Digital Inclusion: Danbatta reveals Regulatory Model for Nigeria




Whatsapp News

As Guinea Bissau visits NCC on benchmarking tour

By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Executive Vice /CEO of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba has revealed some of regulatory models, approaches and best practices being implemented by Commission in promoting a stable telecoms sector and accelerating digital inclusion in Nigeria.

shared these experiences while receiving a delegation from Autoridade Reguladora Nacional (ARN), Telecom National Regulatory Authority of Guinea-Bissau who were on a on a week-long benchmarking visit to Commission in Abuja on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. 

L-R: Mr. Ibrahim Galadima, Head, International Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Mr. Teofilo Lopes, Head of Delegation from Guinea-Bissau; Prof. Umar Garba , Executive Vice /Chief Executive Officer, NCC;  Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC during a benchmarking courtesy visit  to the Commission in Abuja recently.

The delegation was in the Commission to gain insights into NCC’s regulatory template as part of the exchange to build stronger bilateral relations with the Commission in the area of telecommunications regulation.

According to Danbatta, who is also the of the West African Telecommunication Regulatory Assembly (WATRA), the Nigerian Communications Commission has been recognised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as Africa’s foremost regulatory and has over the years received regulators from across Africa and beyond whose mission is to understudy the Commission.

He recalled the strong support to Nigeria by Guinea Bissau during the recently concluded for the of Executive Secretary of WATRA and the Chairmanship of the regional body, noting that the benchmarking visit underscores the cordial relationship, mutual cooperation and between both countries.

“The 16 members of the regional organization share a common vision in ensuring that the citizens are not digitally excluded and are cooperating to ensure that access to information and communication services are not only ubiquitous, but that they are available and affordable through effective national and regional policies”, Danbatta said.

 The EVC pointed out that the NCC has through the implementation of various policy initiatives, particularly the National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) improved access to broadband for over 80 million Nigerians and targets the provision of Point of Broadband Access (PoA) in all the 774 local government areas (LGAs) of the country within the plan period. Danbatta stated that challenges remain in the process, but observed that NCC is committed to addressing such challenges as Right of Way (RoW) issue, multiple taxation, vandalism of telecom infrastructure, among , confronting the licensees as they roll out services.

To further drive digital inclusion, Danbatta said the Commission carried out a to determine areas where there are access gaps in the country. “We identified 217 *clusters of access gaps* and today, we have ensured more Nigerians are digitally-included by reducing the number of access gaps to 114 currently, while more measures are being taken to further reduce the access gaps, thereby deepening digital inclusion.

Through NCC’s various regulatory efforts, Danbatta said “Nigeria’s telecoms sector had reached an all-time-high, basic internet subscription of 154 million; over 87 million broadband subscriptions, representing 45.93 per cent broadband penetration; over 207 million voice subscriptions with teledensity standing at 108.94 per cent as at October, 2020.”

Meanwhile, Danbatta, as WATRA Chairman, has assured of ongoing for the Executive Secretary of WATRA, Aliu Aboki, to visit the 16 member countries of the Assembly for the purposes of interacting and engaging with the member countries in order to build a common front to galvanise the development of the telecommunications ecosystem in the West African sub-region.

“So, we hope this level of at the level of WATRA, will be strengthened, so that together, we can act in a manner that other parts of Africa can be able to copy from . It is an excellent regulatory model that we are working together and I solicit your support and that of other member countries in making the visit of the 16 member countries by the Executive Secretary a huge success,” Danbatta the delegation.

While expressing the desire to reciprocate the visit, the EVC particularly appreciated the Guinea Bissau’s delegation for the visit and expressed the hope that their expectations for the benchmarking programme have been met as they take away some key ideas and integrate same into the regulation of their country’s communications industry.