Nigeria’s Regulatory Frameworks Felicitous To Drive 4th Industrial Revolution- Danbatta 

Yemisi Izuora

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has so for prepared Nigeria to play a leading role in powering the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The Commission has significantly put in place policies and regulatory measures that are germane to launch the country into the new phase of the communication space.

According to the Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, Nigeria can only harness the opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution as a nation if we put in place effective guiding frameworks, to address the various aspects of the digital ecosystem and ensure their effective interworking in the national interest.

Speaking at the Virtual 3rd Discourse series of the Advocate Law Practice, Danbatta

said the country should rise up to take drastic and deliberate measures by reawakening her consciousness to the power of technology in this 4th Industrial Revolution, where technologically advanced nations are the ones dictating the pace of the global economy.

He informed the summit that the ongoing trade war between China and the United States is a testament to this reality. “As African nations, we must strive to reposition our various economies for digital prosperity and abundance to drive efficiency, productivity and create jobs for the tsunami of our youth population to deploy their creative energy for African economic development.”, he said.

The EVC, who spoke on the theme, Powering The Fourth Industrial Revolution In Nigeria” through the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu

this event, EVC was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Barr. Adeleke Adewolu, said that Nigeria is very ready to play a major role in that direction.

He note that Nigeria is not lacking in key Policy and Regulatory frameworks and instruments which will enable her to play a leading role in powering the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Supporting his position, Danbatta cited the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Policy (2020-2030) which boasts of eight pillars.

The policy was specifically designed to enable Nigeria become a leading player in the global digital economy, 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.

Also, 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.

It is instructive to note NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP 2020-2024 or “ASPIRE 2024”) consolidated on the vision which it earlier articulated in the Strategic Vision Plan and 8-Point Agenda.

According to him, “We have 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.”

The Commission, has also recorded a number of significant achievements in this regard, which include, licensing of six (6) infrastructure companies (InfraCos) speed up the deployment of broadband infrastructure throughout Nigeria, provision of training and supporting public institutions with ICT interventions like School Knowledge Centers, ADAPTI etc and enhancing 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 others include creation of a full-fledged department Digital Economy has been created to support Federal Government’s Digital Economy agenda.  We also increased funding of Telecom Research to N336.4m and have endowed four (4) Professorial Chairs, commencement of requisite engagements on 5G deployments and some of our licensees have already carried out trials.

These strides will enable the telecommunications sector 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.

·The question of regulation of disruptive technologies without stultifying innovation is one that the Commission like all other regulators globally, are carefully studying.

For now, NCC has 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, he said.

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