By FUNMILOLA GBOTEKU
LAGOS- The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Friday urged stakeholders to intensify efforts in the promotion of Nigeria’s indigenous telecommunications sector.
The Executive Vice President of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made this known during an event organised by the Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo) in Lagos.
The theme of the event was, “Establishing Trackable Metrics for Developing Nigeria’s Indigenous Telecoms Sector”.
Danbatta, who was represented by Babagana Digima, the Head of Nigeria Office for Developing the Indigenous Telecom Sector (NODITS), said that 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 had always laid emphasises on the development of effective local participation of the telecoms sector value chain.
Danbatta also said that the Federal Government had in 2021 launched a national policy for Promotion of Indigenous Content (NPPIC) spearheaded by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, in recognition of the pertinent need to develop indigenous capacity in the telecom sector.
He said that to ensure the effective implementation of the NPPIC, the commission articulated several targets and high impact interventions, which were Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based (SMART).
“We have not only identified a number of critical stakeholders in the industry, but we have engaged over 30 different entities ranging from MDAs, Mobile Network Operators and SIM manufacturers and mast manufacturers via Nigeria Office for Developing the Indigenous Telecom Sector.
“At a higher level, the commission had identified some time-based metrics for NPPIC which it classified into immediate, short term, medium term, and long-term items.
“Some of the activities includes creation of NODITS dedicated to guiding the policy, constitution of local content steering committee and engagement with relevant internal and external stakeholders.
“Others include commissioning baseline studies on the level of indigenous content in the Nigerian telecoms industry, development of regulations, enforcement key performance Indicators and methodologies,” Danbatta said.
He said that transforming the action points into metrics would not only streamline the implementation of the policy but also provide for a SMART system to show progress.
Danbatta said the commission was therefore counting on the efforts of industry stakeholders, watchdogs and partners to create independent metrics that would ensure the achievements of the goals of the NPPIC.
He said that NCC was delighted to note that some of the actions it implemented through NODITS had yielded fruits.
Danbatta said to show the commission’s commitment ,the NODITS would be hosting its maiden edition of Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE 2022) on Aug.1 and Aug. 2.
He said the theme of the event was: “Stimulating Development of Indigenous Content through Innovation and Commercialisation”.
He said that the main objective of NTICE 2022 was to promote the four focus areas of the NPPIC in the telecommunications sector which were manufacturing, service, people, research and development for innovation.
In his remarks, Mr Omobayo Azeez, Lead Executive at PIAFo and Covener of the event, said that the telecommunications sector had unarguably become one indispensable economic enabler for the country and its people.
He said that in spite of the commendable trajectory, the sector remains grossly dependent on foreign inputs which at the end of every operating year resulted into capital flights in excess of 2.16 billion dollars.
Azeez said that when operators had to depend solely on foreign talents, solutions, equipment and accessories, they would also have to deal with the hassle of accessing forex as one of the major problems.
“Aas such, operators and customers suffer and even our dear Naira is also at a receiving end as it continues to lose value,” he said.
Azeez urged the Federal Government to use its NPPIC to reverse this trend, to enable the telecoms industry and the country grow. (NAN)