By Juliet Umeh
As part of the support to promote the federal government’s national digital economy agenda, telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has created a dedicated Digital Economy Department, principally responsible for implementing programmes and policies aimed at fully supporting the agenda.
The department which is under the office of the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta is headed by Engr. Babagana Digima who was an Assistant Director in the Special Duties Department.
According to Danbatta, 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 a 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.
He said: “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 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.
The 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 commission said: “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 obtain digital literacy and other digital skills. This pillar 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.
“Digital Services Development and Promotion is the sixth pillar, which 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 is Digital Society and Emerging Technologies, focusing on tying the development of the digital economy to indices of well-being in the lives of ordinary citizens; mentoring startups on emerging technologies, and deploying their solutions.
“The eight-pillar of NDEPS 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,” NCC explained.