Determined to implement programmes and policies aimed at fully supporting and promoting the national digital economy agenda of the Federal Government, Nigeria’s telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has created a Digital Economy Department.
The creation of the Digital Economy Department in the NCC is in continuation of the Commission’s renewed strategy and vigour for effective delivery of its regulatory mandate.
NCC’s Director, Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, disclosed in a statement made available to DigitalTimesNG Tuesday evening, that the Governing Board of the Commission approved the creation of the new department at its last meeting, adding that the department is strategically and structurally placed under the Office of the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC.
The statement quoted the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, as saying that the creation of the new department is in line with the Commission’s strategy to create a dedicated team, with the sole responsibility of giving the necessary push to the promotion of digital economy vision of the Federal Government being driven by the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
“Placing the newly-created department under the Office of the EVC also underscores the importance the Commission places on the need to successfully drive the overall national digital economy strategy of the government through ensuring its effective monitoring and supervision,” Danbatta said.
He explained that in addition to working with the eight pillars of the National Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) document, the Broadband Implementation Unit in the Commission, hitherto placed under the Special Duties Department and all the staff of the Unit, are to move to the newly-created Digital Economy Department.
Following the creation of the new department, Engr. Babagana Digima, an Assistant Director in the Special Duties Department has been moved and designated as the pioneer Head.
DigitalTimesNG recalls that the National Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), as a national policy document, was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2019, to add the needed impetus to the actualisation of the Federal Government’s Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The digital economy policy document has eight pillars, which include Developmental Regulation, focusing on effective regulation of the ICT and digital sector in a way that enables development; and secondly, Digital Literacy and Skills, which speaks to the provision of policy backing for massive training of Nigerians from all works of life in order to enable them to obtain digital literacy and other digital skills will also facilitate the training of Nigerians.
The third pillar is Solid Infrastructure, which has to do with the deployment of fixed and mobile infrastructure to deepen the broadband penetration in the country; while Service Infrastructure is aimed at supporting Government Digital Services and the provision of robust digital platforms to drive the digital economy.
The Soft Infrastructure element focuses on strengthening public confidence in the use of digital technologies and participation in the digital economy.
The sixth pillar which is Digital Services Development and Promotion addresses the development of a vibrant digital ecosystem that supports Innovation-driven Enterprises (IDE) and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in a way that engenders innovation.
The seventh pillar which is Digital Society and Emerging Technologies focus on tying the development of the digital economy to indices of well-being in the lives of the ordinary citizens; mentoring startups on emerging technologies and deploying their solutions.
NDEPS eight pillar is Indigenous Content Development and Adoption, which pivots on the provision of a policy framework that gives preference to digitally-skilled Nigerians for government-funded projects in line with the Executive Orders 003 and 005 of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NCC is poised to play a significant role in the overall implementation of the digital economy policy and strategy, hence the need for the Commission to create the new department which focuses on working with eight pillars on NDEPS as well as overseeing the Implementation of National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020-2025.
Danbatta, while restating the Commission’s commitment to driving the digital economy policy of the government through effective regulation of the telecoms industry, affirmed that, apart from infusing new dynamism into the existing digital economy function, the creation of the new department amplifies the Commission’s ‘Regulatory Excellence’, which is one of the five pillars of its Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024.