami, Executive Commisioner (Technical Services) at the Commision.

Commenting on the forum, Dr. Tijani averred: “We had an extremely productive conversation with Development Finance Institutions and other stakeholders to identify and outline steps towards setting up the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to build out 90,000km of fibre optic connectivity across Nigeria.”

He also stated: “I want to particularly thank Mr. Olawale Edun, Hon. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, The World Bank, and all other partners – Africa Finance Corporation, African Development Bank Group, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), WIOCC, Ministry of Finance Incorporated, and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).”

The Minister equally noted others to include International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Union Delegation to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), “for their support in this process”.

“I am excited about what we are set to achieve as we carry through with our commitment to fundamentally improve connectivity across the country, and improve the lives of all citizens.”

Nigeria targets 33m additional telecoms consumers with SPV project ─Minister

In respect of the SPV project, Dr. Tijani recently disclosed the current drive to boost digital connectivity with a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model would help to plug an existing non-consumption gap by connecting over 200,000 educational, healthcare and social institutions.

The ultimate aim, he stated, is to ensure 33 million additional telecoms consumers enjoy the benefits of Internet connectivity in the country’s digital space.

He said that the Nigerian Government had activated a Special Purpose Vehicle to build the additional fibre optic coverage required to take the country’s connectivity backbone to a minimum of 125,000km, from the current coverage of about 35,000km.

The Federal Government noted that upon delivery of the ambitious digital connectivity project, Nigeria’s will become Africa’s 3rd longest terrestrial fibre optic backbone, after Egypt and South Africa, said the Minister.

Tijani as well disclosed how his Ministry secured approval for the project that offers significant opportunities for consumers in general, and the country’s digital startup ecosystem in particular.

The first of the two approvals is the launch of a Special Purpose Vehicle that would support the delivery of 90,000km extra fibre optic cables to complement the existing connectivity infrastructure, and deliver “a stronger national backbone for universal access to the Internet across Nigeria.”

Significance of multisectoral approach to digital connectivity project delivery

In regard to the PPP approach to the SPV project delivery, the Minister specially acknowledged that over the last several months, his Ministry in conjunction with the NCC, NITDA, Galaxy Backbone Limited, and other government agencies had put in extensive groundwork to set up the SPV to realise the objective.

According to him, the project will be modelled in governance and operations similarly to some of the best Public-Private Partnership (PPP) setups in Nigeria, such as NIBSS and Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).

“This extensive coverage will enable us optimise the unique benefit of having 8 submarine cables already landed in Nigeria and therefore drive an uptake of the data capacity that the cables offer, beyond the current usage level of 10%.

“Building on our existing work with the Broadband Alliance, this increased connectivity will help plug the current non-consumption gap by connecting over 200,000 educational, healthcare and social institutions across Nigeria, ensuring that a larger section of our society can be included in the benefits of Internet connectivity,” Dr. Tijani stated.

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