By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), says it has remitted N362.34 billion into the Federal Government Consolidate Revenue Fund from 2015 to date.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta disclosed this at a function in Abuja.
According to him, the revenue was realised through spectrum fees and operating surplus, which he said helped to boost the revenue generation drive of President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration.
The NCC boss further stated that the commission has always supported the development of the innovative services and life-changing solutions with the use of information and communications technologies to promote indigenous content through collaboration with the academics.
His words: “The Commission has so far released N336.4 million as research grants to the academia and has endowed professional chairs in two Nigerian universities.
“More importantly, we have empowered the Nigerian youth by promoting their ingenuity and innovation in the development of locally-relevant technology solutions.
“The latest of such was the 2020 NCC Virtual Hackathon, where we gave N9 million in grant to three top promising tech startups for solutions, aimed at addressing the impact of COVID-19 and diseases in thematic areas of health, community, productivity, economy and transportation.’’
Danbatta said that the broadband penetration in 2015, when he first assumed office as Executive Vice Chairman, was six per cent but is now 42 per cent as at July, 2020.
”This achievement is as a result of key policy initiatives to improve broadband penetration embarked upon by the Commission. These include increasing the number of licenced infrastructure companies (InfraCo), to six across the geo-political zones,’’ he said.
He, however, informed that the Commission was currently finalising six InfraCo counterpart funding agreements to ensure the full rollout of broadband infrastructure on an Open Access Model.
This, he said is expected to ensure there was Point of Access in all the 774 local government areas in the country.
”The drive to boost broadband penetration yielded fruit as the subscribers’ base stood at 199.31 million as at June.”
On teledensity, he said it rose to 104.41million, while the sector contributed 14.2 per cent to the GDP in the second quarter of 2020.
Speaking on his plan for the next five years, the EVC said,” I hoped to deepen the broadband penetration drive. We hope to take the broadband penetration to 70 per cent to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025 in line with new target in the National Broadband Plan (NBBP), 2020-2025.
“We want to continue to protect consumers and ensure they have value for their money. We want to continue to support and fast-track the digital economy drive of the Federal Government and this has led to the creation of a Digital Economy Department in the Commission.’’