The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has assured of its readiness to ensure individuals, businesses, and the nation harness benefits and the opportunities offered by digital culture, to improve quality of life, grow businesses, and the economy.
This was stated at the just concluded AfricaNXT tech in Lagos with the theme: ‘The NCC Mandate Towards Realization of Full Digital Economy in Nigeria’ hosted by the Commission.
Speaking at the event, the Commission’s Head of Digital Skills and Services, Mrs. Freda Bruce-Bennett, said the Commission’s next priority is the development of skills for Nigerians, including women, young girls and boys at all levels and across the 36 states of Nigeria, Federal Capital Territory and Abuja.
She stated further that the development of digital skills for Nigerians has become necessary following the creation of the Nigerian Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS), whose mandate is to encourage indigenous participation in the telecom sector.
According to her, the creation of the NODITS, has started yielding the desired results as Nigerians have now been engaged in the production of products and services that were hitherto imported. She noted that this move is boosting the government’s digital economy pursuit.
One of such is the production of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards, which she disclosed has helped government to save about $12 million owing to the ban of whole SIM card importation.
“As we speak, six indigenous companies were licensed by the NCC to manufacture SIM cards, four out of these six are operational and have manufactured over 100 million SIM cards, saving Nigeria about $12 million from the importation of SIM cards,” she said.
Also speaking on what the NCC is doing to drive the digital economy, the Head of Spectrum Administration, Mr. Abraham Oshadami, said the Commission has slashed licensing fees for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to as low as N500, 000.
This is in an effort to promote the rollout of telecoms infrastructures across the country in order to achieve the National Broadband Plan of the Federal Government.
Head of Financing and Stakeholders Management Team, NODITS at the NCC, Mrs. Aderonke Sola-Ogunsola expressed optimism that it is possible for the country to continue to make progress in the ban of more telecoms devices such as smartphones, phone chargers and SIM cards adding that before the ban, SIM card was an imported product.
According to her, Nigeria has the capacity to manufacture SIM card locally stressing that the ban will provide more jobs and savings on FOREX for the nation.
The Director of Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka in his opening remarks stated that digital literacy skill is one of the pivotal focus of the Commission stressing that without digital skill citizens will not be able to enjoy the maximum benefits derivable from digital services and the innovations resulting from the efforts of the digital economy.
He added that in carrying out its duties, the NCC has instituted processes to improve connectivity, protect infrastructure, and defend the interest of consumers and other stakeholders.
“While there have been challenges, the Commission has ensured that it consolidates on the successes recorded in the telecom industry, while striding steadily to achieve government plans as articulated in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, and particularly the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, the NCC Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, and the Strategic Vision Plan II (The Five Point Agenda) 2021-2025, to meet the targets outlined in the policies, plans, and strategies, measurable in terms of country-wide broadband access, connectivity, qualitative improvement in citizens’ life, quantifiable growth in businesses, and remarkable growth of the nation’s economy.
Muoka who moderated the panel session on the eight pillars of the digital economy stated that the NCC has been at the forefront of encouraging skills and innovation through the NODITS while giving all the perspectives from which the panelists spoke: Heading into our 11th year, #AFRICANXT continues to be the premiere gathering for Africa-focused innovators.
#AFRICANXT 2023 THEME Cooperate. Collaborate. Innovate. Unlocking Our Potential, Ensuring Africa’s Prosperity.
The #AFRICANXT founder, Ngozi Odita in her remarks said the ability to cooperate and collaborate across industries and borders, will determine the impact of the innovations put forward and their capacity to scale heights.
She explained further that: “Ultimately, it is our collective efforts in this moment that will unlock our fullest potential; undoubtedly ensuring our communities, companies, countries, and Africa as a whole prosper and do so sustainably.
“AfricaNXT exists to create space, both online and offline, to celebrate African ingenuity and empower the creatives, entrepreneurs, organizers, and all-around remarkable individuals moving Africa forward.
“We believe that creating spaces where we can gather, connect and collaborate is of the utmost importance and is precisely how we give rise to ideas, solutions and innovations that elevate our communities, industries and the continent as a whole,” she added.