The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), today highlighted some of the infrastructural challenges bewildering the adoption of the e-government initiative in Nigeria, stressing that infrastructure is probably the most obvious and tangible dimension of e-government.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta highlighted the challenges, while delivering a keynote address at the Nigerian e-government Conference, organized by Digiserve Network Services at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja-Lagos.
According to the former University Lecturer, who was represented by the Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, the lack of adequate Information Technology infrastructure, epileptic power/electricity supply, reduced budgetary allocation for ICT are the major challenges that have set back the adoption of e-government.
Other setbacks are the lack of trained and qualified personnel and the resistance to change attitude by public servants and other related issues.
The Commission, also noted that at the centre of e-government adoption is the Internet, which is an important infrastructure that must be available to both the government and the end-user citizens, businesses or other stakeholders to ensure effective interaction with the government.
In this regard, the Commission revealed it has continued to push various initiatives to deepen access to the Internet and by extension, broadband services in the country. Pushing out some figures, the telecom regulator stated that it has exceeded its target for Broadband Penetration in 2018 and will continue its drive towards universal access as detailed in the framework of its 8 Point Agenda.
It added that as of August 2019, 2G subscriptions stood 122.9 million, corresponding to 64.42 percent of the population. Also, there were 49.7 million 3G subscriptions equivalent to 26.03 percent of the population with 17.3 million 4G subscriptions representing 9.07 percent of the population. Broadband penetration on 3G and 4G, which are categorised as broadband networks, therefore, stood at 35.10 percent in August, 2019.
“We are actively exploring the utilisation of television white space (TVWS) technology to expand affordable broadband services to rural areas, while we have issued Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) Licences to some organisations to deploy fibre across the geopolitical zones with Access Points in all the 774 local government areas of the Federation,” it said.
It also adds that it hopes to increase the number of fibre deployment in Nigeria to 127,000 kilometre from its current 42,000 kilometer of fibre connectivity in the country. Through the InfraCo initiatives, therefore, the Commission expects additional 30,000 kilometre of fibre to be added.
Building on the 2000 Telecommunications Policy, the Federal Government in the second quarter of 2019, officially launched the ‘Nigeria e-Government Master Plan 2020’. The Master Plan, which is the brainchild of the Federal Ministry of Communications, is aimed at achieving the Federal Government’s vision and objective of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP), for a virile economy.