Nigeria’s grass root communities and the underserved population of the country will not be left out of the national broadband plan when the implementation comes to fruition.
Speaking in Lagos at a session which discussed the critical issue of financial inclusion expected to be facilitated by a robust infrastructure deployment for broadband availability, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the Commission is mindful of the infrastructure gaps in the country and therefore, committed to driving national digital economy to the grassroots.
“As a Commission, we have a mandate to ensure availability of universal access to telecom services irrespective of circumstances and location of Nigerians and other users in Nigeria,” said Bruce-Bennet, who also informed the audience that voice communications enjoys over 100 per cent penetration.
The EVC of NCC who spoke through Freda Bruce-Bennet of the Digital Economy Department, reiterated the Commission’s focus in supporting the quest for financial inclusion through provision of robust infrastructure such as broadband.
At the event hosted by Oriental News Nigeria, an online news organisation, at the Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, which focused on: “Engaging with Critical Grassroots Groups to Develop Effective Financial Inclusion Initiatives”, Bruce-Bennet, said the Commission has been at the forefront of driving technology platforms required to drive increased access to financial services by all and sundry.
She cited the current implementation of an open access model (Infraco licensing) for deployment of broadband infrastructure in the six geopolitical zones, as well as Lagos (which enjoys a special status within telecom ecosystem), as one of the strategies adopted by the Commission to ensure a robust infrastructure deployments that will support many platforms that can accelerate financial inclusion.
Bruce-Bennet said that the Commission had facilitated strategic partnerships with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Fintech Association of Nigeria (FintechNGR), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Rockefeller Partnership Agreement (RPA), and other government agencies, to promote Digital Financial Services (DFS) and Digital Financial Inclusion (DFI) in Nigeria.
Bruce-Bennet also stated that the NCC, through its Digital Economy Department, is fostering the development of a portal for the Association of Skilled Vocational Artisans of Nigeria (ASVAN) for information and digital training purposes.
At the event, the Chairman, Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, applauded the Commission for its regulatory efforts in creating an enabling environment for digitized financial inclusion, and charged the participants and other government agencies present to take advantage of the information portal of the Commission to glean necessary information because robust digital economy will, amongst other things, improve the standard of living of the people who are willing to harvest the benefits.