WorldStage Newsonline – The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged stakeholders to step up their efforts in promoting Nigeria’s indigenous telecommunications sector.
The NCC’s Executive Vice President, Prof. Umar Danbatta made the point on Friday at an event organized by the Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo) in Lagos.
The theme of the event was “Establishing traceable measures for the development of the indigenous telecommunications sector in Nigeria”.
Danbatta, who was represented by Babagana Digima, the head of the Nigerian Office for the Development of the Indigenous Telecommunications Sector (NODITS), said the development of the indigenous telecommunications sector was vital for the growth of the country.
He said that the Commission’s policy and regulatory framework has always emphasized the development of effective local participation in the value chain of the telecommunications sector.
Danbatta also said that the federal government launched in 2021 a National Indigenous Content Promotion Policy (NPPIC) led by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, in recognition of the relevant need to develop indigenous capacities in the telecommunications sector.
He said that to ensure the effective implementation of the NPPIC, the commission articulated several high-impact objectives and interventions, which were Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART).
“We have not only identified a number of key players in the industry, but have engaged over 30 different entities ranging from MDAs, Mobile Network Operators and SIM card and mast manufacturers through the Nigeria Office for Developing the Indigenous Telecom Sector.
“At a higher level, the commission had identified time parameters for NPPIC which it categorized into immediate, short-term, medium-term and long-term.
“Some of the activities include creating NODITS dedicated to policy guidance, building a local content steering committee, and engaging with relevant internal and external stakeholders.
“Others include commissioning baseline studies on the level of indigenous content in the Nigerian telecom industry, developing regulations, applying key performance indicators and methodologies,” Danbatta said.
He said turning action points into measures would not only streamline policy implementation but also provide a SMART system to show progress.
Danbatta said the commission therefore relies on the efforts of industry stakeholders, watchdogs and partners to create independent metrics that would ensure the goals of the NPPIC are met.
He said NCC was pleased to see that some of the actions implemented through NODITS had paid off.
Danbatta said that to show the commission’s commitment, the NODITS would host its first edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Exhibition (NTICE 2022) on August 1-2.
He said the theme of the event was: “Stimulating Indigenous Content Development through Innovation and Commercialization”.
He said the main objective of NTICE 2022 is to promote the four focus areas of NPPIC in the telecommunications sector, namely manufacturing, services, people, research and development for innovation.
In his address, Mr. Omobayo Azeez, Senior Director of PIAFo and organizer of the event, said that the telecommunications sector has unquestionably become an indispensable economic catalyst for the country and its people.
He said that despite the commendable trajectory, the sector remains largely dependent on foreign inputs which, at the end of each year of operation, resulted in capital flight of over $2.16 billion.
Azeez said that when traders had to rely solely on foreign talent, solutions, equipment and accessories, they would also have to face the hassle of accessing forex as one of the major issues.
“As such, operators and customers are suffering and even our dear Naira is also struggling as it continues to lose value,” he said. Azeez urged the federal government to use its NPPIC to reverse this trend, to allow the telecommunications industry and the country to grow.