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The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the Commission is mindful of the infrastructure gaps in the country and therefore, committed to driving the national digital economy to the grassroots.

Danbatta spoke in Lagos at an event organised by Oriental News Nigeria, an online news publication at Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, on the topic of “Engaging with Critical Grassroots Groups to Develop Effective Financial Inclusion Initiatives”.

The session discussed the critical issue of financial inclusion which was facilitated by a robust infrastructure deployment for broadband availability.

According to Danbatta, Nigeria’s grassroots communities and the under-served population of the country will not be left out of the national broadband plan when the implementation comes to fruition.

“As a Commission, we have a mandate to ensure availability of universal access to telecom services irrespective of circumstances and location of Nigerians and other users in Nigeria,” Danbatta stated.

He said voice communications enjoy over 100 percent penetration.

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

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.

According to her, the current implementation of an open-access model of Infraco licensing for the deployment of broadband infrastructure in the six geopolitical zones as well as Lagos.

She added that the process enjoys a special status within the telecom ecosystem, as one of the strategies adopted by the Commission to ensure robust infrastructure deployments that would support many platforms that could accelerate financial inclusion.

Bruce-Bennet said that the Commission had facilitated strategic partnerships with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Fintech Association of Nigeria (FintechNGR).

Others are 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.

Bruce-Bennet said 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.

In a statement by the NCC’s Director, Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, said the Chairman, Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, commended 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, adding that a robust digital economy will among other things, improve the standard of living of the people, who are willing to harvest the benefits.


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