The Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC) has said that it has made efforts to ensure the availability, affordability and accessibility of internet and broadband connections across Nigeria.
The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta said this while speaking at the maiden edition of Finance and Business Online Publishers Association(FIBOP) in Lagos, with the theme, “Harnessing Fintech Growth for Economic Development.”
Danbatta, said the commission’s Act 2003 saddled it with the responsibility of regulating the Telecommunications Sector, which is significant player for the achieving of the financial technology (FinTech).
He said the backbone of FinTech and emerging technologies is hyper connectivity, which means growing interconnectedness of people, organisations, and machines that results from the internet, mobile technology and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Digital Economy Department, Engr. A.K. Nwaulune, Danbatta noted that due to the enormous capabilities of information technology, the financial sector has latched on it to provide innovative digital financial services.
He said that for Nigeria to achieve qualitative and quantitative digital accessibility and availability, there must be a robust and pervasive broadband and telecommunications services in both developed and underdeveloped parts of Nigeria, “noting that to support the actualisation of Financial Technology in Nias a panacea for economic growth and social development, the Commission has and continued to intervene in various areas.
He listed the areas to include:
the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 was developed in accordance with the mandate of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to transform every aspect of modern life in Nigeria, for Nigeria to be a Global leader in the Digital Economy, as well as facilitating the diversification of the Economy and achievement of key national objectives.
He explained that the implementation of the Strategies enshrined within the 8 Pillars of the NDEPS, will invariably lead to the actualization of a digital economy in Nigeria and that this actualisation results in the growth of Fintech, the growth of an E-Nigeria in both government and the private sector, growth of Nigeria’s GDP, amongst other indices.
He pointed out that the Commission along with all other responsible parties in the NDEPS are working assiduously towards actualising the goals of the 8 Pillars of the NDEPS.
The Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) (2020-2025), he said has the overarching goal of providing ubiquitous and affordable broadband connectivity to every locality in Nigeria and that its main goals are to deliver 120,000km of fiber, 70 per cent penetration, data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum of 25mbps in urban areas, and 10mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (i.e. 2 per cent of median income or 1 per cent of minimum wage) by end of 2025.
Currently, he said Nigeria has achieved about 50 per cent broadband penetration and the Commission is working assiduously to achieve our goals of 70 per cent penetration by year 2025.
He informed that the award of the 5G Licence on the 3.5GHz band provides a unique opportunity for the rapid spread and deployment of spectrum based broadband across Nigeria, stressing that the award was granted to both Messrs, MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications.
He said that the issuance of the final letters of awards of 5G spectrum with one of the licensees commencing roll out of 5G services on August 24, 2022, will enhance the transmission of massive data across platforms (Trade/Commerce, Gaming, Research, Entertainments, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Sports, Financial inclusion etc.).
This, Nwaulune said will ensure the availability of adequate broadband connectivity across Nigeria, maximizing further the terabytes of international data having landed on the shores of Nigeria, thanks to the efforts of Glo 1, Main One, WACS, amongst others.
He also mentioned the collaboration with Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) as one of the areas.
The Commission, he said will continue to collaborate with the CBN to ensure safe, secure, reliable and resilient networks for the actualisation of financial inclusion in Nigeria in line with the National Financial Inclusion Strategy Revised (2018).
These, he said include collaborative meetings on USSD codes, on security of the networks, pricing, and NCC’s active participation in the CBN-led National Financial Inclusion Technical Committee and Working Groups.
Nwaulune, said that NCC will also continue to collaborate with other financial technology bodies such as the International Telecommunications Union on the safety and security of the Digital Financial Networks; with the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers (RPA) and the Fintech Association of Nigeria (FintechNGR), amongst others, in support and partnership for the growth of Financial Technology in Nigeria.