By Angeline Mgbele, Correspondent Abuja
The Nigerian Government through its relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDSs) is prioritizing continuous engagement of many and varied stakeholders to secure their acceptance and input towards achieving the targets of its National Broadband Plan(NNBP) 2020-2025, according to Nigeria’s chief telecommunications sector regulator and the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive(EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta.
A statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs(DPA) of the Commission, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde confirms that Danbatta stated this at the first stakeholder consultation with telecommunication industry players on the implementation of the new national broadband plan held at the NCC’s Communications & Digital Economy Complex in Abuja on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
Represented by NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services and Chairman, Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC), Engr. Ubale Maska, Danbatta said the Ministry and its agencies, as well as the industry must work together towards the attainment of the set goals.
At the event, which is the second of the multi-stakeholder consultation process by the BISC, Danbatta noted that the 30 per cent broadband targets set in the previous NNBP 2013-2018 were met and surpassed due to “our collective efforts, policy direction, regulation and financial commitment by industry players.”
He said there were, however, some targets that were not met in the previous plan because of various challenges that were presently being addressed.
“The NNBP 2020-2025 has, once again, identified initiatives to be implemented by different stakeholders in order to achieve the set objectives of the plan. The importance of broadband to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), socio-economic development, and especially the digital economy, cannot be over-emphasized,” he said.
In his welcome address, the Vice Chairman of BISC, Dr. Usman Abdullahi, said the forum was to avail the industry players and representatives of government a veritable platform to collaborate, and discuss ways to accelerate broadband implementation for sustainable development of the telecommunications sector and advancement of the digital economy.
Project Director, BISC, Abubakar Maina, made a presentation providing information to stakeholders on previous and new targets, timelines, milestones, strategic pillars, initiatives in the pillars, as well as governance structure in the new broadband plan.
The forum was well attended by industry operators, especially the Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) both physically and virtually, who gave useful inputs for steering the course of implementation of the new broadband plan to success.
President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the new broadband plan on March 19, 2020, following the development of the plan by a committee, set up by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami on December 16, 2019.
As a follow-up, on July 9, 2020, the Minister, inaugurated the BISC, which is primarily saddled with the responsibility of ensuring effective monitoring of the implementation of the new broadband plan.