INTRODUCTION

The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria to facilitate the achievement of national policy goals for universal access and universal service to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in rural, un-served and underserved areas in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) No 19 of 2003, Part IV detail the Universal Service

Provision (USP) in Nigeria. Section 115 of the Act established the Universal Service Provision Board with the mandate to supervise and provide broad policy directions for the management of the USP Fund.

Section 118 of the Act established the USP Secretariat and states that it shall reside in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and shall be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Universal Service Provision.

The Universal Service Provision Secretariat is structured into nine (9) departments namely;

  1. Office of the Secretary
  2. Information Technology Projects
  3. Infrastructure Projects
  4. Internal Audit
  5. Strategy , Corporate Performance Monitoring
  6. Legal and Secretarial Services
  7. Funding & Subsidy
  8. Procurement
  9. Corporate Services

LOCATION

9th Floor, Nigerian Communication Commission Plot 423 Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja. Nigeria

HEAD OF DEPARTMENT

Secretary, Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) 

Mr. Ayuba Shuaibu

Tel: 09-4617000 ext-7446

Email:

 

MISSION

To facilitate the achievement of universal access to ICT and universal service, through marketbased investment, which stimulate development in rural, un-served and under-served communities.

VISION

Equitable & Sustainable ICT Access for All 

USPF STRATEGIC GOALS 2018-2022

The USPF identified three (3) strategic goals to drive the achievement of its mandate for the next five years i.e. from 2018 to 2022. In articulating its strategic goals, the USPF recognized the need to place priority on building the organizational capacity of the USP Secretariat and ensuring the possession of relevant, up-to-date information on the ICT industry to guide the design and implementation of USP projects, while the other two (2) strategic goals are geared towards what the USPF aims to achieve with respect to its vision. The strategic goals of the USPF are outlined below

USPF Strategic Goals

Goal 1: Facilitate an enabling environment for ICT

Objective

Identify the market efficiency and access gaps and design incentives that would promote the rollout of sustainable ICT services in rural, un-served and underserved areas.

Strategies:

  • Carry out relevant research and studies to determine the market efficiency and true access gaps for different categories of ICT services within the country.
  • Consult with key players in the telecommunications industry to identify the barriers/issues which prevent the market from functioning effectively.
  • Consult and collaborate with the Nigerian Communications Commission and relevant government agencies to design, plan and implement incentives that will facilitate the reduction of market efficiency gaps.

Goal 2: Promote universal access and universal service that facilitate connectivity for development

Objectives: 

  • Facilitate the availability of transmission infrastructure and connection to the national backbone in all LGAs.
  • Drive increasing access to community-based data and voice services on a shared basis and provide a platform for universal service.

Strategies

  • Provide subsidies or other forms of incentives to telecom operators and eligible service providers to extend ICT transmission infrastructure to identified un-served and underserved areas.
  • Explore opportunities to deploy a full suite of universal access and universal service initiatives to enhance utilisation and sustainability of ICT projects.
  • Ensure the co-location and sharing of infrastructure subsidised by USP funds.
  • Consult/collaborate with government agencies, not-for-profit organisations, community based organisations to facilitate connectivity for development initiatives.
  • Encourage community ownership of universal service projects and consequently, promote entrepreneurship in target communities.

Goal 3: Institutional Development

Objectives: 

Strengthen the capability of the USP institution to effectively deliver on its mandate

Strategies: 

  • Ensure alignment of the USP Board and Secretariat’s structure and functions with the vision and strategic goals of the USPF.
  • Identify and execute capacity building initiatives which will equip the USP secretariat with the relevant skills required to drive the achievement of the USPF’s strategic goals. ▪ Process
  • Develop and implement processes which will drive standardisation and efficient service delivery in the Secretariat.

 

 

SERVICE PROVISON

  1. To ensure that ICT is available in rural, un-served and under-served areas/groups in Nigeria.
  2. To ensure that the project implementers deliver cost effective, quality and innovative ICT services in the USPF project sites.
  3. Keeping stakeholders abreast of the development in the telecom sector.
  4. Meeting up with governmental and constitutional requirements on the implementation of the USPF’s Projects.

SERVICE DELIVERY

In discharging the above services the Secretariat promptly attends to customers/stakeholders and staff needs and enquiries via the following mediums:

  1. Letters
  2. Point of contact.
  3. Emails to
  4. Social Media: Twitter, Facebook & Instagram
  5. USPF website : complaint/enquiry & feedback forms

The Secretariat ensures at all times that services are discharged in consonance with the USPF’s core values of Integrity, Collaboration, Team Spirit, Transparency, Innovation, Professionalism and Service Excellence (ICT TIPS)

MONITORING AND PUBLISHING

The Secretariat periodically monitors customer’s perceptions of its services by conducting stakeholder’s consultation forums. Feedbacks via the USPF website are evaluated and areas of improvement are addressed immediately.

DETAILS OF STAKEHOLDERS

  1. The Presidency
  2. National Assembly
  3. Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy
  4. ICT un-served and under-served people, groups or institutions in Nigeria
  5. Nigerian Telecom and ICT Organizations
  6. Government Agencies
  7. SERVICOM
  8. Project Implementers
  9. Technical Auditors
  10. International Organization (International Telecommunications Union, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization etc.)
  11. ICT Industry Experts
  12. The Press
  13. General Public

 

EXPECTATION AND OBLIGATIONS OF CUSTOMERS, STAFF AND MANAGEMENT

CUSTOMERS

  • Customer is expected to work with the Secretariat to establish clear expectations for the program/project and a clearly defined and timely approval process for documents.
  • Customer is expected to maintain a constant flow of open, honest communication with the Secretariat to address opportunities and problems, as well as successes and concerns.
  • Customers can expect to get documents and information that meet their needs from the Secretariat that they can trust.
  • Customers’ interests will be at the heart of how the Secretariat does business.
  • Meeting customers’ fair and reasonable expectations will be the responsibility of the Secretariat.

 

STAFF AND MANAGEMENT

  • Management and Staff as a basic requirement are bound to discharge their responsibilities completely, competently and promptly by keeping themselves abreast of the affairs of the Secretariat, Commission and the industry as well as the laws and regulations.
  • Management and staff are bound to focus all their energy on building an organization that will be deemed a good corporate citizen.
  • Management and staff are bound to crafts communications policies and oversee the development of all statements and news releases for the Secretariat.
  • Management and staff are bound to provide communications that must be clear, concise and relevant to the audience.

GRIEVANCE REDRESS MECHANISM

Stakeholders are enjoined to seek redress by calling or preferably writing to the Secretariat as details:

The Secretary

Attn: Babatunde Amupitan

Corporate Services Department, Room 913

Universal Service Provision Secretariat

Nigerian Communication Commission

Plot 432 Aguiyi Ironsi Street 

Maitama, Abuja

Tel: 09 -4617000 ext-7483

Email:

The Secretariat will acknowledge all complaints / enquiries or feedback within 48hours of receipt and have them treated on or before 5 working days.

STAKEHOLDERS PARTICIPATION IN SERVICE PROVISION

To help the department discharge its duties, customers are expected to:

  • Be fully informed of the department’s Servicom Charter.
  • Follow the laid down procedures/channels for obtaining required services and information.
  • Request/apply in good time to ensure necessary processing.
  • Participate in stakeholders’ forum for briefing of activities of the Secretariat in order to provide/get feedback.

SPECIAL NEEDS PROVISION - E-ACCESSIBILITY

This is the USPF's response to the promotion of access for persons living with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the aim of ITU's member states to achieve global inclusive ICT. The Secretariat implements the project through the deployment of assistive technologies to relevant institutions to address the peculiar needs of the target beneficiaries.

Objective

The objective of this project is derived from Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which specifies in its first paragraph: "To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems..."

The Secretariat provides ICT tools and Assistive Technologies (ATs) to persons with impairment such as sight, hearing, speech, mobility /cognition, and other categories of people living with disabilities. As disadvantaged members of society, the project is designed to assist in improving the quality of life of people living with disability by:

  • Providing support to identified groups in accessing Information and Communication Technologies.
  • Improving the overall learning experience of persons living with disabilities by equipping educators with the right hardware and software
  • Providing ICT and assistive solutions to cover as many areas of disabilities as possible, including but not limited to sight, hearing, mobility etc.

Service Model

This is a fully funded project. Through open competitive bidding, companies are selected to deploy the appropriate assistive technologies to the institutions catering for people living with disabilities.

Benefits

  • Inclusion of people living with disabilities into the knowledge economy
  • Enables persons with disabilities to live independently
  • Improved access to information and services
  • Encouragement of independent and active learning by persons with disabilities Improved capacity of the institutions and teachers

CHARTER REVIEW

As the Secretariat receives feedback and possible consultations with all stakeholders, this Charter will be reviewed from time to time to ensure its continuous relevance and validity.

LIMITATIONS

The Secretariat is poised to work with its stakeholders towards the growth and development of the Nigerian ICT sector however, the following challenges/limitations impede service provision as embedded in the USPF’s SMP goals:

  1. Poor Infrastructural Facilities: Lack of suitable buildings in some selected schools to house equipment and network infrastructures and the non-availability of adequate public infrastructure such as accessible roads in rural areas has been an impediment for successful project delivery over the years.
  2. Non-availability and Inadequate Public Power Supply: Incessant power outages in most locations have exerted pressure on the generator and solar power solutions provided in some sites which has led to the breakdown of the power source and ultimately power cut to the ICT tools. This has led to the facilities in some locations not being optimally utilized.
  3. Security Concerns: Security of lives of personnel of operating companies and network equipment is a concern that hampers the extension of telecommunication and ICT services to some parts of the country. Civil unrest and insurgency in some parts of the country are great hurdles preventing implementers and USP staff from carrying out their activities. This has led to implementation delays and project overrun in those locations. Another major concern is theft and wanton destruction of ICT equipment in some sites leading to total collapse of the project and unusable to beneficiaries.
  4. High cost of Bandwidth: High cost of providing bandwidth for School Knowledge Center (SKC), Tertiary Institution Knowledge Center (TIKC), Community Resource Centres (CRC) and other bandwidth dependent projects of the USPF has contributed to a drastic reduction in sustaining the ICT projects implemented by the Fund.
  5. Right of way, Certificate of Ownership for land: Issues affecting the effective execution of some projects such as Backbone Transmission Infrastructure (BTRAIN), University Inter Campus Connectivity Optic Fiber Cable (UnICC OFC), and Base Transceiver Station (BTS) include: Right of Way, Certificate of Ownership for land acquisition by operators, multiple regulations regarding erection of towers (LGA, State Governments, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency) etc.
  6. Other Challenges: Difficulties experienced by implementers in respect of project completion within the stipulated timeline.