NCC boss, Danbatta, credits telecoms sector for lifting Nigeria out of recession

Prof Danbatta

By Williams Ago

Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has described the performance of the telecoms sector as being instrumental in lifting Nigeria out of economic recession in 2020.

According to Prof. Danbatta, the Nigerian telecoms sector is amongst the biggest contributors to socioeconomic growth of the country as evidenced by the numerous achievements of the sector.

As a result of this growth, "It is not out of place to mention that the sector’s performance was instrumental to lifting Nigeria out of recession with 12.45% contribution to the GDP in the fourth quarter of 2020. This figure increased to 14.13% as at the first quarter of 2023". Danbatta said.

He stated this at the second edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content EXPO (NTICE 2023), with the theme, “Harnessing Indigenous Content for Economic Growth; Networking to boost Investment", held at Landmark Centre Lagos on 22nd and 23rd August, 2023.

He said, the Sector is also home to two (2) of the most valuable listed companies in Nigeria with a collective market capitalization in excess of N10.45 trillion. 

He recalled also that the NCC in 2021 and 2022, generated revenue in excess of USD$820m from the auction and grant of 3.5GHz Spectrum band licences to three operators to boost the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) services in Nigeria. This placed Nigeria on the global 5G map ahead of many countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. 

He said the Commission is fully committed to the drive of the Federal Government to place the Nigerian Economy on a sustainable pedestal through all the necessary policies put in place. 

According to him, "When we created the Nigeria Office for Development of Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) as a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Commission to drive the National Policy for Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector in July 2021, the Office was given four areas of focus: Manufacturing, Human Capacity, Research & Development (R&D) and Software & Services development for the telecoms sector.

"The Commission is equally committed to continuously supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Innovators to promote our talented young persons and ventures though Angel Investments, R&D support, exposure to Investors and sponsorship to local and international tech events", he said.

Speaking on the EXPO 2023, Prof. Danbatta said NTICE is not only an exhibition but it is also a gathering of industry players that embodies the spirit of innovation, resilience, collaboration, and progress. 

"It presents a remarkable opportunity to celebrate and showcase Nigeria's achievements in the world of telecommunications, technology, as well as indigenous content creation and adoption. 

"As we delve into the heart of NTICE 2023 via the Expo, Pitch and Panel sessions, we are called upon to recognize the transformative power of domestic innovation and the pivotal role it plays in shaping digital future of nations, their economies and their futures". He stated.

In his opening address, Engineer Babagana Digima, Team Lead, NODITS, NCC, said Expo 2023 was convened to celebrate the rich tapestry of ideas, talents and innovations that defines Nigeria's Telecom Industry.

"This event stands as a testament to our commitment to fostering homegrown solution that not only drive economic prosperity but also propel us towards a future brimming with endless possibilities.

"In an era where connectivity is the backbone of progress, where the digital realm intertwines with every facet of our lives, our nation's telecom's industry stands as a beacon of advancement. It not just about communication but about empowerment, education, health care, commerce and beyond". He said.

In a paper titled, "bridging skills gap to accelerate the indegenuous telecoms sector development; by Omobayo Azeez, convener, Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo), told the participants about the emerging technologies such as 5G and fibre connectivity, onboarding more users and making the internet speedier than ever, the human resources with the right skills set required to drive the digital evolution process, skill gaps among others.

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