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National Broadband Plan to deepen financial inclusion -NCC



Nigeria’s broadband penetration hits 7 mllion in seven months

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 if fully implemented, would deepen financial inclusion in the country.

Speaking in Lagos State, Southern Nigeria, at a session that discussed the critical issue of financial inclusion expected to be facilitated by a robust infrastructure deployment for broadband availability, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, said the Commission was mindful of the infrastructure gaps in the country.

To this end, he said the NCC was committed to driving the national digital economy to the grassroots.

The NCC boss who was represented by Freda Bruce-Bennet of the Digital Economy Department reiterated the Commission’s focus on supporting the quest for financial inclusion through the provision of robust infrastructure such as broadband.

“As a Commission, we have the mandate to ensure availability of universal access to telecom services irrespective of circumstances and location of Nigerians and other users in Nigeria,” said Bruce-Bennet, who also informed the audience that voice communications enjoy over 100 per cent penetration.

At the event hosted by Oriental News Nigeria, an online news organisation in Lagos which focused on: “Engaging with Critical Grassroots Groups to Develop Effective Financial Inclusion Initiatives”, Bruce-Bennet, said the Commission has been at the forefront of driving technology platforms required to drive increased access to financial services by all and sundry.

She cited the current implementation of an open-access model (Infraco licensing) for the deployment of broadband infrastructure in the six geopolitical zones, as well as Lagos (which enjoys a special status within the telecom ecosystem), as one of the strategies adopted by the Commission to ensure a robust infrastructure deployment that will support many platforms that can accelerate financial inclusion.

Bruce-Bennet said that the Commission has facilitated strategic partnerships with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Fintech Association of Nigeria (FintechNGR), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Rockefeller Partnership Agreement (RPA), and other government agencies, to promote Digital Financial Services (DFS) and Digital Financial Inclusion (DFI) in Nigeria.

She also stated that the NCC, through its Digital Economy Department, is fostering the development of a portal for the Association of Skilled Vocational Artisans of Nigeria (ASVAN) for information and digital training purposes.

At the event, the Chairman, the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, applauded the Commission for its regulatory efforts in creating an enabling environment for digitized financial inclusion.

He charged the participants and other government agencies present to take advantage of the information portal of the Commission to glean necessary information because a robust digital economy will, amongst other things, improve the standard of living of the people who are willing to harvest the benefits. Credit: VON

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