Nigeria: Govt Urges Parastatals to Promote Digital Economy Initiative

10 August 2020

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has urged all federal government parastatals under the supervision of his ministry, to promote the country's digital economy initiative.

Pantami, who presented the keynote address during a virtual forum organised recently by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said the COVID-19 pandemic, which took the world by storm, has brought about a new normal, where demand for critical data infrastructure and broadband are now in higher demand to enable people keep abreast with digital developments and to enable local and international investors keep track of their investments.

Pantami said government would continue to protect the interests of all Nigerians and investors alike during and after COVID-19, and charged all parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, to ensure they uphold and promote government's digital economy initiative that is designed to cushion the effect of the pandemic.

According to Pantami, "Federal government will continue to develop its digital economy policy for a digital Nigeria. Both the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) that are under the supervision of my ministry, now have special departments that promotes digital economy initiative and I urge them and all other parastatals under my supervision, to ensure that they promote the digital economy initiative of the federal government in order to maintain investor's confidence and to protect the interest of Nigerians, especially telecoms consumers.

"Government on its part will ensure that the interests of telecoms companies and the interest of Nigerians are protected. Government is currently addressing the challenges in the cost of investments such as the issue of vandalisation of telecoms infrastructure, and President Muhammadu Buhari has officially directed all security institutes, through the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), to protect telecoms investments in the country."

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, in his presentation, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly and sharply ravaged the globe, Nigeria is no exception. Governments therefore, faced unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 pandemic. The impact affects most sectors of the global economy, ranging from health, to education, to finance, to trade and investment."

Explaining the Commission's efforts at resolving consumer related issues, he noted that when the Commission introduced the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) code in 2015, less than 500,000 people activated the code, but there are now 22,722,366 lines on the DND.

Danbatta further stated that 98 per cent of the total service-related complaints received from telecoms consumers within a 15-month period, spanning January 2019 to April 2020, have been successfully resolved by the Commission.

On quality of service, Danbatta said "the Commission has monthly engagements with operators as well as quarterly industry working group on Quality of Service and Short Codes, and is currently monitoring 2G Key Performance Indicators, while the KPIs for 4G are being prepared."

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