FG’s Digital Economy Policy Reflects Good Thinking, On Track – Pantami

…As NCC, Partners Begin Capacity Building On ICT Regulation


By Cyber Era Reporter

Contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) unveiled by Nigeria’s President,  Muhammadu Buhari on November 28, 2019, is well-conceived, on track and built on objectives that will boost development of digital skills in both private and public sectors in the country.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, who will monitor  the full implementation of  NDEPS  via relevant agencies and departments of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami stated  this on Monday, March 9, 2020, at the opening of an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) regulation workshop organised by telecommunications sector referee, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in partnership with the Swedish Post & Telecoms Authority (PTS) – sectoral regulator for posts and telecommunication; and the Swedish Programme for ICT Development in Emerging Regions (SPIDER).

In his opening remark at the three-day workshop taking place at the Communications and Digital Economy Complex (CDEC), Mbora District, Abuja, north central, Nigeria, the Minister stated that the workshop directly resonated with the first, second and seventh items of the eight pillars of the NDEPS namely developmental regulations, digital literacy and skill acquisition, as well as digital society and emerging technologies respectively.

Participants at the workshop included the staff of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE), NCC, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP).

Dr. Pantami reiterated that it was high time the country focused more on skills acquisition rather than certification in order to harness and enjoy derivable benefits from the rapid advancement in the ICT and enjoined the participants to maximise the opportunity of the workshop to horn their digital skills for effective regulations of the ICT industry.

He  commended the Swedish government for its support in hosting the capacity building for the ICT industry regulators in Nigeria.

Earlier, the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, who has concurrent accreditation to Ghana, Cameroon and ECOWAS, Carl-Michael Grans told participants that the workshop was a follow-up to the one that held in November 2019, in Stockholm, Sweden. He stated that the focus was to explore how new technologies could best be used to improve the society.

Reflecting on the history of communications technology, Grans said ever since Ericsson opened an office in Sweden in 1876 to address the challenges of telegraphy, successive Swedish authorities had tapped into advancement in ICT to enhance the growth and development of the Swedish society.

According to Grans, Sweden was recognised today as a global flagship in the deployment of ICT for development. He said in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, Sweden was seen as a leader in digitisation because ICT had played a significant role in the advancement of the Swedish society.

“This leadership is usually measured in digital competence, digital innovation, digital security, digital infrastructure and digital management,” he said.

Grans, who was accompanied by other partners including Director, SPIDER Kerston Borgon; Director, Ericsson Peter Ogundele; Chief Economist, PTS Dr. Bo. Andersson; and Senior Policy Adviser, International Affairs at the Swedish Embassy, Fredrik Kapper also stated that across the world, the challenges of ICT deployment were basically the same with the most challenging ones being “rural infrastructure management and cybersecurity.”

He enjoined participants to be mindful of the challenges as they participated in the workshop.

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande emphasised the significance of the workshop in the context of the recently-unveiled NDEPS and the new National Broadband Plan 2020-2024 which, he said, would soon be unveiled by the Minister.

He urged the participants to give the workshop rapt attention because their participation constituted “the fulcrum of all the vision of the government for digital literacy and skills acquisition,” and thanked PTS, SPIDER and the Government of Sweden for the significant assistance.

Executive Vice Chairman   and Chief Executive Officer(EVCCEO) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta noted that Nigeria was going through the process of digital transformation and that it was a learning curve that the country must accomplish. “I, therefore, thank the PTS. SPIDER, the Swedish Government and of course, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital economy for supporting the Commission in making this capacity-building workshop a reality.”


L-R:  Fredrik Kapper, Senior Policy Adviser, International Affairs at the Swedish Embassy; Dr. Bo. Andersson, Chief Economist, Post and Telecom Authority, Sweden (PTS); Peter Ogundele, Director, Ericsson; Carl-Michael Grans, Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria; Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy; Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC; Kerston Borgon, Director, Swedish Programme for ICT Development in Emerging Regions (SPIDER) and Oluwatoyin Asaju, Director, Special Duties, NCC during the event.

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