The Federal Government on Friday said about 500 million naira has been generated from the issuance and renewal of 668 spectrum licenses within the past one year, while government recently licensed six slots of the 2.6 MHz Spectrum for the deployment of 4G-LTE services in the country.
The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, who made this known said efforts were on top gear to broaden broadband penetration in Nigeria. This is just as the Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai advocated the merging of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, with the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
He disclosed that broadband penetration in Nigeria has reached 20.95 percent while the percentage of internet penetration has reached a milestone of 47.44 percent which makes Nigeria second in ranking in the African continent.
The Minister said there is the need to increase Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment of 38 billion United States dollars in the sector as active mobile phone subscribers in the country peaked at 152 million as at September this year.
Mr Shittu, in a keynote address delivered at the formal opening ceremony of the 4th National Council on Communications Technology at the Arewa House, Kaduna on Friday further disclosed that processes have commenced for the licensing of broadband services on the 5.4 GHz spectrum bank and allocation of 70/80 GHz band (E-Band).
Speaking on the theme of the Council Meeting which is “ICT As a Focal Point For Economic Diversification”, the minister said that the ICT sector can be re-engineered to expand the frontiers of its contribution towards facilitating Nigeria’s early exit from recessionary economies.
According to him, ICT Innovation and entrepreneurship and the broadening of investment opportunities is one of the key avenues for increasing generated revenue in any economy, Nigeria not an exception.
While admitting that ICT has become a fulcrum of the nation’s economy, the minister said the “challenge is how to harness and leverage the opportunities thrown up by the new economy powered by ICT to address the issues of revenue, investments and cost savings”.
Stressing that this is not an impossible feat, he said,” many developed countries around the world, do not rely on the export of any raw materials, but on the development and export of ICT”, adding that Singapore, India and Thailand are examples of developing countries that have leveraged on ICT to make a difference in their economies.
Mr Shittu told the Council that he had facilitated the draft of a Sector Strategic Plan for 2016-2020, to chart a short-term framework for the sector while the Ministry will ensure that the ICT in Government Initiatives is sustained.
He said: “through Galaxy Backbone, Government has provided internet access to about 400 MDAs, over 11,000 nodes of wireless LAN to all MDAs at the Federal Secretariat, over 40,000 email addresses for Government officials under the gov.ng &mil.ng domains. This has ensured that government data is hosted locally on a secured website with data backup to MDAs and 200 servers hosting 94 MDAs”.
In the area of spectrum management, he said the Ministry of Communications has issued and renewed a total of 668 licenses from November 2015 to September 2016, generating about N500 million as government revenue.
He lauded council members for their efforts and contributions under his leadership, saying the National Council on Communications exists to facilitate inter-governmental consultations on ICT matters and to avoid unnecessary disparities in developmental structures.
Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai while declaring the conference open canvassed for single regulatory body for the Information and Communications Technology, ICT, sector.
He said given that we are ICT age with little resources and the need to manage and optimise the finance of the country and prevent duplication of duties, regulatory bodies such as the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, and the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, should be merged.