By Etuka Sunday
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday commissioned four projects under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to drive the Digital Economy plan of the Federal Government.
Buhari commissioned the projects at the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) Annex, Mbora, Abuja.
He said, he was committed to building infrastructures that would promote security of Nigerians and Entrepreneurship training through digital innovations.
He expressed confidence that the digital economy project would assist in the country’s anti-corruption crusade.
He urged mobile network operators to ensure full attainment of the targets set in the National Broadband Plan by giving special attention to un-served and underserved areas while deploying their services.
On the newly commissioned Emergency Communications Centre and Toll Free Number 112, the President explained that it further demonstrates his administration’s resolve to keep Nigerians safe.
‘’We have taken advantage of digital technologies to ensure that Nigerians in distress are only a dial away from the relevant emergency response institutions in the country.
‘’This will go a long way in supporting our efforts to improve the security of lives and property,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami said, the project of digitisation was imminent at the instance of corona virus outbreak in Nigeria.
Pantami said that the projects were in line with the revised mandate of the ministry as a result of its redesignation, adding that it also aligns with the priorities of the Federal Government.
He said that the implementation of the broadband would support the diversification efforts of the government.
He further explained that digital economy was heavily reliant on the availability of cost effective broadband, among others.
“This plan aims at providing broadband for 90 per cent of Nigerians over the next five years at download rates of 25Mbps in urban areas and 10 Mbps in rural areas.
“The plan aims for a maximum price of N390 per gigabyte of data.
“The unfortunate realities of the COVID-19 has made it imperative to build and depend on a sector of the economy that is more resilient to global economic shocks than the oil sector,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC , Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta reiterate that with the Federal Government’s support, increasing broadband penetration would facilitate the efficiency of the Emergency Communication centre (ECC) and development of digital innovation.
Danbatta described the launch of these projects as a reflection of growth and development in the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector.
He said that the projects commenced with the National Telecom Policy and the full liberalisation of the telecommunications industry.
According to him, the NCC has also facilitated the establishment of the Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) across the Country.
“The establishment of the ECCs is in line with the Commission’s mandate under section 107 of NCA 2003, to promote and enhance public safety through the use of a particular number designed as the universal safety.
“Consequently, the NCC allocated the Toll-Free 3-digit number ‘112’ as the Universal Emergency Communications telephone number in Nigeria.
“Through this dedicated number, members of the public can conveniently access help when in distress by simply dialling 112 from any of the networks at no cost.
“This toll-free number can help distressed persons access help from the Police, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Fire and Ambulance Services, National Emergency Management Agency.”
The projects include: unveiling of Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, official commissioning of the communications centre and 112 toll-free number,
As well as the flag off of the digital inovation and entrepreneurship training.