POLITICAL ECONOMY

NCC Vows To Facilitate Growth Of E-Government, Others – Danbatta

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By Kingsley I. Ilechukwu, Correspondent Lagos

The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has highlighted the various regulatory measures of the Commission toward deepening the adoption of e-Government and other Internet-driven services in the country.

Prof Danbatta  listed the measures in a presentation delivered during the Nigeria e-Government Summit 2021 recently held in Lagos titled, “e-Government: Opportunities and Challenges”, in which he focused on how government agencies and parastatals can take advantage of advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve service delivery to Nigerians.

Represented by the Commission’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, Danbatta stated that the NCC had been working assiduously with all stakeholders to deepen penetration of broadband infrastructure and services which supported the growth of e-Governance and other critical digital economy objectives throughout Nigeria.

The NCC boss said the Commission recently unveiled its second Strategic Vision Plan (SVP)- 2021-2025, which enabled it to effectively align with efforts of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030; the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, and other digital economy polices and global best practices.

“Leveraging on the successes we achieved under our previous SVP, we are repositioning both the Commission and the entire industry to facilitate the availability of solid infrastructure and to proliferate digital platforms that effectively and efficiently enable digital inclusion throughout Nigeria,” he said.

Highlighting some of the activities of the Commission geared towards ensuring accessibility to efficient and affordable network infrastructure to power e-Government and other digital economy initiatives in the country, Danbatta, pointed out that, following the presidential approval of the Fifth Generation (5G) Policy, the NCC had developed a 5G Deployment Plan for Nigeria’s digital economy.

Danbatta said the Commission had set up a committee to auction the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) band for 5G deployment in Nigeria, and the details would be announced in due course. He also disclosed that the regulator was currently updating the National Frequency Allocation Table (NFAT) to achieve more efficient spectrum allocation and usage to reflect World radio communications Conference (WRC)-19 recommendations and declared that the update of the spectrum allocation table was among several other initiatives being implemented by NCC to ensure efficient use of spectrum resource in the country.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian chief telecom regulator had said the task of attracting investments into the broadband infrastructure space was a collective responsibility. Thus, he called for increased collaboration of all stakeholders in other to remove barriers to investment which include multiple taxation and regulation, arbitrary pricing of bottleneck resources such as Right-of-Way (RoW), time-consuming and unfriendly approval processes.

“These factors discourage investments in digital infrastructure and reduce the speed at which we provide our people with access to seamless digital service infrastructure for e-Governance and other services,” Danbatta emphasised.

The summit was organised by DigiServe Network Services Limited, in partnership with NCC, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

Earlier, Executive Chairman, DigiServe Network Services, Lanre Ajayi, in his opening address, said with the advent of democracy, expectations of citizens from governments were higher because citizens rated their governments largely on how efficient and effective government services were delivered to them.  “Hence, e-Government, which is essentially about the deployment of technologies in government processes and service delivery to citizens, provides immense opportunities for governments to deliver services to citizens most effectively and efficiently,” he said.

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