The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has said that robust multi-stakeholder engagement is critical to accelerating rapid connectivity in the country.
Danbatta stated this in a keynote address delivered at the 2020 National Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA) Virtual Innovative Tech Webinar on Wednesday, October 14, 2020.
Danbatta said the increased collaboration has become central to revamping the economy, by leveraging the deployment of robust broadband infrastructure being driven by the Commission.
He said this has become more important following the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, which he said, has continued to ravage global economies like a wild bush fire, incapacitating local businesses, upsetting the workforce, and rendering governments numb as they search for a long-term credible solution.
Speaking on the topic: “Multi-Stakeholder Approach to National Recovery Post-Pandemic,” the EVC said the Commission, in 2016 came up with a Strategic Vision Plan (the 8-point agenda), as a roadmap to prepare Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector for the future.
“We did so, mindful of the role that the telecommunications sector plays in the development of our economy, and since then, we have guided our regulatory efforts to ensure the sustained growth of the sector,” he said.
Danbatta further stated that between 2015 till date, a lot of initiatives have been embarked upon by the Commission to provide the needed telecoms infrastructure to support and transform the various sectors of the economy.
These include licensing of the Infrastructure companies, effective management of spectrum in the country, improving quality of service, engaging with necessary stakeholders, all of which have resulted in increased broadband infrastructure deployment by telcos.
He said the result of these efforts is the increase in broadband penetration beyond 43 percent as of August 2020.
He assured of the commitment of the Commission to further increase digital access across the country in the coming years, as it continues to work towards achieving the 70 percent broadband penetration target set by the Federal Government within the National Broadband plan 2020 -2025.
The EVC commended NITRA for organizing the forum and restated the NCC’s commitment to continue to deepen multi-stakeholder partnerships with relevant industry stakeholders, especially the media, towards advancing the desired goals of the digital economy in Nigeria.