The pivotal role being played by The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), under the guidance of its Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, continues to play a pivotal role in the advancement of the frontiers of broadband development. To that end, it has been duly recognized at this year’s edition of the Nigeria Tech Innovation and Telecoms Awards (NTITA), 2020.
The event, powered by Africa’s leading business-to business event organiser, InstinctWave, in partnership with the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Abuja at the weekend, witnessed the Commission and other industry stakeholders, including the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, carting away distinguished awards considered to be the Oscar of Nigeria’s telecoms industry.
For his part, Danbatta was awarded the “Broadband Oxygenator of the Year”. This was in recognitionof his remarkable role and commitment towards the development of broadband infrastructure to support Nigeria’s digital economy drive.
On the other hand, NCC, as a corporate organisation bagged the “Outstanding Contribution to Driving Greater Broadband Penetration Award of the Year.”
As Nigeria’s chief telecoms regulator, Danbatta demonstrates visionary leadership as seen in the articulation of a Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) for the fiscal years 2015-2020, whereby broadband penetration increased from 6% in 2015 to 45.43% in September, 2020.
Also, basic active internet subscription grew from 90 million to 143.7 million while active voice subscription increased from 151 million to 205.25% during the same period with teledensity also reaching 107.53% as at end of September 2020.
The last five years have seen the number of licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCo) growing from two in 2015 to six. The InfraCos are to deploy broadband infrastructure, on a wholesale basis in 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.
Presently, the Commission is appraising the framework for the licensing of InfraCo to ascertain sustainable funding options that will enable it effectively implement proposed national fibre project.
This will ensure the increase of broadband penetration to 70% target by 2025, according to the new national broadband plan.
The current review of the InfraCo framework is aimed to offer solution to the delays in takeoff, change in exchange rate, supply chain and other challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The dual recognitions shown to NCC and Danbatta’s at the NTITA 2020 were based on the contribution of the telecom sector to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 8.5% in 2015 to 14.30% as of the second quarter of 2020; this translates to N2.272 trillion in financial value.
During the last five years, under Danbatta leadership, telecoms investment increased from around $38 billion to over $70 billion currently with considerable remittances in spectrum fees and operating surplus by the NCC into the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
Additionally, growing e-commerce services, digital services and more access to enhance financial inclusion were brought about through increased deployment of broadband infrastructure promoted by the agency through its various regulatory initiatives.
Commenting on the importance of the NTITA, President of ATCON, Olusola Teniola, said, “Our thinking is that if we decide to ignore the contribution that our sector has made to the development of Nigeria by not recognizing the actors that made it possible, what we are saying invariably is that we are unappreciative of their concerted efforts in changing the story of our industry.”
In addition, he expressed his hope that the accolades would stir up the government in focusing attention on the sector.
Also, he shared his optimism that state governments would continually support the industry’s effort to transform their various states into digital cities.
Don’t miss important articles during the week. Subscribe to techbuild weekly digest for updates.