The digital technology will drive massive activities in manufacturing and supply chain management, economic activities, finance, research and governance amongst many others which will in turn improve the economic and social lives of citizens and that resulted into the birthing of the fifth generation, 5G, of mobile network technology. 5G is an enabler of digital economic development and growth; required to put the national economy at some comparative advantage in the world stage.
The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, Umar Danbatta, a professor of Communications Technology, who was the KeyNote Speaker, stated the above at the Maiden Annual conference of Finance and Business Online Publishers Association, FiBOP, with the theme: Harnessing Fintech for Economic Growth and Development” held on Tuesday in Lagos.
Represented by the Director, Digital Economy, Austin Nwaulune, revealed that the rollout of 5G networks, as already established, will have a positive impact on all facets of society and would spur innovation on all fronts.
He maintained that to ensure that the regulatory climate is favorable for everyone, this would require collaborations between the NCC and other stakeholders. “Though the NCC does not regulate the Fintech sector, it has continuously shown a willingness to work with regulators and other stakeholders to promote the sector’s development. We remain open to collaborative engagements in light of the launching of the 5G network and the services it will produce for the Fintech ecosystem”, he said.
NCC according to him will continue providing an enabling environment for the deployment of Digital infrastructure, Development of human capacity to innovate and create digital businesses and services and develop Digital skills of Nigerians to be able to use the Digital services provided by the Innovators and Entrepreneurs.
Speaking further, he assured that the NCC acknowledges the importance of broadband deployment in sustaining the impact of Fintech, for Economic Growth and Social Development and has therefore articulated all necessary measures to expedite the deployment of infrastructure that will support the actualization of a Nigerian Digital Economy.
On the role of NCC in supporting Fintech for National Growth, he said, “In order for Nigeria to achieve qualitative and quantitative digital accessibility and availability, there must be a robust and pervasive broadband and telecommunications services in both developed and underdeveloped parts of Nigeria”.
Therefore, in order to support the actualization of Financial Technology in Nigeria as a panacea for economic growth and social development, the Commission has and continues to carry out the following interventions listed to include: the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, NDEPS, 2020-2030 was developed in accordance with the mandate of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to transform every aspect of modern life in Nigeria, for Nigeria to be a Global leader in the Digital Economy, as well as facilitating the diversification of the Economy and achievement of key national objectives.
So also the implementation of the Strategies enshrined within the 8 Pillars of the NDEPS, will invariably lead to the actualization of a digital economy in Nigeria. This actualization results in the growth of Fintech, the growth of an E-Nigeria in both Government and the private sector, growth of Nigeria’s GDP, amongst other indices. The Commission along with all other responsible parties in the NDEPS are working assiduously towards actualizing the goals of the 8 Pillars of the NDEPS which include the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) (2020-2025): The NNBP has the overarching goal of providing ubiquitous and affordable broadband connectivity to every locality in Nigeria. Its main goals are to deliver 120,000km of fiber, 70% penetration, data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum of 25mbps in urban areas, and 10mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population at a price not more than ₦390 per 1GB of data (i.e. 2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage) by end of 2025. Currently Nigeria has achieved about 50% broadband penetration and the Commission is working assiduously to achieve our goals of 70% penetration by year 2025.
Secondly the Award of the 5G Licence: the 5G license on the 3.5GHz band provides a unique opportunity for the rapid spread and deployment of spectrum based broadband across Nigeria. Award was granted to both Messrs. MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications. With the issuance of the final letters of awards of 5G spectrum with one of the licensees commencing roll out of 5G services on August 24, 2022, this will enhance the transmission of massive data across platforms (Trade/Commerce, Gaming, Research, Entertainments, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Sports, Financial inclusion etc.). This will ensure the availability of adequate broadband connectivity across Nigeria, maximizing further the terabytes of international data having landed on the shores of Nigeria, thanks to the efforts of Glo 1, Main One, WACS, amongst others.
Thirdly, Collaboration with CBN: the Commission continues to collaborate with the CBN to ensure safe, secure, reliable and resilient networks for the actualization of financial inclusion in Nigeria in line with the National Financial Inclusion Strategy Revised (2018). These include collaborative meetings on USSD codes, on security of the networks, pricing, and NCC’s active participation in the CBN-led National Financial Inclusion Technical Committee and Working Groups.
“Fourthly, Collaboration with other Financial Technology Bodies: the Commission continues to partner with the International Telecommunications Union on the safety and security of the Digital Financial Networks; with the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers (RPA) and the Fintech Association of Nigeria (FintechNGR), amongst, in support and partnership for the growth of Financial Technology in Nigeria. In the same vein, the Commission also partners with, and provides necessary support as required to Fintech Tech Hubs and Start Ups as well as other Sectoral Tech Hubs and Start Ups across Nigeria”.