Group lauds communications minister over National Broadband Plan on economy


THE Telecommunications Watch Group (TWG) has lauded the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Issa Pantami, for the successful completion of the mega projects to boost Nigeria’s economy.

Its Convener, Paul Adefarati and Secretary, Christie Nwachukwu, made the commendation in a statement on Monday in Ibadan.

It was coming a few days after President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 with the inauguration of the communications and digital economy complex.

The group leaders said the inauguration and unveiling of the broadband plan were timely, adding that it came at a time when oil, the country’s major income generation was facing a global downturn due to the ravaging Coronavirus (COVID-19).

They said that Pantami’s appointment was justified, having displayed a high level of competence toward turning the sector to the economic hub of the nation.

According to them, the sector will in a couple of years rival the current national earnings from the oil sector and surpass the same, given the relentless efforts of the minister to revolutionise the communications sector.

They recalled that Pantami, as Director-General of Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), performed creditably well, saying such accounted for the high hopes that he would perform as a minister.

“At NITDA, Pantami’s innovations significantly helped the industry and the Nigerian nation to grow the IT sector.

“His successor, Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, is building on the successes recorded
to help grow the nation’s IT sub-sector,” the leader said.

They urged the minister to double its efforts on repositioning and transforming the communications industry which recently assisted in slashing the data rates for consumers.

The TWG also urged the minister not to pander to the threats of the dissidents and Boko Haram elements that were out to frustrate him.

The group leaders decried allegations that Pantami was waging a proxy war to undermine Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

In a related development, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, the NCC Director of Public Affairs, said that no agency of the Federal Government gives subvention to another agency.

“By extant laws of the government, every agency makes its budget and gets approval for appropriation from the National Assembly, and such budgets are spent according to the appropriation of the National Assembly,” Nkemadu said.

He said in a statement that the NCC budget does not contain any allocation for a subvention to a sister agency, adding that they could not create a provision in the budget for another agency to implement.

According to him, subventions to all agencies are done by the Federal Government with resources domiciled in the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), even salaries to Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA) come from there.

He said that NITDA, as an agency of the government, also draws its budget and spend the same to execute programmes.

Nkemadu said that the minister had since the advent of the new administration encouraged the good working relationship and close synergy with parastatals under the purview of the ministry.

He said that the minister had facilitated support at the highest levels of government to programmes and activities of the commission.

“The minister facilitated meetings with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum on issues of Right of Way for expanding the telecommunications infrastructure and declaring telecommunications infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI),” he said.

Nkemadu said that they do not receive any directive from Pantami and the digital economy on funding any activity of NITDA and no approval was given in that regard.

He said that NCC had not entered into any partnership with NITDA to warrant any subvention for capacity building let alone implementing one.

Nkemadu said that the aspect of creating a budget for subvention does not arise. (NAN)

– Mar. 30, 2020 @ 13:39 GMT |

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