Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Damabatta

BY EMEKA EJERE

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), is awaiting the approval of Communications and Digital Economy Minister, Dr Ali Pantami for its infrastructure companies (InfraCos) to roll out services across the six geo-political zones of the country.

Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the commission,  Prof Umar Danbatta, disclosed this on Thursday during a virtual conversation on the Socio-Economic and Political Impact of COVID-19 on Telecoms and ICT Sector in Nigeria.

The virtual interaction was organised by the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and drew participants from the industry including Facebook.

He underscored the successful implementation of the new National Broadband Plan (NBP) on the availability of broadband infrastructure at accessible and affordable rates.

Prof Danbatta said with the recent directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to security agencies to protect telecoms infrastructure and the Executive Order by state governments harmonising the price of Right of Way (RoW) to N145 per linear metre according to the directive of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) or outright removal of the price, the Commission is confident of that the national broadband target.

While the NCC is one of the agencies under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications, it nonetheless enjoys a measure of autonomy granted it by the National Communications Act 2003.

Experts however say slavish subservience to the minister is not part of the ‘intendments’ of the act.