In continuation of its efforts to support media professionals, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently organised a One-day Capacity Building Workshop for members of the Nigerian Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), Abuja Chapter.
The workshop was designed to deepen their knowledge and reportage of the Commission especially with regards to 5G deployment, SIM/NIN linkage and issues around International Termination Rate (ITR) for Voice services.
The workshop was widely attended by practitioners from print, broadcast and online news platforms.
Speaking in an opening remarks, the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde said, the communications sector which the NCC regulates, was arguably the most dynamic and vibrant sector of the Nigerian economy, therefore, demands that media partners are brought up to speed with recent developments for enhanced and well-informed reportage of the industry.
“Let me be quick to mention that the Commission recognizes the importance of NITRA as a strategic ally, and this accounts for why we have on several occasions provided capacity building and trainings for members of NITRA with the aim of providing the platform for equipping you as our stakeholders and partners from the Media with the knowledge and skill required to do your jobs effectively, efficiently and in the most professional manner.
“As you may be aware, the communications sector, which the Nigerian Communications Commission regulates, is arguably the most dynamic and vibrant sector of the Nigerian economy, and we believe this demands that our media partners are brought up to speed with recent developments for enhanced and well-informed reportage of the industry”, he said.
In his presentation on 5G deployment, the Head, Spectrum Administration, NCC, Usman Aliyu, disclosed that 5G services may be available by the fourth quarter of this year.
He noted that cleaning of the Bands was ongoing with the migration of the FSS users from 3.4-3.8 GHz spectrum following the ratification of the use of Nigerian Communications Satellite by the National Frequency Management Council.
He said, when deployed, a lot of services would be enhanced with resultant effect on the economic growth of the nation in the areas of education, health, financial services and improvement on the quality of service.
Aliyu said, with the successful auction of the 5G spectrum last year, Nigeria became the first country in Africa to successfully conduct a full 5G spectrum auction without the services of a consultant and first software auction to be conducted since 2001.
‘‘5G auction committee was constituted, Information memorandum was developed, consultation on Memorandum carried out, key stakeholders responded, corrections were made on IM before auction.
“Hopefully by Q4 this year we should have 5G services in the country. The current status involves inflation and increase in exchange rate that affects cost of services; quality and adequate power supply, relocating of services, guard band provision, coordination with neighboring countries,’’ he said.
Also in his presentation, the Director, Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement NCC, Mr Ephraim Nwokonanya, represented by Head Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement, NCC, Mr Alkasim Umar said, the SIM/NIN linkage would check terrorism and banditry in the country.
Meanwhile, the Director, Policy Competition and Economic Analysis, NCC, Mr Atu Sunday spoke intensively on the issues around International Termination Rate (ITR) for Voice services.
He explicated that the Commission’s ITR policy was ultimately designed to carter for the interest of Nigeria and all telecoms stakeholders.
On ITR rate floor price pegged at $0.0045, Mr Sunday said, the commission used the best pricing modem to arrive at the figure and that explains why the rate was not too high or low.
“So, if the rate waps too high between portfolio Nigerians who are only developing their pockets in just being able to call but at the same time, the rate should be fair that it will also not be injurious to our balance of payments. It will also not be injurious to the profitability of the operators”, he explained.
Also spearking, the President of NITRA, Abuja Chapter, Mr. Blessing Olaifa, represented by the chapter’s Secretary General, Mr. Emmanuel Elebeke, expressed the organisation’s profound appreciation to NCC for organising the capacity building programme for NITRA members.
He noted that the relationship between the Commission and the media organization has been very cordial spanning over many years, adding that it was a thing of joy that the age long mutually beneficial relationship has been sustained by the current management.
“I want to commend you for your consistency in churning out progressive policies and regulations that have positioned NCC as a pace setter in Africa.
“Fresh in our mind is recent 5G spectrum auction won by MTN and Mafab Communications which has been receiving accolades even from international community.
“Nigeria today boasts of 6 submarine cables with more to come courtesy of NCC’s visionary management and quality regulation.”
The group then appealed to the Commission to institute ICT award to encourage journalist to work harder and improve their reportage.
NITRA promised to keep faith with the Commission, in ensuring quality reportage in a professional manner for the greater good and growth of the Nigerian economy.