Danbatta Applauds Media For Aiding Telecom Awareness

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Prof. Umar Danbatta
The executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta.

The executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has credited the media with helping citizens understand the potential of telecommunications products and services, as part of the commission’s regulatory process.

Danbatta, the keynote speaker at the dinner hosted by the board of trustees of the Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA) to flag off the 30th anniversary of NMMA as Africa’s foremost media excellence recognition institution at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel on Tuesday, said this is why the telecom regulator holds the media in high esteem.

At the event where the NCC’s director, public affairs, Mr. Reuben Muoka presented the keynote on behalf of Danbatta, the helmsman sought greater collaboration with the media and described it as central to social progress, given its role as a critical partner the NCC requires to succeed in consolidating the gains of telecommunication.

Lecturing on the topic “The NCC New Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP) 2021-2025: A Transformation Agenda” and points the industry’s trajectory in the next five years, Danbatta recalled the evolution of telecoms in Nigeria. He made reference to the nation’s showing of a paltry 18,724 telephone lines at independence in 1960 to serve a population of 40 million people, translating to a tele-density of 0.5, to the present time (as at July 2022) when “active telecoms subscribers have grown significantly, hitting 209 million from about 400,000 aggregate telephone lines in the country on the eve of concrete deregulation in the year 2000.

“This represents a tele-density of 109.47 per cent. Besides, basic Internet subscriptions have also grown from zero in the pre-liberalisation era to over 152 million. It is also gratifying that the broadband subscriptions now stand at 85 million, representing a 44.49 per cent penetration.

“The information and communication technology (ICT) sector contributed 18.44 per cent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2022. From this figure, the telecommunications sector alone contributed 15 per cent,” Danbatta said to place on record the unprecedented contribution of the telecom and ICT industry to GDP.

The NCC boss spoke extensively on the policy initiatives of the Federal Government and the continued support of the government as crucial to the accomplishment of the feat in the sector. Indicating that the board, management and staff of the commission will not rest on their oars and will continue to re-engineer and promote innovations to help the nation harness the benefits existent in the sector.

Danbatta said the objective of the Strategic Vision [Implementation] Plan (SVP) 2021-2025 is to consolidate the accomplishments of the commission under the SVP 2015-2020, otherwise called ‘The Eight-Point Agenda’, the forerunner of the SVP 2021-2025, to take the commission to greater heights, where it will make even more superlative contributions to the national economy.

Dubbed ‘SVP II’, the new vision plan 2021-2025 is designed as a transformation agenda for Nigeria’s digital ecosystem. The EVC said the new SVP’s focal objectives are to ensure organisational renewal for operational efficiency and regulatory excellence; Facilitate the provision of infrastructure for a digital economy which fosters national development; Promotion of fair competition, inclusive growth, increased investment and innovative services; Improve quality of service (QoS) for enhanced consumer quality of experience (QoE) and facilitate strategic collaboration and partnership. 

Danbatta said the significance of telecom as an enabler of other sectors’ growth and its centrality to achieving a better quality of life for the citizens underscored the need for a renewed partnership and collaboration with all media of communication. “For the media, it means the process of news gathering, processing and dissemination will be accomplished faster, thus enabling the media to inform and educate the citizens on happenings around them in a timely manner, accurately and adequately towards achieving greater socio-economic development in our country,” the EVC stated.

The event was attended by many media stakeholders, including the chairman, editorial board, The Guardian Mr. Martins Oloja; representative of the government of Lagos State and the permanent secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Information, Olumide Shogunle; HRH, Makaman Ringim and former director-general of the NTA, Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim, who received a special recognition award; Veteran journalist and thespian, Dame Taiwo Ajai-Lycett; Sub-Saharan Africa’s first professor of mass communication, Prof. Stella Okunna; Alhaji Garba Kankarofi, Chief Administrator of NMMA, Chief Yemi Akeju; Senator Akin Odunsi, Sir Steve Omojafor, Mr. Balarabe Ilelah; the director-general, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Dele Adetiba, among many others.

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