Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The leadership of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) at the weekend stated that a weak and uncoordinated monitoring, evaluation and feedback mechanism in the communications and digital subsector was slowing down growth.
The NSE, therefore called on the regulator and other industry players to work together to ensure the strengthening of the sector’s feedback processes to accelerate the expected advancement of the communications sector.
In a communiqué read by NSE President, Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil, at the end of the 55th National Engineering Conference, Exhibition and Annual General Meeting in Abuja, the NSE said that inadequate and outright lack of modern communications infrastructure were affecting the spread, reliability, connectivity, cost, accessibility, and penetration of digital inclusion.
“There is weak and uncoordinated monitoring, evaluation and feedback mechanism in the communication and digital subsector affect(ing) the implementation of strategies and programmes for enhanced growth and effectiveness.
“There is the need for strengthening of monitoring, evaluation and feedback mechanism through the collective action of regulators, operators, service providers and technical partners championed by professional bodies,” Gidari-Wudil, noted.
The five-day programme tagged: “Advancing the Frontiers of Communication and Digital Economy in Nigeria,” had in attendance, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Adeleke Mamora and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Patanmi, who was represented by the Director General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Aziz.
Other notable persons were the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Okon Umana, Executive Director, Sahara Group, Mr. Kola Adesina, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwakwanso, among others.
While commending the efforts of the federal government as enabler in championing safe and secured digital Nigeria as well as promoting inclusive growth on a sustainable basis, the NSE stated that there has been an apparent improvement in provision of services and commerce triggered by adoption and adaptation of digital technologies which need to be sustained.
It stated that digital innovations and technologies were transforming the rural and urban market structure with gradual integration leading to improvement in job and wealth creation for enhanced livelihood of the rural populace.
The NSE also recognised the separate efforts of public and private sector in human and institutional capacity development in the various aspect of communication and digital economy with little synergy.
However, it noted that the slow pace in creating the enabling environment for the sector was hindering the full realisation of Private Sector Participation (PSP) and exploitation of the huge opportunity created by the adoption of digital technologies.
The Society observed that there wass limited investment and transparency in the development and deployment of technologies and innovations as well as the requisite human capital development to intervene and mitigate the recurrence of annual flooding.
The engineering body stated that to sustain the advancement of communication and digital economy, the government in collaboration with the private sector and other key stakeholders should ensure implementation of policies and strategies and enforce compliance with laws and regulations.
“To create a favourable enabling environment for the digital economy to strive, government needs to increase investment and partnership in the provision of modern communication infrastructure to enhance the sustainable growth of digital environment for efficiency.
“It needs to strengthen the critical enablers to motivate the service providers for sustainable quality service delivery.
“It should promote private sector led and government facilitation in the expansion and deepening rural and urban market structure integration through the deployment of digital technologies and innovations.
“There should be deliberate effort to remove the existing barriers in human and institutional capacity development within the public sector and between the private sector to ensure synergistic operations and complementarity in communication and digital innovation,” the communiqué added.
It stressed that government at all levels need to as a matter of urgency ensure the provision of critical enablers including energy, security and skilled labour to encourage more partnership with the private sector in upgrading infrastructure and efficient service delivery.
The NSE urged government to promote targeted empowerment programmes initiated by the ministries and private sector in the communication and digital economy sector to exploit maximally opportunities available.
The communiqué also called for proactive measures at all levels of government and other stakeholders supported by effective enforcement of best practices including communication and digital technologies for flood control.
It noted that internal security matters needed to be on the concurrent list to have inclusive participation and synergy in curbing crimes at all levels.
“To enhance coordination and efficiency in intelligence management, there should be a national security and control centre with a unified command and control, and coordination structure for proactive crisis detection, response, and management,” the NSE added.