The Nigerian telecoms regulator has asked stakeholders to address several bottlenecks, including multiple taxations, faced by telcos across the country.
To grow broadband infrastructure investments in the country, stakeholders should collaborate to remove investment barriers like multiple taxation and regulation, arbitrary right-of-way, including time-wasting and unfriendly approval process, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), says.
“These factors discourage investments in digital infrastructure and reduce the speed at which we provide our people with access to seamless digital service infrastructure for e-Governance and other services,” Danbatta, who was represented at the Nigeria e-Government Summit 2021 held recently in Lagos on the theme, “e-Government: Opportunities and Challenges” by Adeleke Adewolu, NCC’s Executive Commissioner of Stakeholder Management, says.
The regulatory chief reckons that a collaborative approach to addressing bottlenecks facing the telecoms industry will let the nation harness and deepen adoption of Internet-driven services, particularly e-government, across Nigeria.
NCC believes that government agencies and parastatals can leverage advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve service delivery to Nigerians, Danbatta tells attendees at the e-Government Summit organised by DigiServe Network Services Limited in partnership with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and NCC.
In line with this, the telecoms regulator recently unveiled its second Strategic Vision Plan (SVP)- 2021-2025, “which enables it to effectively align with efforts” of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030; the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, and other digital economy policies and global best practices, he says.
According to him, “leveraging on the successes we achieved under our previous SVP, we are repositioning both the Commission and the entire industry to facilitate the availability of solid infrastructure and to proliferate digital platforms that effectively and efficiently enable digital inclusion throughout Nigeria.”
Following the presidential approval of the Fifth Generation (5G) Policy, the NCC has developed a 5G Deployment Plan for Nigeria’s digital economy, he adds, explaining the next steps taken by the regulator to deliver on this mandate.
Danbatta says NCC has set up a Committee to auction the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) band for 5G deployment in Nigeria, which “the details will be announced in due course.”
The regulator is updating the National Frequency Allocation Table (NFAT) to achieve more efficient spectrum allocation and usage to reflect World radio communications Conference (WRC)-19 recommendations, he says underscoring that the update of the spectrum allocation table “is among several other initiatives being implemented by NCC to ensure efficient use of spectrum resource in the country.”
Also speaking at the event, Engineer Lanre Ajayi, Executive Chairman, DigiServe Network Services, says that with the advent of democracy, expectations of citizens from governments are higher because citizens rate their governments largely on how efficient and effective government services are delivered to them.
“Hence, e-Government, which is essentially about the deployment of technologies in government processes and service delivery to citizens, provides immense opportunities for governments to deliver services to citizens most effectively and efficiently,” Ajayi adds.