Business Hilights
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Industry experts await policy rejig to fast track targets from reconstituted NBP Comte.

Following the reconstitution of the National Broadband Committee in Abuja last week, by the

Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu last week, industry experts have started setting agenda for the body as part of efforts to keep tab with target delivery timelines.

Currently Nigeria has a roadmap tagged the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2013-2018.

Business Hilights gathered that the members of the Committee are to remain the same, but the incumbent Minister in his wisdom decided to re-constitute the Committee to refresh their mandates.

It would be recalled that the National Broadband Committee was inaugurated by former President Goodluck Jonathan through the then Ministry of Communications and Technology, headed by Mrs. Johnson Omobola on September 20, 2012.

The Committee’s mandate, which was co- chaired by the former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe and the founder of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia was to draw up a national broadband strategy and roadmap.

The committee later came up with the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018 which was adopted with a target of achieving a 30 percent broadband penetration across Nigeria from the less than 10 per cent it was when the committee was inaugurated.

Though the mandate of the committee was just refreshed in their memory going by the reconstitution, analysts say, efforts should be made to fund the activities of the committee so that they can achieve good results.

An industry expert who spoke to our correspondent on Sunday said “I think reconstituting the Committee should not be the issue, but seeking how the constituted one is faring and how they can be assisted to achieve a good result”.

The industry expert who pleaded anonymity queried the rationale behind a mere reconstitution rather than possibly giving the members what they need to do achieve their mandate because, as it is, several indices of telecommunications growth are looking down.

“It was few years back that ICT was next to oil in growing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and not now again. The Committee need to find out the hurdles militating against the growth of telecoms and resolve the puzzles before the sector goes moribund.

“I think again, that observed drop in the number of data users should be a source of worry for the Committee and especially now a new data released by the NCC just showed that telecoms are losing both subscribers in voice and data services. The development calls for serious concern I must say.