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Monday, March 15, 2010

Ekeh applauds NCC on ICT penetration

Chairman, Zinox Group, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh has commended the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) department of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), for driving the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) penetration in the country.

Dr. Ekeh, who was reviewing the pace of ICT penetration in Nigeria in 2009, singled out USPF for praise, saying it has the organization immensely contributed in moving ICT and the country to an appreciable level.

He noted that ICT revolution would pass Nigeria by without adequate regular evaluation of ICT penetration in this part of the world, pointing out that the economic meltdown that upset the world economies in 2009 took its toll on the performance of the ICT market in the country with new low levels of disposable income amidst crushing poverty.

The situation, he said, was not helped by the fact that there were no deliberate interventions to enhance access to ICT equipment in 2009 from the governments of the federation.

Ekeh condemned the lack of a follow-up to the CANi of 2004/5 by the government, saying that initiative was designed to provide computers for all Nigerians.

Educational institutions, he said, is driven by the global competitive trend which has continued to invest on ICT in 2009, but such investments were still too feeble to turn around the face of education in the country.

He decried the poor density of 2,000 computers in a school of over 30,000 students’ population, teachers and other support staff not included, stressing that the educational sector is critical because the schools are commissioned to produce the work force that this nation requires to be competitive.

Also, he commended the efforts of organizations like the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Education Trust Fund (ETF), United States of America International Aid (USAID), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), National IT Development Agency (NITDA), Total Fina Elf, and MTN, just to mention a few, for their commitment to the provision of ICT infrastructure in the country.

According to him, USPF which is a subsidiary of NCC, for instance, has gone beyond the educational institutions and provided ICT equipment to many communities across the nation.

Statistics available, he said, showed that the NCC has deployed largely through USPF in almost every tertiary institution in the country through the Adapti and Digital Awareness Project, DAP, and even provided wireless internet.

The USPF, he said, has also provided most tertiary institutions in the country with digital labs connected with internet while secondary schools nationwide were provided with e-learning platforms – laptops and internet in her ongoing national SAP Project.

This intervention is a welcome development, he said, especially through the community communication centres, which primarily link their communities with the information highway thereby enabling individuals and small businesses to exploit resources from the knowledge domain.

“Each center would provide telephone services, which must include free round the clock emergency telephone services, provide electronic or manual public access messaging system, which must make all messages accessible to the community within 30 minutes of receipt, and create free access to computers and internet services,” he said.

In addition, each center provides ICT training services for users of the CCC, and render other optional business services required to meet the needs of the local market.


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