By Dipo Olowookere
Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has said NCC was poised to facilitate the laying of 120,000 kilometres optic fibre infrastructure by 2023.
He noted that when this is done there will be an exponential increase in the contribution of telecom to GDP which presently stands at 9.5 percent.
Mr Danbatta stated that data usage has quadrupled from 20 terabytes in 2015 to 85 terabytes which indicates that NCC has facilitated the expansion of the frontiers of access to ICT.
He also noted that the leadership and support of the Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, for NCC in managing the imposition of fine on MTN in 2015 and the reasoned implications for the future of telecoms in Nigeria, set the tone for the recent listing of the Mobile Network Operator on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Speaking at the valedictory press conference organised in honour of the Minister at the Nigeria Air Force Centre, Abuja, Mr Danbatta and his colleagues – Dr. Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Director General NITDA; Bisi Ade, Postmaster General of the Federation; Abimbola Alale, Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT; and Yusuf Kazaure, CEO of Galaxy Backbone – spoke glowingly about Mr Shittu, unanimously describing him as an unusually accessible, unassuming and patriotic public servant whose commitment to the transformation of the communication sector was instrumental to the successes recorded in the sector in the last four years.
While Mr Pantami referenced the unprecedented contribution of ICT and OEMs to underscore his claims about the Minister’s tenacity of purpose, Mr Ade revealed how NIPOST has facilitated FG’s promotion of economic growth through credit schemes and the bringing of banking services to the unbanked and underbanked people of Nigeria.
He noted that what happened to NIPOST under Mr Shittu’s superintendence as Minister was beyond mails but quantifiable integration, innovation and inclusion.
Mr Kazaure spoke enthusiastically about how Shittu’s support and appreciation of the e-governance masterplan has laid spectacular infrastructure for digitally oriented governance; and Ms Alale also stated that it was Mr Shittu’s support that got NIGCOMSAT the right partnership through which it accessed funding to address the infrastructure deficit in the satellite communication sphere. She revealed that two additional satellites will be ready within the next two years.
During the media briefing, Mr Shittu revealed that telephony subscription rose from 151 million in 2015 to 178 million. He also illustrated with irrefutable evidence and impeccable graphics how teledensity rose by 14 percent in the last four years.
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