The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has pledged to always identify with Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), as a very important professional association of ICT journalists in the country, which has, over the years, remained its strategic partner.
Indeed, strategic collaboration and partnership is a key element of my Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) 2020-2025, and consistent with that, NITRA stands tall as a major stakeholder in our drive for the advancement of the industry, says the Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
These were contained in the EVC’s keynote address at the ICT Growth Conference & Awards organised by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) held at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos on Thursday through Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, director, Public Affairs at NCC.
Speaking on the thematic focus of the event “Harmonising ICT Sub-Sectors towards a Digitised Nigeria”, he said that was quite timely and apt, as it provides the Commission, as the telecoms industry regulator, opportunity to share thoughts on how to collectively create synergy among the various sub-sectors of the ICT industry towards achieving accelerated growth.
“…the various sub-sectors of the entire value chain of our ICT industry, including the telecoms, software, hardware, infrastructure, Value Added Services (VAS), fin-tech, innovation and technology startups, among others are witnessing various degrees of growth with the rapid evolution digital technologies”.
Each of these sub-sectors of the ICT industry is very critical to the sustainability of the growth and contribution of ICT industry to the national economy.
As a nation, developing the ICT industry remains a crucial agenda in our quest for socio-economic development in general and in the process of regional and global economic integration in particular”.
In addition, the ICT industry constitutes a strategic priority for countries in the sub-region in the fight against poverty and in promoting education at all levels”.
As a matter of fact, ICT contributes to economic growth by increasing productivity in all sectors; creating a conducive environment for market expansion beyond national borders and benefiting from economies of scale; reducing costs and facilitating easy access to services, particularly in the fields of administration, education, health and banking; facilitating access to research; developing ICT-related products and services; contributing to better governance, an essential ingredient for growth, through increased participation, accountability and transparency in the delivery of services”.
Prof. Danbatta added that embracing ICT gives broader possibilities of positive externalisation and encourages creativity, learning, and augments people’s aptitudes to resolve problems.
He however noted that its influence on the overall growth of an economy depends on a number of factors one of which is the extent to which all the sub-sectors interact, integrate and work with a sense of harmony as technology evolves.
In ensuring harmonisation of these sub-sectors, the EVC said there is a need to always ensure that the legal and regulatory regimens, as well as the national ICT institutional frameworks have mutually inclusive handshake towards ensuring a digitized economy.
“You may recall that the Nigerian government has always envisioned a policy environment in which regulatory frameworks for each of the sub-sectors is harmonized across all sectors to ensure a cohesive growth of the ICT industry.
“In 2012, a very important effort was made by the government to have a Harmonized National Information Communication Technology (ICT) Policy, with the objective of harmonizing the disparate policy frameworks guiding each of the ICT sub-sectors in the country and subsequently stimulate a harmonised national ICT policy that will create a digital economy.
To further give emphasis to this, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in 2020, unveiled the Federal Government’s National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030 with eight distinctive pillars.
These pillars have encapsulated what needs to be done to drive each of the sub-sectors for better ICT industry development”.
He ran through these eight (8) Pillars which include; Developmental Regulation; Digital Literacy and Skills; Solid Infrastructure; Service Infrastructure; Soft Infrastructure; Digital Services Development and Promotion; Digital Society and Emerging Technologies, and Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.
“Suffice it to say that these pillars will accelerate the development of a digital economy in Nigeria.
Consequently, in an effort to implement policy expectations contained in NDEPS and other similar digital economy-targeted polices such as the Nigerian National Broadband Plan, among others, the NCC has developed a new Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) and Strategic Management Plan (SMP)”.
The new roadmap, a 5-Point Agenda, has the overarching objective of increasing connectivity, drive innovation and service experience, among others”.
It should be emphasized at this juncture that as our media partners, who daily report the ICT industry to our stakeholders, including existing and potential investors, the NCC has been at the forefront of facilitating the deployment of broadband infrastructure required to drive each sector of the economy and promote the use of emerging technologies for the development of a digitized economy”.
With particular emphasis on global trends, he said that the exponential and progressive growth in ICT innovation, adoption and usage has become the pivot for the development of the digital economy enabled by technology converge.
“Telecommunications, the Internet and other Innovative technologies have combined to reshape the ICT landscape.
“Nations that create effective and harmonized policy that triggers disruptive technologies, leveraging the full potentials of digital platforms created, are strategically positioned with competitive edge over their contemporaries which are not acting likewise.
He added that having a robust broadband infrastructure enables a nation to acquire strategic edge in dynamic industries, build strong economic foundations, develop an effective and efficient financial system, and create a vibrant environment for ICT innovations that impacts all sectors.
To this end, the NCC boss said that it is instructive that the Commission has been at the forefront of driving robust broadband infrastructure in the country to improve the performance of all the sub-sectors of the ICT industry which rely on resilient telecommunications network for facilitating Nigeria’s digital economy.
“With broadband penetration growing, startups, fintechs, software, hardware and VAS segments of the market, among others also continue to witness growth.
It is in recognition of the critical role of broadband that the Commission has continued to push the implementation of the NNBP 2020-2025 to ensure that the noble targets set in the plan are realized”.
The Commission, took a major step towards the implementation of the 5G plan as approve by the Federal Government. The stakeholder engagement on the Auction of the 5G spectrum following the publication of the Information Memorandum (IM) was organized just a week ago.
He said that the launch of 5G will deepen the telecommunications Industry by opening new frontiers for businesses, bolstering Innovation, creating more jobs and further enhance the efficiency and contribution of the sector to nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).