The minister of communications and digital economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, and other critical stakeholders in the telecommunications sector have commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the historic launch of its lofty Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) 2021-2025, aimed at advancing the digital economy vision of the federal government.
Also, unveiled at the Communications and Digital Economy Complex, Mbora, Abuja was a collection of various speeches and presentations of the executive vice-chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta in his first tenure.
The book titled “Catalysing Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Transformation through Broadband Infrastructure” underscores the centrality of broadband in Nigeria’s journey to a modern digital economy.
Speaking at the event, Prof Pantami commended Prof Danbatta on the success of the first SVP and said the current one will also help in delivering on objectives of national policies on the digital economy.
He particularly said that he was happy and optimistic that with the new SVP 2021-2025, the commission will lead the way in the implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan, NNBP 2020-2025 and National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) towards fast-tracking the attainment of national targets on the digital economy vision of the federal government.
Prof Pantami said the main function of the communications ministry was to provide an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive, adding this is what the Ministry and regulators such as NCC, under its purview have been doing creditably.
He explained that it was necessary for the private sector to be more successful because they control the majority of the economy. “Strategic vision is key to the foundation of whatever we do. Usually, strategy cascades our national policy for implementation.
“This strategy of NCC has cascaded the two national policies that are relevant to it, most importantly, the national digital economic policy and strategy for a digital Nigeria and Nigerian national broadband plan. This is what the strategy is all about,” Pantami said.
On his part, the Senate majority leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, applauded the Commission for its futuristic vision, which he noted, was on the right course and capable of taking Nigeria to greater heights in the 21st century.
Also, chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications, Hon. Akeem Adeyemi extolled the SVP initiative of the NCC, noting that the commission has consistently been a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the last few years.
In his address, the managing director/chief executive officer, Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammed Abubakar, commended the EVC for his visionary leadership, saying the SVP 2021-2025 would guide the transformation of Nigeria, digitally. He also lauded the minister of communications and digital economy, for his efforts and support to the growth of the digital ecosystem.
Earlier in his speech, Prof Danbatta said since the assumption of office, he has focused on strategic objectives which are in tandem with the policy objectives of the federal government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He noted that the Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP) 2015-2020 focused on eight items: Facilitate Broadband Penetration; Improve Quality of Service; Optimize Usage and Benefits of Spectrum; Promote ICT Investment and Innovation; Protect and Empower Consumers; Promote Fair Competition and Inclusive Growth; Facilitate Strategic Collaboration and Partnerships, and Ensure Regulatory Excellence and Operational Efficiency.
In developing the SVP (2015-2020), NCC leveraged various policy documents, which included Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan (2013-2018) that set a target of a five-fold increase in broadband penetration, from six per cent in 2013 to 30 per cent penetration by the end of 2018. The NCC recorded a broadband penetration of 31.48 per cent in December 2018.
The EVC said the need to re-invigorate the Commission and take it to greater heights informed the development of a new Strategic Vision Plan (2021–2025), which is a successor to the SVP (2015-2020).
The new SVP 2021-2025 has five items namely: Organizational Renewal for Operational Efficiency and Regulatory Excellence; Facilitating the Provision of Infrastructure for a Digital Economy which fosters National Development; Promoting Fair Competition, Inclusive Growth, Increased investment and Innovative Services; Improve Quality of Service (QoS) for Enhanced Consumer Quality of Experience (QoE); and Facilitating Strategic Collaboration and Partnership.
“To ensure a strong commitment to its implementation, the new SVP also has inbuilt initiatives, key performance indicators developed from inception and activities tied to an implementation responsibility matrix.
“It also incorporates timelines and a robust monitoring and evaluation mechanism. It is equally outcome-based and recommendation-driven with follow-up actions to guide the Commission in operationalising the plan and assessing its performance over time.
“The new SVP, no doubt, embodies several innovative elements deliberately designed to re-invent and transform the telecom ecosystem within the context of regulation,” Danbatta added.
The event was attended by the president of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Ike Nnamani and his predecessor, Olusola Teniola; national chairman, Association Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, CEOs of telecoms companies and their representatives; president, National Association of Telecom Subscribers; former EVC of NCC and chairman, board of MTN Plc, Ernest Ndukwe, among several other critical industry stakeholders.