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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

ICT provides impetus for economic diversification says Danbatta - ITREALMS

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Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has underscored the importance of Information and Communication technology (ICT) as enabler of economic growth, especially at this time of diversification thereby providing 
digital impetus for transformation, reports ITREALMS.


Danbatta in his keynote to the fifth edition of WorldStage Economic Summit held virtually Tuesday, as occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant need to continue to maintain social distancing and other safety regulations, said that diversification of economy as a nation away from reliance on oil and gas proceeds that the nation would need essential enhancement from ICT.
“This is because ICT has been the enabler of economic growth, providing the necessary digital impetus for transformative development in all other sectors of the economy, be it agriculture, education, financial services, healthcare services and so on,” he said. 

Danbatta who was represented by the Director, Public Affairs Department of the Commission, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, harped on the ‘Role of ICT in Consolidating Economic Diversification.’ 

He stressed that ICT has fared well in creating the necessary digital platforms to drive President Muhammadu Buhari’s Agenda on Economic Diversification, as well as the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), as part of the Federal Government’s policy direction to keep our economy afloat and navigate through the economic headwinds with respect to the dwindling price of crude oil in the international market. 

To avoid the monolithic overdependence on oil, which, as recent developments have revealed, is no longer sustainable due to unpredictable market demands for oil, he noted that the President, General Muhammadu Buhari, retired, has said that his leadership will work more closely with other countries facing the challenge of falling oil prices to rapidly move away from dependence on crude oil exports for economic survival. 

The President, he equally said, had affirmed his administration’s commitment to fast-track development of Nigeria’s non-oil sectors and the speedy diversification of the country’s economy. 

“Interestingly, some of the key sectors identified by this administration with the propensity and capacity to drive economic diversification are agriculture, ICT/Telecommunications, power and transport,” he said. 

Danbatta stressed that in same breadth, NCC has reinvigorated its regulatory efforts towards ensuring more ICT infrastructure are deployed, protected and made accessible as well as available to more Nigerians across the nooks and crannies of the country. 

This, he said, has been done and continue to be done through deliberate provision of the necessary digital impetus for the actualisation of the economic diversification drive of this Government, declaring that NCC is well prepared to make telecoms an enabler for the realisation of Nigeria's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for 2017

“With clear-headed and focused regulatory interventions, the NCC has been able to deepen access to telecommunications services- voice and data – across the country which have positively impacted other sectors of the economy such as healthcare, education, agriculture, finance, transportation, commerce, governance, and so on. 

Also, realising the importance of broadband to the socio-economic development of a nation towards diversifying the economy, NCC came up with an Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) initiative. 

He said, this initiative which is called Open Access Model (OAM) is aimed at deploying broadband infrastructure by laying fibre optics across the nation. 

This has necessitated the licensing of seven (7) infrastructure companies (InfraCos) by the Commission to provide robust broadband infrastructure across the nation so that our sector can be able to support the Federal Government’s economic diversification drive. 

“Recently, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy unveiled the new Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) with the objective to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria at a minimum speed of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population by end of 2025,” he said.
Chuks Egbune/DoP

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