Stakeholders in ICT said there need for apex industry regulator to replicate successful oil & gas local content policy to build local capacity in information technology.
Stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) have urged apex industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to replicate successful oil and gas local content policy in ICT in order to build local capacity through technology transfer in the sector.
They were speaking at the just concluded Nigeria Information and Communications Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA) titled: ‘Engendering Local Innovation in the Nigerian Telecom Sector.’’
Chairman of Zinox Group and chairman of the occasion, Leo Stan Ekeh in his opening remarks said technology revolution is the way to go.
He said Zinox saw the future of the industry close to two decades ago, citing the Abacha regime as setting the pace and subsequent regimes have continued to bring transformations to the industry.
‘‘we believes that should government be bold enough to invest about 500m dollars on just four Nigerians, they can build multi-billion dollar companies that will take million of young people out of labour market; even more than Dangote and some other sectors have done.’’
In a Keynote Address, Public Relations Manager, Chineze Amanfo representing Mr. Ibrahim Dikko, VP, Regulatory & Public Affairs, Etisalat Nigeria said Etisalat is happy to be part of the seminar because NITRA is forward looking in realising the need to support and promoting local capacity.
She said that the telecoms sector is growing with countless opportunities.
She noted that Etisalat realises the need for capacity building for the sector because most of the resources are sourced abroad, but Etisalat has decided to tackle the challenge.
‘‘For instance, Etisalat has gone ahead to establish a Masters’ Degree with Alhmadu Bello University in conjunction with,Etisalat Academy in Dubai and Billmort University, UK to train engineers and develop a poll of manpower for supporting the telecom industry.’’
The Company, as part of its innovative strides, came up with the idea of Etisalat Prize of Innovations’ Award.
Etisalat, she added also believes it is high time industry stakeholders came together to develop the sector, she said.
Chairman, Teledom Group, Emmanuel Ekuwem emphasised that innovation has transformed the world and that Nigeria cannot afford to stay behind.
Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Eugene Juwah, represented by Executive Commissioner at NCC, Mr. Mike Onyia said building capacity in ICT industry will deepen local capacity.
According to him, the Commission has adopted technology neutrality in its licensing process. The reason for this is to encourage local innovation in the provision of services. Restriction of service to specific technologies may not allow for innovation.
‘Provision of choice with the entry of multiple providers, and encouraging competition using regulatory tools is also designed to encourage local innovation in the provision of services. It is well known that innovation provides mutual benefit to bother the service provider and consumer of the service.’’
He further added that ‘‘We will continue to encourage innovations in all aspects of the industry. It is also appropriate to predict that when broadband services become very much available in Nigeria as planned, it will also come with inevitable push for more innovations the ways services are delivered today.’’
NITRA President, Emma Okonji said
“In order to build upon the current achievements in telecoms, NITRA has taken it as a point of duty to the industry to use its quarterly seminar series, as veritable platform, to advance discussions on the need to promote local innovations in the telecoms industry”.