By Emmanuel Adeleke
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has expressed its readiness to collaborate with the Bayelsa State Government in accelerating telecommunications infrastructure development, digital literacy and skills in the state.
The NCC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Prof. Umar Danbatta, stated this during a courtesy visit by a delegation from Bayelsa State to the management of NCC in Abuja.
Danbatta, who was represented by the commission’s Director of Digital Economy, Dr. Augustine Nwaulune, commended Bayelsa State Government for seeking collaboration with NCC to stimulate economic growth through telecommunication services, adding that the commission is ready and willing to partner with the state.
He said efforts would be made to ensure that relevant infrastructures needed to deliver ubiquitous telecom services to achieve Bayelsa’s socio-economic goal are prioritized.
According to the CEO, NCC will ensure that infrastructural gaps in the telecommunications sector are bridged to accomplish government’s vision, in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-30.
He urged the Bayelsa State Government to revisit the imposed Right of Way (RoW) charges and other issues capable of encumbering faster development of infrastructure in the state.
“This will boost digital infrastructure roll out in towns and communities in Bayelsa State and environs for effective economic diversification.The digital economy rides on broadband and ICT infrastructure and one of the factors inhibiting access to telecommunication infrastructure is RoW administration by states and other state actors,” he said.
Speaking, Bayelsa State’s Commissioner for Communications, Science and Technology, Dr. Promise Ekio Ekio, said Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is one of the critical areas that the state government has identified for priority, in order to accelerate the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state.
Ekio Ekio said that the plan to leverage ICT for socio-economic development of Bayelsa State has been a paramount agenda of the state government, stressing that several engagements made by the state government with industry stakeholders are yet to receive concrete action due to lack of robust telecommunications services in the state.
“Therefore, it is our fervent hope that this meeting will be the beginning of a partnership that will blossom in the areas of digital training and rapid ICT infrastructural development, for the benefit of the people of Bayelsa State and other Nigerians living in the state.
“We want to assure NCC of our preparedness to work closely with the commission to fulfill its mandate in the state as well as actualise the vision of Bayelsa State Government to leverage ICT for accelerating development,” Ekio Ekio said.
The commissioner commended the NCC for fast-tracking implementation of digital economy initiatives of the Federal Government and consolidating the gains of the telecommunications sector.
Ekio Ekio assured that the state government will provide necessary incentives to accelerate ICT development.