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Innocent Cyril (@admin)
4 months ago

NTICE 2023: As NCC Reiterates Commitment To Harnessing Indigenous Contents

As indicated by the countless accomplishments of the sector, the Nigerian telecoms industry is without a doubt one of the largest contributors to the socioeconomic development of the nation.

It is appropriate to point out that the sector‘s performance, which contributed 19.54 percent to Nigeria‘s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Q2 2023, played a key role in Nigeria‘s recovery from the recession.

This represented an increase in contribution compared to the 18.44 percent recorded in the same period last year.

In addition, two of Nigeria‘s most valuable listed firms, with a combined market value of more than N10.45 trillion, are located in the sector.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), „Quarter on quarter, the sector also recorded growth in real GDP contribution when compared to the 17.47 percent it added in Q1, 2023.

“While the ICT sector recorded a growth rate of 11.64 percent in real terms year on year in the quarter under review, the growth was driven largely by activities in the telecommunications sub-sector, which contributed 16.06 percent to the GDP in the real term. The sector also contributed 14.83 percent to the total Nominal GDP in the second quarter of 2023, 12.12 percent recorded in the same quarter of 2022, and higher than the 13.23 percent it contributed to the preceding quarter.”

Recall that the Commission awarded licenses for the 3.5GHz Spectrum band to three operators through an auction in 2021 and 2022, generating more than $820 million in revenue to support the rollout of Fifth Generation (5G) services to Nigeria. This put Nigeria ahead of several other nations on the 5G map of the world, throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

The question now is “How can these achievements be sustained?“

In his response, the executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta averred that, “In order to sustain and further improve the quality of service and quality of experience in telecommunications services in Nigeria, we must embrace indigenous content and value creation within the telecoms value chain.”

As an effort to embrace indigenous content, the Commission has created the Nigeria Office for the Development of the Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) as a special purpose vehicle under the Commission to drive the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector in July 2021.

The Office was given four areas of focus: Manufacturing, Human Capacity, Research & Development (R&D), and Software & Services development for the telecoms sector.

“One year after, the Office, through its yearly program: ‚the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content EXPO (NTICE)‘, has recorded great achievements, as it has served not only to promote Pillar number 5 (Strategic Partnering) of the Strategic Management Plan SMP 2020- 2024 of the Commission but has also become the flagship indigenous content event for the industry.”

Recall that the ban on the importation of whole-body SIM cards was announced by the executive vice chairman of NCC, at the maiden edition of NTICE 2022, an event last year.

“Local SIM-cards manufacturing market now valued at N55 billion, after one year of the ban on the importation of whole-body SIM cards in the ICT sector,“ Danbatta disclosed this at the 2nd edition of the NTICE 2023, in Lagos.”

Danbatta who was represented by the executive commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Engr. Ubale Maska at NTICE 2023, averred that the ban has not only eased the burden on the sector‘s demand for foreign exchange but has also created a business in excess of N55 billion for the local SIM card manufacturers in Nigeria which, in turn, have created direct and indirect jobs.

“Nigeria with its rich history of innovation, resilience, and creativity as well as our diverse culture, talents, and perspectives has birthed solutions that uniquely cater to our challenges and aspirations. The NTICE 2023 platform is a celebration of these achievements, a testament to the Nigerian spirit of ingenuity,“ Danbatta said.

Danbatta, posited that NTICE is not only an exhibition but it is also a gathering of industry players that embodies the spirit of innovation, resilience, collaboration, and progress, while assuring that the Commission is fully committed to the drive of the federal government to place the Nigerian Economy on a sustainable pedestal through all the necessary policies put in place.

To further boost indigenous content, the EVC disclosed that, „The Commission has also incentivized the manufacturing of Corrugated Optical Duct (COD) that will be used to protect our fiber infrastructure from the incessant cuts experienced by our service providers.”

The Commission is equally committed to continuously supporting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Innovators to promote talented young persons and ventures through Angel Investments, R&D support, exposure to Investors, and sponsorship to local and international tech events, he assured.

He, however, called on stakeholders to embrace NTICE as a symbol of collective potential, a platform to celebrate the sector‘s achievements, and a driving force to propel Nigeria towards a brighter, more digitally empowered future.

„Having recognized the persistent digital divide that exists within our nation, let us seize the opportunities presented by NTICE to bridge this gap by advocating for accessible technology and ensuring that the benefits of innovation are extended to every corner of Nigeria. This inclusivity is crucial in driving equitable growth and empowering communities to be active participants in the digital revolution.

„We note that in a world that is increasingly interconnected and digital, the concept of technological sovereignty holds immense significance. This event stands as a beacon of Nigeria‘s commitment to taking charge of its technological destiny. By promoting indigenous content, we are not only fostering economic growth but also asserting our autonomy and self-reliance in the digital realm.

“NTICE is a declaration of Nigeria‘s commitment to shaping its digital destiny. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, let us remember that our progress is intrinsically linked to our ability to harness the power of indigenous innovation, leverage technology for positive change, and ensure that no one is left behind on this transformative journey,“ Danbatta further stated.”

In an era where connectivity is the backbone of progress, where the digital realm intertwines with every facet of our lives, the nation‘s telecom industry stands as a beacon of advancement,” NODITS team lead, Engr. Babagana Digima, said, adding that it is not just about communication but about empowerment, education, healthcare, commerce, and beyond.

“We recognize that the key to unlocking the immense potential lies in our ability to harness the wealth of indigenous content, to leverage our unique perspectives and talents, and to channel them towards the greater good. This expo is not just a congregation of like-minded individuals; it‘s a nexus of innovation and creativity.

“It is a platform where ideas are exchanged, partnerships are forged, and collaborations are born. It is a space where the synergy of diverse minds transforms into actionable strategies that will propel us towards new horizons of economic growth and sustainable development,” Digima posited.

Still on harnessing local talents, the chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, alluded that the sector is losing a lot of its best and the brightest to japa syndrome, adding that, „We can‘t blame our youths who are traveling in search of a greener pasture, because as a country, we have not been able to provide enough social guarantees that will keep them.”

Adebayo, however, tasked the industry to begin to make preparation for their returns. „Some of them may not want to come home, hence the need for them to work remotely. They can still be in foreign countries and also contribute to the development of the Nigerian ICT sector. All the government needs to do is to create a policy that would allow them to contribute to the pool of knowledge and operators to give out good incentives to encourage them.”

In response, the executive commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Engr. Ubale Maska, affirmed that there are huge talents in Nigeria that need to be harnessed. On the effort to tackle the ‚japa syndrome‘, Maska disclosed that a lot of policies have been created to address brain drain in the ICT sector. „We recently had a meeting with Nigerians in the diaspora. The thrust of the meeting is to ensure that they get value for their innovations,“ he further explained.

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