Prof. Umar Danbatta, EVC/CEO of NCC (2nd left) Receiving an Award at NTITA 2020 Photo: NCC

Telecoms/ICT: NCC, Danbatta receive awards for broadband development

*We are appreciative of concerted efforts at changing the story of our industry by recognising the actors that made it possible, says Olusola Teniola, President of ATCON

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

This year’s edition of the Nigeria Tech Innovation and Telecoms Awards (NTITA) 2020 has recognised the critical role played by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in advancing the frontiers of broadband development in the telecoms and Information & Communications Technology (ICT) industry in the country.

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, in a statement disclosed Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), was honoured at the industry event as the “Broadband Oxygenator of the Year” for his remarkable role and commitment to the development of broadband infrastructure to support the Nigeria’s digital economy drive.

The statement also noted that the NCC as a corporate organisation received the “Outstanding Contribution to Driving Greater Broadband Penetration Award of the Year”.

The awards regarded as the Oscars of Nigeria’s telecom sector, powered by InstinctWave, Africa’s leading business-to-business event organiser in collaboration with the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), in Abuja, FCT, at the weekend had in attendance the Commission and other industry stakeholders, including Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, carting away distinguished awards.

According to the Commission, in the past years through the articulation of a Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) for the fiscal years 2015-2020, which symbolises the focused leadership Danbatta brought on board as the chief telecoms regulator in the country, broadband penetration increased from 6 percent in 2015 to 45.43  September 2020.

Basic active Internet subscription grew from 90 million to 143.7 million while active voice subscription increased from 151 million to 205.25 percent during the same period with teledensity also reaching 107.53 percent as of end of September, 2020, said the statement.

Dr. Adinde as well stated disclosed that the last five years have seen the number of licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCo) increasing from two in 2015 to six currently.

The InfraCos are to deploy broadband infrastructure, on a wholesale basis in the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, he noted.

Adinde said: “The Commission is currently reviewing the framework for the licensing of InfraCo to ensure sustainable funding options for effective implementation of the proposed national fibre project towards increasing broadband penetration to 70 percent target, as set in the new national broadband plan by 2025.

“The ongoing review of the InfraCo framework is to cater for the delays in take-off, change in exchange rate, supply chain and other challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic with respect to InfraCo implementation.”

The NCC stressed that the Commission and Danbatta’s recognitions at the NTITA 2020 were also hinged on the increase in the contribution of the telecom sector the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 8.5 percent in 2015 to 14.30 percent as of the second quarter of 2020, translating into N2.272 trillion in financial value.

The statement added: “In the last five years, under Danbatta leadership, telecoms investment grew from around $38 billion to over $70 billion currently with appreciable remittances in spectrum fees and operating surplus by the NCC into the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

“Increased e-commerce services, other digital services and more access to financial inclusion were also enabled through increased deployment of broadband infrastructure being promoted by the telecoms regulator through a number of regulatory initiatives.”

Mr. Olusola Teniola, President of ATCON, in his remarks on the significance of the NTITA 2020, said: “Our thinking is that if we decide to ignore the contribution that our sector has made to the development of Nigeria by not recognising the actors that made it possible, what we are saying invariably is that we are unappreciative of their concerted efforts at changing the story of our industry.”

Teniola stated that he hoped the awards would spur the Nigerian Government to pay more attention to the telecoms/ICT sector and that state governments would continue to support the efforts of the industry at transforming their various states into digital cities.

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