We are Adopting Multi-Stakeholders Approach in Implementing National Recovery Plan Post Pandemic – NCC Boss

“In other to achieve rapid connectivity we must engage with stakeholders to facilitate infrastructure deployment in the communication sector”. This was the position of the Executive Vice Chairman /Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) Prof Umar Garba Danbatta. The NCC chief executive made this submission during the 2020 National Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) Virtual Innovative Tech Webinar held on the 14th of October,2020 were he presented the keynote address on the topic: “Multi Stakeholder Approach to National Recovery Post-Pandemic”.

Prof Danbatta while presenting his keynote address revealed that the Coronavirus pandemic has had widespread impact across different countries in varying degrees, exposing the frailties of even the most advanced nations.

“I must emphasize that Africa, and Nigeria in particular, is really lucky to have escaped the devastation and loss of human lives that have been recorded in developed countries like China, Spain, UK, Italy and even the United States as a result of the pandemic”.

He said however, to this end, the Nigerian Communication Commission(NCC) has intensified its engagement, collectively with stakeholders such as the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and individually with state governors to push the National Economic Council’s resolutions on multiple taxation, multiple regulations and minimum uniform Right of Way (RoW) charges, as well as address other issues impeding telecoms infrastructure deployment in some states.

The NCC boss stated Furthermore, that the commission is working with the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council (critical Infrastructure Sub-Committee) under the auspices of the Vice President on various initiatives towards identifying and implementing initiatives aimed at improving broadband penetration in the country.He opined that “As important as all these are, the safety of our cyberspace remains critical as businesses, governments and individuals rely more intensely on ICT for their day-to-day activities following the pandemic”. He argued that the “re-direction of human traffic to online portals for major transactions as a result of social distancing also meant that cybercriminals have a larger audience and a much bigger playground to unleash malicious attacks”.

The NCC CEO during the Webinar further stated “In the post-pandemic era, cyber threats are likely to become the most effective way to attack an organization or a country, and the trends indicate that cyber criminals are finding even more sophisticated ways of carrying out their nefarious activities”.He said , It is instructive to note that NCC adheres strictly with ITU guidelines for the global telecoms industry and has been actively in support of initiatives to propagate a safe online community.

He said to this end,The NCC, CBN, major financial institutions and Security Agencies have been working diligently at ensuring that Nigeria’s ICT space is safe and secure, particularly as the economy migrates to significant online and electronic financial transactions.

He reiterated that,The NCC is responding to the challenge of new financial technologies and electronic innovations in the financial systems riding on telecommunications networks as the nation’s economy seeks to reboot post pandemic. These innovations he emphasised are driven by the availability of a robust communications infrastructure made possible by the Commission’s continuous quest for investment in the sector.

He further stated that, “In this regard, collaborative partnership between the NCC and the CBN has been very effective, leading to the emergence of various brands of electronic transaction models which have totally reformed banking in Nigeria making it possible for instant cash transfers which have cut out waiting times at banking halls and simplified online transactions.”.

Prof Danbatta posited that Between 2015 and 2020, much has been done to put Nigeria on the global map of nations that are electronically driven while delivering financial intermediation. Together with our stakeholders from the banking sector.He stated that the NCC is actively involved in the application of various electronic portals that continue to drive transactions off banking floor and onto handheld devices or personal computers.It is pertinent to note that NCCs Emergency Communications Centers (ECC) have been crucial in the Federal Government’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 1,209 COVID-19 related calls made between March and June 2020 from the 19 ECCs across the country. This pro-active step by the Commission to introduce ECCs across the nation was borne out of the need to safeguard all Nigerians irrespective of their geographical locations.

“We hope to reap the rewards of the SVP in the coming years and provide Nigerians the comfort of new innovations and new ways of living. It is a future in which Broadband penetration would be ubiquitous, QoS will be assured and available spectrum would be optimized with full benefits. Moreover, there would be more investment opportunities in the industry, greater strategic collaborations and partnerships, enhanced consumer protection and empowerment, as well as an environment of fair competition and inclusive growth.”, he further posited.

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