The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has expressed its total commitment to ensuring the promotion of indigenous content in the telecommunications sector.
The commitment of the commission was expressed on Thursday by its Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta while delivering a keynote address at the maiden Virtual Policy Implementation Assisted Forum event (PIAFo) on the National Policy for Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector.
His words: “I would like to assure you that the Commission is wholly committed to realising the vision of Mr. President for promoting indigenous content in the telecommunications sector as has been done in the Agricultural and Petroleum sectors to achieve our goals of significant participation, preservation of scarce foreign exchange and improving the lives of Nigerians.”
Danbatta said to ensure effective implementation of the objectives of the policy to promote indigenous content, NCC was developing a robust compliance monitoring and enforcement framework leveraging on existing mechanisms.
He said the commission was spurred by the words of President Muhammadu Buhari which emphasised on the need for Nigerians to play a major role in the design and manufacture of devices, in meeting the manpower requirements and in becoming an active part of the telecommunications ecosystem of the country.
“Indigenous Content Development in the Nigerian Telecom sector is set to fly, and the commission calls on all its stakeholders to come on board to achieve maximum success,” Danbatta said.
He spoke on NCC ’s roadmap for the implementation of the policy for the promotion of indigenous content in the Nigerian telecom sector.
Said he: “As required by the Policy, the Commission has established the Nigeria Office for Developing the Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS). This office is saddled with the responsibility of implementation of the NPPIC as well as the Executive Orders 003 and 005. Relevant portions of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025 as well as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) are also under the purview of this new office called NODITS.
“Other Departments within the Commission are equally saddled with responsibilities that help to inculcate indigenous participation in the telecom sector. Efforts being made by the Research & Development and Licensing Departments are worthy of mention in that regard. Under the auspices of the Research & Development Department, the Commission has sponsored research efforts in several universities across the country. Notable areas of research conducted include “Development of All Weather Solar Systems For Energy Optimization in a Mobile Communications Base Stations” (at Ekiti State University of Technology), “Design and Fabrication of Meta-material Inspired UWB/MIMO Antenna for the 5G-Sub 6GHz Application” (at Taraba State University) and “Intelligent Autonomous Multi-UAVs (Multiple Drones) Swarm Monitoring for Effective Surveillance and Situation Awareness in the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry” (at Gombe State University). By these activities the Commission seeks to identify with and harness local resources in Nigerian institutions of learning for the benefit of the industry.
“Through R&D, the Commission has also successfully initiated Professorial Chairs in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), University of Ibadan, Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) and Bayero University Kano. This is informed by the need to establish concrete local linkages to deepen the relationship between the telecom industry and the academia in Nigeria; and to provide the missing integration and collaborative partnership required to galvanise qualitative indigenous solutions in telecommunications in Nigeria. R&D also supports the development of local Tech-Hubs and hackathon initiatives aimed at supporting indigenous upstarts, App developers and ICT innovators in general.
“The Commission has identified several areas of collaboration with other Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations such as National Office for Technology Acquisition & Promotion (NOTAP), Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), National Agency for Science & Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Rockefeller Foundation. Equally, there are plans towards direct intervention in line with subsisting policies e.g., in the local production of corrugated optical ducts (COD) to cater for fibre requirements in Nigeria and ultimately for export.”
The NCC boss pointed out that with the constitution of the NODITS, the industry should expect new guidelines and regulations bordering on indigenous content, local manufacturing of telecom equipment, outsourcing of services, construction and lease of telecoms ducts, succession planning in the telecoms sector, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, etc. as the need might arise.
He added that the commission had already constituted a standing licensing review committee that was currently examining all its licenses in an effort not only of modernising it to reflect the current realities of technology and development but also to consolidate, bundle or un-bundle individual licenses or even create new licenses.
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