Digital Inclusion: UK Partners Nigeria On Policy And Regulatory Reforms On Right Of Way
The British Government through its Prosperity Fund’s Digital Access Programme, has pledged its support to promote inclusive and sustainable digital access to unserved and underserved communities in Nigeria.
The UK in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Digital Access Programme, hosted its first Nigeria Technical Conference on the Right of Way (RoW) on the 13th August, 2020, to further aggregate views from key stakeholders, towards the advancement of policy and regulatory reforms on Right of Way (RoW) and Issuance of Planning permits for Mast and Towers.
A statement by the UK embassy said the virtual forum is one of the key deliverable of the UK’s Technical Assistance project on RoW, which was initiated in April 2020 to assess the existing strategy, charging regime and measure that against economic development indicators.
While delivering her remarks the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing observed that Nigeria has seen progress in the effort to provide inclusive digital access to millions of its citizens.
She however noted that the COVID19 pandemic has made the world rely more heavily on internet connectivity for access to basic necessities – health, education, work, shopping, convenience and other services adding that substantial digital inequities have been revealed.
She said that UK is keen to support the promotion of affordable, inclusive, safe and secure digital access for underserved or excluded populations, adding that the conference was a significant step to discuss the technical findings of our preliminary study, outcomes, lingering challenges and the way forward.
“I hope that today’s deliberation will culminate into an increased digital inclusion as a basis for a more thriving local tech ecosystem, generating skilled jobs and innovative solutions for local development challenges” she said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isah Pantami while giving his keynote address appreciated the UK Government for supporting the Nigeria Digital Economy agenda.
He said the UK Government had earlier supported Nigeria in the development of the new national broadband plan through the Digital Access Programme.
“Nigeria has in the last 1 year of my time as Minister, added 10% to the broadband penetration level in the country. RoW reforms is the key to unlocking Nigeria’s digital economy for inclusive digital growth and we have worked with the Nigerian Governors Forum to achieve some important results already. We will continue to champion this reforms on RoW and work on the challenges identified by the technical study” he said.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, while reacting to the technical study said the Technical Assistance on RoW reforms will assist in our quest for deepening broadband penetration in Nigeria. NCC is willing and ready to advance the reforms noted in the technical study and will collaborate with stakeholders to effect it in the short, medium and long term.” He added.
Danbatta who was represented by the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management (ECSM), Mr. Adeleke Adewolu also thanked the UK Government’s Digital Access Programme for their support in championing reforms on RoW to deepen digital inclusion in Nigeria.