By Martin Ekpeke
A new report on the operational and fund management analysis of the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) has recommended that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) should rework its regulatory framework to drive more investments in rural telephony
The report, launched in Abuja yesterday at the ongoing Internet Freedom Forum by BudgIT, noted that reworking of the regulatory system is critical for the development of the rural telephony to add to the overall contribution of the country’s telecom industry, which it says contributed a whopping N8.6trillion to Nigeria’s economy in 2017.
BudgIT believes that there is a need for NCC and USPF to dedicate significant resources to community-based network systems as the model would need regulatory makeover to work in Nigeria. It also commended the recently released regulatory regime on spectrum management that allows trading and transfer of the spectrum and license rights.
Speaking on how the telecom industry was able to contribute N8.6trillion to Nigeria’s economy in 2017, the General Manager, Operations BudgIT, Gabriel Okeowo said the contribution comes in the form of the number of workforce in the telecoms industry, money expended by Nigerians on phone calls, data usage, among other services provided by the telecoms industry.
“Though the government through the USPF has been claiming they are implementing projects to increase broadband penetration, we believe that to enable the USPF improve broadband connection in the rural communities, there is a need for needs assessment and community involvement, which will ensure community ownership of the project and also encourage public private partnership of the project so as to enhance sustainability,” Okeowo advised.
BudgIT is a civic startup that liberates budgets and public data from an inactive state into a more engaging format mostly through infographics and interactive application with the aim of improving civic discussion and institutional reform.