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Nigeria: government sounds the alarm on vandalism of telecommunications infrastructure

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The federal government has sounded the alarm on vandalizing activity on the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, saying this ugly trend is responsible for the high cost of services billed to subscribers by carriers.

Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC Executive Vice President and CEO Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who revealed this at a civil society roundtable on the digital economy in Abuja, lamented that subscribers bear the consequences of vandals on the installations of network providers through a tariff on voice calls and data.

The roundtable on the digital economy on the theme “Optimizing the potential of digital entrepreneurship for the empowerment and autonomy of young people” was organized by the civil society groups for good governance, CSGGG, and s ‘is held at the Army Resource Center, Abuja.

Pof. Danbatta also said that shortcomings in fixed broadband infrastructure, right of way issues, multiple regulation and taxation, scarcity of forex, electricity and duplication of functions are the other challenges that have contributed to the charges. borne by telecommunications consumers.

Represented by the Director, Department of Digital Economy, Ing. AK Nwaulune, said the boss of the NCC, the vandalization of telecommunications infrastructure creates costs and these costs will be advanced by consumers.

According to him, “The important thing I want you to know is that vandalism creates costs, and those costs are going to be advanced by you.

“So you just have vandalism issues because you cut fiber and you can sell fiber because it’s stolen good, you’re not even going to sell it at market value because it’s of the tokunbo you are selling.

“And you create problems for others. So we want you to help us market the fact that the more you vandalize, the higher the cost and the higher the rate, the higher the fees you pay.”

Speaking on the merits of the digital economy, Prof Danbatta noted that “economic diversification can be greatly achieved, just as its efforts in social prosperity and integration are clearly evident”.

The digital economy, “Requires innovative digital skills developed at home, targeted at the specifics of the Nigerian market and population, and requires a digitally literate citizenship who can take advantage of these innovative solutions.

He noted that “This requires the Digital Infrastructure on which Training / Skills Acquisition will be provided, and on which innovative solutions can be deployed.

“The Commission, as the digital economy coordinator for the communications industry, continues to strive to ensure that all projects, approvals, regulatory changes and stakeholder collaborations necessary to achieve the goal are carried out. “

Regarding the progress made in the sector, he said, “The telecommunications sector in Nigeria has experienced significant and unprecedented growth, with Nigeria currently having 187,805,237 mobile lines and a teledensity of 98.39 %.

“In July 2021, a broadband subscription of 75,952,406 and a penetration of 39.79%

“The telecommunications sector has enabled economic transformation in various sectors of the Nigerian economy: banking, healthcare, commerce, education, agriculture, etc. The digital economy offers Nigeria the opportunity to develop and diversify its economy from over reliance on oil and gas.

He said: “The digital economy; The digital economy refers to all the economic, social and cultural activities supported by the Internet and the associated emerging information and communication technologies.

The three components of the digital economy are infrastructure, innovative entrepreneurship products and services, and digital skills.

In his remarks, the Chairman of Civil Society Groups for Good Governance, CSGGG, Mr. Konrad Ogaku Dominic, explained that the main reason for convening the roundtable was to raise awareness and inform the average unemployed youth that the dynamic around job creation and employment has changed.

Mr. Dominic felt that to this end it is necessary to update, it is necessary to define a different trajectory as to how we can talk about the issue of unemployment and employability.

According to him, “And I think that as a civil society our role is very simple, is to be able to sensitize the biggest winners who support the government, and to make sure that we widen the horizon. for others to enjoy. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve with this roundtable.

“Yes, because digitization or the digital economy has been there. But are we maximizing it? Have we been able to use it to solve our problems? Have we been able to broaden the scope to catch up with these, especially in the rural area. Do we practice it?

“Opportunities are involved. So maximizing just means taking advantage to make sure we don’t lose. I think from this conference we can have the next billionaires, the next set of billionaires on the internet.

“Remember, there are a lot of challenges around the issue of digital economy. One of them is fraud. And for us, we think we need to broaden the discussion so that the average Nigerian knows that when we talk about the digital economy is not to use it to defraud or disrupt the whole process, but to know that they have a huge advantage in the whole process. “

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