Statistics from the 2022 Network Readiness Index (NRI), shows that Nigeria ranks 109th position out of the 133 countries rated.
At the 2 days “Emerging Technology Forum for the Telecommunications Industry”, organized by NCC and centered around the theme “Contextualizing the Network Readiness Index (NRI) for the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry”, the guest speakers discussed the factors leading to Nigeria’s low NRI ranking.
This was noteworthy despite the presence of NCC and other adequately equipped agencies.
Dr. Chidi Diugwu, Head New Media and Information Security of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) outlined few achievements of the agency so far and its contribution to the digital economic growth of the nation.
Speaking to Topsociety correspondent, Dr. Chidi said;
“We have done a lot by providing that enabling infrastructure. For example, we have created an enabling environment to which MTN for example, is deploying 5g technology. 5g tech enables application that requests huge boundaries that need faster speed that needs more security. And it is through proper regulatory instruments and guidance that this has been made possible.
“We’ve talked about how technology has impacted on the people upskilling people, whether you’re working as an individual, or you’re working for government, or the fact that your rate of delivery of tasks have been enhanced, even working from home, testify to the fact that with huge activity on internet space, we are getting more and more efficient. So NCC creates that technology.”
The Key Note Speaker, Prof Bashir Shehu Galadinchi of Bayero University, Kano, commended the ICT sector and said that NCC has taken the low ranking seriously and desires to rewrite the history, thus, the conference was initiated.
“This forum itself is an indication that NCC is not taking this low ranking mildly. It is taking it very seriously and it really want Nigeria up that ladder.
“I would like to state that Nigeria has made considerable gains in the ICT sector to the point whereby the sector is the second level, like the third largest contributor to GDP. In spite of these achievements, Nigeria is generally performing very poorly in the NRI global reaching a closer analysis of the individual parameters that make up the NRI over the last few years, however, indicate that Nigeria has gradually been improving but it’s not fast enough. MCC is not fast enough for us. Businesses, so there’s the need for the country to pay special attention to the factors that improve its rating, including greater deployment of infrastructure, a more conducive and enabling environment, better regulation, more usage of ICTs by individuals, businesses, and governments, all of which will lead to greater impact of ICT in improving our social, economic lives.”
Dr. Yunusa YA’U, the executive Director of CITAD said the people are not utilizing the home made technology tools. For example businesses securing their domain name with “.com” which is a foreign end server rather than “.ng”, is a big minus to the country’s digital economy. He therefore encouraged that local contents should be more patronized by Nigerians first.
Dr. Dan Azumi M. Ibrahim, Director General of NOTAP (represented) questioned the credibility of the NRI ranking and its accuracy. He pointed out that one of the major problems in Nigeria is Data collation and storage. He therefore believed that the NRI ranking should be questioned.
Mrs Tracy Isaac Okoro, CEO of Business Academy Africa, went further to say that NCC and it’s staff member should collectively ensure that broadband network and internet is accessible to all and sundry in every nook and cranny of the country. She further stressed that the end point of the NRI pillar is the people and they should be highly considered in policy making.
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However, when Topsosciety enquired on the expected aim of the forum, NCC spokesman, Abraham Osadami, Spectrum Director for the agency, representing the NCC Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof Umar Danbatta, said;
“We want to see how Nigeria can be more ready in terms of network and infrastructure, technologies and emerging solutions. So at the end of the workshop, we will have rob minds to look at challenges that we have to look at solutions, ensuring that we have an NRI ranking, which translates to solutions and services available to the citizen. So at the end of the day, we do hope that we’ll be able to proffer solutions.”
In reaction to the listed problems, Dr. Chidi said;
“In terms of upskilling people, the people aspect of it. We have a lot of initiatives including the Adapt advanced digital employment training program for tertiary institutions. We have a dominant professor. We have formed the following research developments in colleges and universities. A lot of you also have tech startups. We have a lot of initiatives that have to do with digital inclusiveness.
“Now if you talk about the people, the technology and the governance, of course you know NCC is replicating when it comes to the application of regulatory instruments, whether it is regulation as an instrument of creating an enabling environment or determination, or guidelines, or even directions, each of these tools are used effectively.
“I don’t want to believe we are not making progress.
”Lastly, on Child protection; because of the activities that are going on every day. The child needs to be protected against the molestation against harassment. From instruments within the government in the framework of chatter nonpartisan guidelines that will enable the protection of a child and then we also have the cybersecurity you know, competent security incident response team (CSIRT), which mainstreams cyber threats every second, every minute, every hour every day. And then we’re able to send out advisories to our concerned members all the time, warning them of any, any trends and advising on how the content should be used.”