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NTICE 2023: NCC committed to supporting MSMEs, telecoms contribution to GDP –Danbatta

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of  Nigerian Communications Commission, affirms the telecoms industry will continue to encourage technoprenuership while supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Innovators to ‘promote talented young persons and ventures’ in the country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged stakeholders in the telecoms sector and the entire digital ecosystem to evolve more indigenous content development and address the skill gaps among other issues in the industry.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said this in his welcome address at the second edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content EXPO (NTICE 2023), held on Victoria Island, Lagos, recently.

ConsumerConnect reports NTICE is regarded as the only telecoms event in that is solely focused on Indigenous Content promotion, development and adaptation in Nigeria, which featured pitching event called NTICE SELECT.

Danbatta, who spoke on this year’s theme for the event, This year’s event theme, “Harnessing Indigenous Content for Economic Growth; Networking to boost Investment”, described the annual expo as a remarkable opportunity to celebrate and showcase Nigeria’s achievements in the world of telecommunications, technology, indigenous content creation and adoption in the digital economy.

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, Danbatta noted.

Represented on the occasion by Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services at NCC, the NCC Executive Vice-Chairman stated urged the stakeholders and participants in the event through the “Expo, Pitch and Panel” sessions to recognise “the transformative power of domestic innovation and the pivotal role it plays in shaping digital future of nations, their economies and their futures.”

Telecoms among biggest contributor to socio-economic growth, says EVC

Restating the strategic importance and contribution of the telecoms industry to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) especially in the last few years, Prof. Danbatta stressed the sector is among the biggest contributors to socio-economic growth of the West African country in regard to several achievements recorded in the sector.

He noted: “The sector’s performance was instrumental in lifting Nigeria out of recession with 12.45% contribution to the GDP in (fourth quarter) Q4 2020. This figure increased to 14.13% as of Q1 2023.”

In order to sustain and further improve Quality of Service and Quality of Experience in telecommunications services in Nigeria,  Danbatta said: “We must embrace indigenous content and value creation within the telecoms value chain, otherwise, increase in telecoms tariff will be inevitable.

“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.”

NODITS remains committed to promotion of indigenous content in telecoms ecosystem

According to the NCC Chief, the telecoms sector is also home to two of the most valuable listed companies in the country, with a collective market capitalisation in excess of N10.45 trillion.

Danbatta disclosed the telecoms regulatory Commission, in 2021 and 2022, generated revenue in excess of USD$820million from the auction and grant of 3.5GHz Spectrum band licences to three mobile network operators, namely, MTN Nigeria, Airtel Networks and Mafab Communications to boost the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) services in Nigeria.

The Commission’s effort at activating the 5G technology in the country has “placed Nigeria on the global 5G map ahead of many countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East,” said he.

Danbatta also said as the Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) of consumers had continued to improve in the telecoms sector, stakeholders “must embrace indigenous content and value creation within the telecoms value chain, otherwise, increase in telecoms tariff will be inevitable.”

He, nonetheless, acknowledged the increase in cost-of-service provision to the telecoms operators in Nigeria.

He assured: “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.”

Strategic objectives of NODITS

Speaking on the creation of the Nigeria Office for Development of Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) in his address,the EVC/CEO disclosed the Commission created the Office as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to drive the National Policy for Promotion of Indigenous Content in the telecoms sector July 2021.

According to him, the NCC established NODITS to address four areas of focus, including Manufacturing, Human Capacity, Research & Development (R&D) and Software & Services development for the telecoms sector.

He said: “I am happy to inform you that NTICE is one of the achievements of NCC through NODITS because 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.”

The Commission, Danbatta stated, has also incentivised the manufacturing of Corrugated Optical Duct (COD) that will be used to protect our fibre infrastructure from the incessant cuts experienced by our service providers.

In order to encourage technoprenuership in the Nigerian telecoms and digital ecosystem, he noted that the Commission is equally committed to continuously supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Innovators to promote our talented young persons and ventures though Angel Investments, R&D support, exposure to Investors and sponsorship to local and international tech events.

How policy generates over N55bn for local SIM Card manufacturers

Danbatta as well mentioned another key achievement of our policies as the ban on importation of whole body SIM Cards.

He stated: “This ban has not only eased the burden on our demand for foreign exchange but has also created business in excess of N55billion for the local SIM Cards manufacturers in Nigeria which in turn has 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 for our challenges and aspirations.

The Executive Vice-Chairman further explained the NTICE 2023 platform is a celebration of these itemised achievements, a testament to the Nigerian spirit of ingenuity.

He declared that NTICE is also a place to nurture and support the burgeoning talent pool within Nigeria.

He noted: “By showcasing indigenous innovations and providing opportunities for young entrepreneurs, we are not only nurturing our local talents but also encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship and creativity that will propel Nigeria onto the global stage of technological leadership.

Danbatta, therefore, urged the industry stakeholders and participants in the expo to take the opportunities presented by NTICE 2023 to bridge this gap by advocating 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.

“By promoting indigenous content, we are not only fostering economic growth but also asserting our autonomy and self-reliance in the digital realm,” stated.

Likewise in his address on the occasion, Engr. Babagana Digima, Team Lead at NODITS, said the event was a testament to the country’s commitment to fostering homegrown solutions that not only drive economic prosperity but also propel us towards a future brimming with endless possibilities.

Digima stated in the era where connectivity is the backbone of progress.

He stated where the digital realm intertwines with every facet of people’s lives, “our nation’s telecom industry stands as a beacon of advancement. “It is not just about communication, but about empowerment, education, healthcare, commerce, and beyond.

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