The Nigerian Senate, the country’s upper legislative chamber, has officially confirmed the nomination of Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta for reappointment as the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The Senate confirmed Danbatta during its plenary on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 in Abuja, following the consideration of the report of Senator Oluremi Tinubu-led Senate Committee on Communications.
Danbatta had, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, appeared before the Senate Screening Committee and gave impressive accounts of his stewardship as the country’s chief telecoms regulator in the last five years.
The EVC’s appearance before the Senate followed his nomination for reappointment as the umpire for the telecom the industry for another five years by President Muhammad Buhari on June 5, 2020.
Danbatta was appointed, in the first instance, for a five-year term in office as the NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, on August 4, 2015 and was subsequently confirmed by the Senate on November 25, 2015.
With the Senate confirmation, Danbatta has received a vote confidence to continue to steer the regulatory activities of the countries over $70 billion telecommunications industry for another five years towards fast-tracking Federal Government agenda on digital economy development.
Danbatta’s visionary leadership has been hinged on NCC’ Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) for the fiscal years 2015-2020, focused on the 8-Point Agenda, the effective implementation of which has led to impressive broadband penetration which rose from a mere 6.0 percent in 2015 to 40.14 per cent in May, 2020. Active Internet subscriptions also increased from 93 million to over 141 million currently during the period.
The number of active telephone subscribers also rose from 150 million in 2015 to 192.32 million in May 2020 with teledensity currently standing at 100.72 percent, following the rebasing the teledensity to 91 percent in March, 2019.
The increase in broadband penetration, Internet usage, number of access to telephone and several other initiatives by the Commission, especially in the areas of driving tech innovations, creating employment, promoting digital inclusiveness, have helped improve the sector’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution from 8.50 percent in 2015 to over 11 per cent currently, with a lot of digital activities taking place in all the sectors of the economy.
Professor Danbatta is set to consolidate the modest achievements of the past five years by focusing on broadband penetration, consumer protection and empowerment, efficient resource utilisation, and facilitation of fibre infrastructure deployment.