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FEATURE: How NCC can trigger digital revolution to ensure no one is left out 

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The fourth industrial revolution brings with it the potentials to connect billions of people to digital networks and dramatically improve the efficiency of organisations.
Putting this sucinthly, technology is what drives a modern day economy and only technologically driven economy that will end up dictating the pace of the global economy. The ongoing trade dispute between US and China quickly comes to mind.

For NIgeria to be part of the digital revolution, it is expected that all the players in the ICT eco-system must work together to ensure that no one single person in the country is left behind in the evolving digital future. This however demands a drastic and delibrate measures to cause an awakening in the subconsiouness of the generality of the people. Quoting the NCC EVC, Prof. Umar Danbatta “we must take drastic and deliberate measures by reawakening our consciousness to the power of technology in this 4th Industrial Revolution.

It must be stated here however, that the opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution can only be harnessed as a nation if  effective guiding frameworks are put in place to address the various aspects of the digital ecosystem and ensure their effective inter-working in the national interest. In this sense, it is generally believed that the country is not in want when it comes to the issue of  key Policy and Regulatory frameworks and instruments to drive an idea like this but the problem has been the issue of political will. again , Nigeria’s ability is not in doubt and this is why all players in the ICT ecosystem must come together and ensure that no one is left behind in the push for digital revolution in Nigeria.

All ready, the NCC has been equiped with the neccessary regulatrory policy and framework to play a leading role in powering the 4th Industrial Revolution.  The National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Policy (2020-2030) boasts of eight (8) pillars designed to, amongst others enable Nigeria become a leading player in the global digital economy and also provide a catalyst to facilitate the diversification of the economy; and accelerate the attainment of the key national objectives of improving security, reducing corruption and expanding the economy.

“Similarly, the Nigerian National Broadband Policy (2020-2024) clearly highlights the various implementation strategies that would aid the pervasive inclusion and rollout of broadband services across the country whilst also developing a robust and holistic digital economy.

 Moreso, the NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP 2020-2024 or “ASPIRE 2024”) consolidated on the vision, the NCC earlier articulated in the Strategic Vision Plan and 8-Point Agenda.

The policy goals listed above accordimg to NCC are response to harness the immense socio-economic benefits of ICT for national development; to ensure that ICT infrastructure are up to the standard necessary to provide ubiquitous broadband services in Nigeria; and to align the Commission’s regulatory efforts with the aforementioned Policy Instruments, as well as the growth strategies of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to ensure Growth, Inclusiveness, and Sustainability. We have recorded a number of significant achievements in this regard. These include: The licensing of six (6) infrastructure companies (InfraCos) speed up the deployment of broadband infrastructure throughout Nigeria; The provision of training and supporting public institutions with ICT interventions like School Knowledge Centers, ADAPTI etc; Enhancement of physical infrastructure: in the last five (5) years, the Commission has expanded broadband penetration from 6% to 42.06 as at February 2021; access gap clusters have been reduced from 207 to 114; Fibre Optic coverage has increased from 47,000km to 54,725 km and Base Transceiver Stations for 3G and 4G deployments have increased from 30,000 to 53,460; The creation of a full-fledged department Digital Economy has been created to support the Federal Government’s Digital Economy agenda. We also increased funding of Telecom Research to N336.4m and have endowed four (4) Professorial Chairs.

Besides, NCC recently announced that it has commenced requisite engagements on 5G deployments and some licensees have already carried out trials. This again is part of the efforts to ensure that the cuntry is not left behind in the digital revolution that is already going on in high speed.

“These strides will enable the telecommunication sector to provide the infrastructure backbone for powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Nigeria. We are firmly committed to ensure that Nigerians in Nigeria play a leading role in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Blockchain, Autonomous Vehicle, Drones and other innovative technologies which are now driving growth and national competitiveness,” Danbatta assured Nigerians.

“The question of regulation of disruptive technologies without stultifying innovation is one that we, like all other regulators globally, are carefully studying. For now, we have maintained a sharp focus on critical cross-cutting aspects like consumer protection, enhancement of competition, data protection and enhancement of trust in digital platforms through the prevention of cybercrimes and other abuses.”

Connecting the policy of the National Identification Number(NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) linkage to the digital revolution, Danbatta said the policy is critical to the  country’s digital emergence and its future growth.

“As we all know, the Federal Government has articulated a Policy that all Nigerians must possess a unique National Identification Number (NIN) issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC); and that the NIN must be linked with all identity databases, particularly the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration database. To achieve this, we had to take the difficult decision of suspending the actuation of all new SIMs and to mandate all citizens to link their SIMs to their NINs.

“I am pleased to note that we have achieved very significant success in the articulation of a template for the activation of new SIMs linked with authenticated NINs, and that the activation of new SIMs will now be carried out across the country in earnest.

“This development further underscores government’s commitment to ensure that all the prerequisites for our citizens full, effective and productive participation in the digital economy is guaranteed. I call on all Stakeholders to support these efforts in the overall national interest for a robust citizens’ database that supports socio-economic, health, education, national security and other public interest aspirations of the country.

“In essence, Nigeria can only maximize the potentials of the 4th Industrial Revolution if we; Articulate effective and forward-looking Policy Instruments to guide our emergence into the future digital landscape; Ensure the ubiquitous presence, the seamless operation and the cost-effective availability of communications infrastructure which will power the digital aspirations of all sectors of the Nigerian economy and ensure that national competitiveness is guaranteed; and Deploy effective regulatory instruments and harness the efforts of all critical Stakeholders so that we can derive the utmost benefits from the 4th Industrial revolution and not be reduced to digital laggards, spectators, or, merely a consumptive class” the EVC posited.

Stressing on effective Policy and Regulatory framework as a strategic aspect for harnessing the opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and in addressing the various features of a digital ecosystem, Danbatta at a virtual discourse series with theme: ‘Powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Nigeria’, said that the regulatory body has “responded to the policy goals highlighted above to harness the immense socio-economic benefits of ICT for national development; to ensure that ICT infrastructure are up to the standard necessary to provide ubiquitous broadband services in Nigeria; and to align the Commission’s regulatory efforts with the aforementioned Policy Instruments, as well as the growth strategies of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to ensure Growth, Inclusiveness, and Sustainability.

Prof. Danbatta, who was represented by Executive Commissioner, stakeholder Management, NCC, Barr. Adeleke Adewolu, emphasized how Nigeria can maximise the full potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution, saying “the need to articulate effective and forward looking instruments to guide emergence into the future digital landscape.

In ensuring the ubiquitous presence, the seamless operation and the cost-effective availability of communications infrastructure which will power the digital aspirations of all sectors of the Nigerian economy and ensure that national competitiveness is guaranteed;

“Deploy effective regulatory instruments and harness the efforts of all critical Stakeholders so that we can derive the utmost benefits from the 4th Industrial revolution and not be reduced to digital laggards, spectators, or, merely a consumptive class.”

How NCC can trigger digital reviolution to ensure no one is left out

The fourth industrial revolution brings with it the potentials to connect billions of people to digital networks and dramatically improve the efficiency of organisations. Putting this sucinthly, technology is what drives a modern day economy and only technologically driven economy that will end up dictating the pace of the global economy. The ongoing trade dispute between US and China quickly comes to mind.

For NIgeria to be part of the digital revolution, it is expected that all the players in the ICT eco-system must work together to ensure that no one single person in the country is left behind in the evolving digital future. This however demands a drastic and delibrate measures to cause an awakening in the subconsiouness of the generality of the people. Quoting the NCC EVC, Prof. Umar Danbatta “we must take drastic and deliberate measures by reawakening our consciousness to the power of technology in this 4th Industrial Revolution.

It must be stated here however, that the opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution can only be harnessed as a nation if  effective guiding frameworks are put in place to address the various aspects of the digital ecosystem and ensure their effective inter-working in the national interest. In this sense, it is generally believed that the country is not in want when it comes to the issue of  key Policy and Regulatory frameworks and instruments to drive an idea like this but the problem has been the issue of political will. again , Nigeria’s ability is not in doubt and this is why all players in the ICT ecosystem must come together and ensure that no one is left behind in the push for digital revolution in Nigeria.

All ready, the NCC has been equiped with the neccessary regulatrory policy and framework to play a leading role in powering the 4th Industrial Revolution.  The National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Policy (2020-2030) boasts of eight (8) pillars designed to, amongst others enable Nigeria become a leading player in the global digital economy and also provide a catalyst to facilitate the diversification of the economy; and accelerate the attainment of the key national objectives of improving security, reducing corruption and expanding the economy.

“Similarly, the Nigerian National Broadband Policy (2020-2024) clearly highlights the various implementation strategies that would aid the pervasive inclusion and rollout of broadband services across the country whilst also developing a robust and holistic digital economy.

 Moreso, the NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP 2020-2024 or “ASPIRE 2024”) consolidated on the vision, the NCC earlier articulated in the Strategic Vision Plan and 8-Point Agenda.

The policy goals listed above accordimg to NCC are response to harness the immense socio-economic benefits of ICT for national development; to ensure that ICT infrastructure are up to the standard necessary to provide ubiquitous broadband services in Nigeria; and to align the Commission’s regulatory efforts with the aforementioned Policy Instruments, as well as the growth strategies of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to ensure Growth, Inclusiveness, and Sustainability. We have recorded a number of significant achievements in this regard. These include: The licensing of six (6) infrastructure companies (InfraCos) speed up the deployment of broadband infrastructure throughout Nigeria; The provision of training and supporting public institutions with ICT interventions like School Knowledge Centers, ADAPTI etc; Enhancement of physical infrastructure: in the last five (5) years, the Commission has expanded broadband penetration from 6% to 42.06 as at February 2021; access gap clusters have been reduced from 207 to 114; Fibre Optic coverage has increased from 47,000km to 54,725 km and Base Transceiver Stations for 3G and 4G deployments have increased from 30,000 to 53,460; The creation of a full-fledged department Digital Economy has been created to support the Federal Government’s Digital Economy agenda. We also increased funding of Telecom Research to N336.4m and have endowed four (4) Professorial Chairs.

Besides, NCC recently announced that it has commenced requisite engagements on 5G deployments and some licensees have already carried out trials. This again is part of the efforts to ensure that the cuntry is not left behind in the digital revolution that is already going on in high speed.

“These strides will enable the telecommunication sector to provide the infrastructure backbone for powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Nigeria. We are firmly committed to ensure that Nigerians in Nigeria play a leading role in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Blockchain, Autonomous Vehicle, Drones and other innovative technologies which are now driving growth and national competitiveness,” Danbatta assured Nigerians.

“The question of regulation of disruptive technologies without stultifying innovation is one that we, like all other regulators globally, are carefully studying. For now, we have maintained a sharp focus on critical cross-cutting aspects like consumer protection, enhancement of competition, data protection and enhancement of trust in digital platforms through the prevention of cybercrimes and other abuses.”

Connecting the policy of the National Identification Number(NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) linkage to the digital revolution, Danbatta said the policy is critical to the  country’s digital emergence and its future growth.

“As we all know, the Federal Government has articulated a Policy that all Nigerians must possess a unique National Identification Number (NIN) issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC); and that the NIN must be linked with all identity databases, particularly the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration database. To achieve this, we had to take the difficult decision of suspending the actuation of all new SIMs and to mandate all citizens to link their SIMs to their NINs.

“I am pleased to note that we have achieved very significant success in the articulation of a template for the activation of new SIMs linked with authenticated NINs, and that the activation of new SIMs will now be carried out across the country in earnest.

“This development further underscores government’s commitment to ensure that all the prerequisites for our citizens full, effective and productive participation in the digital economy is guaranteed. I call on all Stakeholders to support these efforts in the overall national interest for a robust citizens’ database that supports socio-economic, health, education, national security and other public interest aspirations of the country.

“In essence, Nigeria can only maximize the potentials of the 4th Industrial Revolution if we; Articulate effective and forward-looking Policy Instruments to guide our emergence into the future digital landscape; Ensure the ubiquitous presence, the seamless operation and the cost-effective availability of communications infrastructure which will power the digital aspirations of all sectors of the Nigerian economy and ensure that national competitiveness is guaranteed; and Deploy effective regulatory instruments and harness the efforts of all critical Stakeholders so that we can derive the utmost benefits from the 4th Industrial revolution and not be reduced to digital laggards, spectators, or, merely a consumptive class” the EVC posited.

Stressing on effective Policy and Regulatory framework as a strategic aspect for harnessing the opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and in addressing the various features of a digital ecosystem, Danbatta at a virtual discourse series with theme: ‘Powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Nigeria’, said that the regulatory body has “responded to the policy goals highlighted above to harness the immense socio-economic benefits of ICT for national development; to ensure that ICT infrastructure are up to the standard necessary to provide ubiquitous broadband services in Nigeria; and to align the Commission’s regulatory efforts with the aforementioned Policy Instruments, as well as the growth strategies of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to ensure Growth, Inclusiveness, and Sustainability.

Prof. Danbatta, who was represented by Executive Commissioner, stakeholder Management, NCC, Barr. Adeleke Adewolu, emphasized how Nigeria can maximise the full potential of the 4th Industrial Revolution, saying “the need to articulate effective and forward looking instruments to guide emergence into the future digital landscape.

In ensuring the ubiquitous presence, the seamless operation and the cost-effective availability of communications infrastructure which will power the digital aspirations of all sectors of the Nigerian economy and ensure that national competitiveness is guaranteed;

“Deploy effective regulatory instruments and harness the efforts of all critical Stakeholders so that we can derive the utmost benefits from the 4th Industrial revolution and not be reduced to digital laggards, spectators, or, merely a consumptive class.”

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