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NCC Boss, Danbatta Receives Commendation over Ongoing ICT Parks Project

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Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

By Olushola Okunlade

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has been commended for the commission’s ongoing initiative in building Information and Communication Technology (ICT) parks across the six-geo political zones of the country.

The latest commendation came from the Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, when he visited the site of an ongoing construction of an ICT Park by the Commission for the North-Western zone located in Kano State, recently.

The governor acknowledged the efforts and commitment of the Danbatta-led NCC in ensuring increased digital access for fast-tracking digital innovation across Nigeria and the North-West in particular, saying the initiative will trigger socio-economic transformation of the area in no distant future.

Ganduje said, “Realising that a major project that resonates with the global vision for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) is being vigorously driven by NCC leadership, shows the kind of socio-economic transformation we should expect through ICT across Nigeria in the next few years.

“For the ICT Park being built here in Kano to serve the North-West zone, the government and citizens of Kano State are grateful to Prof. Danbatta and his team for bringing development to the state and the zone at large.”

He also applauded the quality of the construction work being undertaken by the NCC on the ICT Park and expressed appreciation for the foresight of the NCC for accommodating an expansion plan at the project site.

The ICT Park is an initiative of the Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, to provide Innovation Labs and Digital Fabrication Laboratories (Fablabs) for use by ICT innovators and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into products and prototypes.

The Tier-4 Digital Industrial Complex (DIC) will provide a Commercial Hub for ICT capacity building and digital skills, create employment and entrepreneurial activities and facilitate smart city deployment across the Digital Industrial Complex.

The ICT Park consists of laboratories for ICT innovations and Commercial Hubs providing capacity building to ICT startups and entrepreneurial activities, in Kano State. The parks are designed to provide fast internet service (broadband) with constant power supply.

An ICT park comprises an area or location with concentration of all ICT facilities, which enables a concerted leap into the digital age by creating a dynamic environment in which local talent is incubated, cultivated, and shared. ICT park is best tested and trusted institutional mechanism to address the needs of technology-intensive, knowledge-based Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The NCC ICT Parks, which are being built across the six geo-political zones of the country, involve the construction and equipping of fully-functional Tier-4 Digital Industrial Complex (DIC) in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.

The ICT Park consist of laboratories for ICT innovations and Commercial Hubs providing capacity building to ICT start-ups and entrepreneurial activities. The Parks are designed to have fast internet service (broadband) and constant power supply.

The digital parks are to provide Innovation Labs and Digital Fabrication Laboratories (Fablabs) for use by ICT innovators and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into products and prototypes.
The parks will also provide a Commercial Hub for ICT capacity building and digital skills; create employment and entrepreneurial activities; and facilitate smart city deployment across the Digital Industrial complex.

Speaking on the ICT Parks project recently, Prof Danbatta stated that the project was conceived and designed to support the federal government’s ICT-related policies and programmes by facilitating the availability and accessibility of ICT services across the country, promote their usage across all sectors and ultimately address youth unemployment in the country.

Designed to propel socio-economic transformation in the country, the EVC said the ICT Parks will help build capacity for the teeming population of Nigerian youths in the area of skill acquisition and innovation by complementing existing initiatives geared towards accelerating socio-economic transformation of Nigeria.

“The whole idea of putting these two things (i.e. skill acquisition and innovation) at the forefront of this very important initiative is to produce youths that can be self-reliant, generate employment for themselves and for other Nigerians,” he said.

Danbatta said based on its national structural spread, no part of the country will be left out as beneficiaries of the initiative. “The NCC ICT Parks Project is another move by the current leadership of the Commission to boost youth digital skills acquisition, promote innovations, provide jobs for the teeming Nigerian youth and ultimately support the overall digital economy agenda of the Federal Government,” he said.

He said the parks will support software development, incubation and hardware development. “We also hope to see innovative technologies that will leverage the broadband network, which the Commission is deepening in order to socially and economically transform our communities and societies.”
Danbatta urged the potential and would-be beneficiaries of the project, especially the youths, to be ready to leverage the initiative as it promises to empower them socially and economically.

“I would like to send out a very important message to our youths, especially those who are currently occupied with various innovative applications, those who have acquired the skills but are looking for where to put the skills fruitful engagements, by incubating them, commercialising them, or giving publicity to these excellent initiatives, to be ready to leverage the facilities,” he stated.

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NCC TTTR 2021: Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges – Danbatta

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L- R: Engr. Bako Wakil, Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Mr. Yakubu Gontor, Director, Finance Services, NCC; Mrs. Tolulase Omodele-Rufai, Assistant Director, NCC Lagos Zonal Office; Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC; Mr. Babajika Mohammed, Director, Licensing and Authorization, NCC; Mr. Chidi Ibisi, Executive Director, Business Development, Broadband Communications Limited; Mrs. Chinwe Maduabum, 2021 Chairman Committee on Talk to the Regulator; Mr. Damian Udeh, Associate Director, Regulatory Affairs, IHS

…as Danbatta charges regulators to find lasting solutions to issues negatively impacting the licensee’s compliance

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has said that continuous dialogues between the regulator and its various licensees are central to finding lasting solutions to issues negatively impacting the licensee’s compliance with extant regulations and challenging the growth of the telecoms industry.

Danbatta stated this during the second edition of NCC’s 2021 Talk to The Regulator (TTTR) forum held at Four Points by Sheraton, Lagos, over the weekend. The theme of the discourse is, “Improving Stakeholders Satisfaction”.  

The Lagos edition of the programme followed the successful hosting of a similar dialogue in Kano on 16th October, 2021.

The objective of the forum is to get direct feedback from licensees on how the Commission, as a regulator, is meeting licensees’ expectations.

The programme was also designed to identify areas for regulatory improvement, highlight areas where licensees are defaulting as well as address critical industry challenges undermining full accomplishment of the set objectives for consolidating the gains in the telecoms sector.

According to Danbatta, who was represented at the forum by NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, the forum is orgainsed in keeping with the Commission’s commitment to continually ensure regulator-licensee interactions to develop collaborative solutions and implementation programmes to the challenges of the telecom ecosystem.

Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Emilia Nwokoro, Deputy Director, Licensing and Authorization Department, NCC giving her presentation on the ‘Review of Licensing Trends’.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Group picture of participants at the Talk to the Regulator Forum.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Adewolu giving the opening remarks.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Mohammed while giving his remarks at the Forum.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Mohammed; Mr. Abdulazeez Salman, Member NCC Board of Commissioners; Adewolu; Gontor.

“The Nigerian Communications Act (NCA, 2003) invests the NCC with powers and responsibilities for the regulation of both the technical and market-related aspects of telecoms infrastructure and services in Nigeria. We consider our role as a regulator very vital to ensuring industry sustainability because NCC considers consultation as the lifeblood of regulation” the EVC emphasised.

The EVC also declared that “we have consistently deployed stakeholder engagement tools like public enquiries, private investigations, written information requests, one-on-one discussions as we are having it now and diverse consumer engagement platforms.

These tools enable us to ensure that our interventions are well-grounded and that our decisions are based on a clear understanding of stakeholders’ perspectives”.

Danbatta said that such interactions fit squarely within the five pillars of the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (2020-2024), which include Regulatory Excellence, Promotion of Universal Broadband Access, the Development of the Digital Economy, Facilitation of Market Development, and Strategic Partnering.

“Through regular interactions with our licensees, the Commission is able to gain valuable insights to enhance our regulatory output and enabled us to drive excellence in consonance with the five pillars of our strategic vision for the industry as streamlined in the Commission’s Strategic Vision Plan (SVP), 2021-2025,” he said.

Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Wakil while giving his presentation on ‘Short Code Assignment, Type Approval Obligation, and the Commission’s Expectations’.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Gontor giving his presentation on the ‘Implementation of Annual Levy Regulations’.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Joe Emeshili, Principal Manager, Spectrum Administration Department, NCC giving his presentation on ‘Maximising the Potentials of Telecommunications Operations’.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Olumide Samuel, Chief Executive Officer, Priority Communications Ltd asking questions at the Forum.

The EVC also reinforced the Commission’s belief that only through optional performance by the licensees will Nigeria be able to achieve the national objectives and targets in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025 and other national policy instruments targeted at developing the nation’s digital economy ecosystem.

He said on this basis that the Commission is, “Therefore, we intend to use this forum to seek support for many initiatives that the commission has carefully developed in our quest to enhance market opportunities for all our licensees,” Danbatta said to emphasise NCC’s faith in collaboration with stakeholders and its licensees in order to address any concerns that may impede the attainment of the relevant policy objectives.

The NCC CEO also emphasised that the Commission will continue to roll out forward-thinking and all-inclusive regulatory initiatives to provide market opportunities for all its licensees.

Additionally, Danbatta said NCC is also committed to constantly reviewing licensing framework as well as key regulatory instruments so as to refresh the Commission’s regulatory frameworks and ensure better service delivery for consumers and efficient attainment of other national interest objectives.

However, Danbatta said some licensees are not doing as much as they ought to be doing. “Several licensees are struggling to pay their staff, many are unable to comply with basic licence obligations, some are defaulting in the payment of their Annual Operating Levies (AOL) while the level of interconnect and other inter-licensee indebtedness is still unacceptably high.

Therefore, we are required to ensure regulatory interventions are put in place to address challenges, bottlenecks, and grievances that may arise among the licensees in this regard,” he said.

Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Another cross-section of participants at the Forum.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Cross-section of participants at the Forum.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Attah Ogbadu, Senior Manager, Public Affairs NCC compering the event.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Maduabum in her session ‘on what can the NCC do to ensure the survival of smaller licensees’.

Also addressing the gathering, the Director, Licensing and Authorisation at NCC, Mohammed Babajika, said the forum was intended to foster a harmonious relationship with licensees, identify their challenges and provide feedback on licensees’ fulfillment of their license obligations, and re-emphasize the role of licensees in ensuring good quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) for the consumers.
While intimating the licensees of some regulatory initiatives focused on licensing issues, Babajika said despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant challenges, the Commission was taking measures to further liberalise the telecoms industry by finalising the framework for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) while also reviewing existing licensing regulations.

In addition, the Director also informed the licensees that the Commission was finalising work on Information Memorandum (IM) for Fifth Generation (5G) technology deployment, which will promote emerging technology trends such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Over-The-Top (OTT) Services and Big Data Analytics, Blockchain, among others. 

At the event, presentations were made by the Management staff of the Commission to the licensees and others, who participated actively through listening, making observations and suggestions, as well as seeking clarifications to improve the quality of discourse and the expected outcomes. 

Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Titilola Edu, Assistant Legal Manager, Caricare Development Nigeria Limited asking questions at the Forum.
Continuous Dialogue Critical To Tackling Telecoms Industry Challenges - Danbatta
Emeshili; Olasumbo Olawaiya, Assistant Director, Universal Service Provision Fund.

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NCC’s Special Consumer Advocacy, “Shine Your Eyes, No Fall Mugu”, Debuts In Benin

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The Advocacy banner for the Roadshow.

…“Shine Your Eyes, No Fall Mugu”

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission has again given expression to its commitment to reach all categories of telecom consumers, with the launch yesterday in Benin, of a consumer-centric outreach programme tagged, “Shine Your Eyes, No Fall Mugu”, which literally translates to, “Be alert, Don’t be a victim of fraudsters”.

An initiative of the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), the programme is specially conceived and implemented using Nigerian pidgin. It’s intended for a segment of the telecom consumer population who are more comfortable with localised communication that resonates with their reality.

The two-day programme, implemented in three phases, started with a roadshow yesterday. The Show featured local artists and comedians who displayed musical and other performances to amuse and entertain people to create awareness and sensitise telecom consumers about how cybercriminals may use telecom platforms to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
Another stopover on the route.
NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
Left-Right: Tunde Akpeji, Senior Manager, Consumer Information and Education; Lisu Mshelia, Principal Manager, Consumer Protection and Advocacy; Isimeme Joseph, Deputy Manager, Media and Public Relations; Dr Omoniyi Ibietan, Head Online Media, Tina Nwachukwu, Principal Manager, Consumer Protection and Advocacy; Charles Alimikhena, Deputy Manager, Special Duties; Masud Adam, Officer, Consumer Protection and Advocacy.
NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
Entertainers on the procession.

Today, the last day of the two-day event, will feature a 20-minute radio talk in Nigerian pidgin, to further create awareness and like the roadshow, to invite telecom consumers to an enlightenment forum where presentations will be made about tricks deployed by cybercriminals to defraud people online. The presentations will also capture measures to be taken by consumers and members of the public in order not to fall victim to fraudsters who may use telecom platforms to perpetrate fraudulent acts.

Additionally, at today’s enlightenment forum, drama, audio narratives and other attractions thematised on the centrality of vigilance, alertness and caution in cyberspace by all users, will be featured.

The programme is facilitated by a local partner who supports NCC, by mobilising critical segments of the public through opinion leaders and social groups to participate in the events, in order for them to be armed with the right information they may require to explore the Internet safely. These leaders and members of the public attending the forum are expected to re-diffuse the messages to other members of the public and others in their socio-cultural groups.

This programme, coming on the heels of NCC’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (which occurred in October), and the annual National Cybersecurity Conference, which took place on 3rd November 2021, is meant to reinforce the messages of cyber awareness, cyber vigilance, and cyber smartness to telecom consumers whenever they are online.

NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
The NCC partner supervising her team.
NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
Personnel of the security governance sector ensuring orderliness.
NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
The motorcade.

The roadshow yesterday commenced at Ekehuan Road, and the procession drove through Airport Road, to State Secretariat, Sapele Road and through the roundabout to Ring Road, to Akpakpava, Dawson Road and back to Ugbowo and Uselu Market. The motorcade, the music, the displays by artists and the underlying narration of the message of the outreach in Nigerian pidgin caught the attention of residents and passers-by who patiently listened to the messages. Information, Communication and Education (IEC) materials were also shared with the public at every neighbourhood the procession stopped to display and educate the public.

More mobilisation campaigns and awareness creation will be made during the radio component of the sensitization today, happening at Vibes Radio, 97.3 FM at 8.45 a.m. Thereafter, the Enlightenment Forum will take place at Obey God Events Centre at Nova Road, opposite Uwasota Junction, Benin.

NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
The motorcade.
NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
Left-Right: Tunde Akpeji, Senior Manager, Consumer Information and Education; Lisu Mshelia, Principal Manager, Consumer Protection and Advocacy; Isimeme Joseph, Deputy Manager, Media and Public Relations; Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, Head Online Media, Tina Nwachukwu, Principal Manager, Consumer Protection and Advocacy; Charles Alimikhena, Deputy Manager, Special Duties; Masud Adam, Officer, Consumer Protection and Advocacy.
NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
A stopover.
NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin
NCC Special Consumer Advocacy SHINE YOUR EYES, NO FALL MUGU Debuts in Benin

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MTN Nigeria Launches Equity Bookbuild To Investors

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the telecom company informed the investing public and the Nigerian Exchange in a statement.

Olushola Okunlade Writes

MTN Nigeria has launched an equity book-build to qualified investors ahead of its planned sales of 575 million ordinary shares of the company to the public.

The telecom company informed the investing public and the Nigerian Exchange in a statement.

This is coming after the telecommunications company had obtained regulatory approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to proceed with the offer.

According to the statement, MTN Nigeria hinted that the company has now obtained the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the offer for sale of up to 575 million ordinary shares in MTNN held by the MTN Group.

MTN Group had announced the decision to sell down a 14% equity stake in the largest telecommunication company in Nigeria where it holds more than 76%. 

The telecom company told Nigerian Exchange and Investing public that the institutional offer opens today and is expected to close on Friday after which a fixed price will be determined for the retail offer.

The reports that book building is the process by which an underwriter determines which share should be sold to retail investors.

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