By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, says the telecommunications industry has been positioned to drive the economic diversification plan of Federal government.
Professor Danbatta made this assertion in his presentation to Course 29 Participants at the National Defence College, Nigeria, on Monday.
Speaking on a theme, “The Telecommunications Industry and National Development in Nigeria: The Roles of the NCC in Promoting Digital Economy”, he said, Telecoms sector is the life-wire that will drive the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) of the Federal Government.”
He noted that the sector plays a dual role in contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and being an enabler to other sectors of the economy.
“Telecommunications is key to the diversification of the Nigerian economy, as the telecom sector played a dual role of contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and being an enabler to other sectors of the economy.”
The EVC informed that the commission remitted over N362.34 billion as revenue in five (5) years to the Federal Government’s consolidated revenue account.
He listed fixed broadband Infrastructure gap, Right of Way (RoW), Foreign Exchange, Vandalism of telecoms infrastructure, Electric Power Supply, Multiple Taxations and regulations as some of the challenges bedevilling the industry.
On fixed broadband Infrastructure gap, Danbatta said, the commission will bolster the existing fibre optic infrastructure across the country by 38,296 km through the infraCo project Initiative.
On RoW, he informed that the engagement with the Nigeria Governors Forum on the adoption of N145/m as RoW fees has yielded results in Kaduna, Katsina, Imo, Ekiti and Plateau State.
He, therefore, urged other states governments to key into the success of the digital economy drive by reducing RoW fees and other charges targeting telecom service providers.
Professor Danbatta’s paper delved into a range of issues, including the correlation between broadband and GDP, telecom contribution to national development, telecom investment trend in Nigeria, telecom contribution to digital economy, conceptualisation of digital economy among others.
In his remarks, the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Mackson Kadiri appreciate the EVC, describing his paper as in-depth, incisive and timely, giving the pivotal role the telecom sector plays in ensuring National Security and National Development.