As part of the interactive session Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) had with top media executives recently.
The EVC discussed on the promotion of ICT innovation, investment opportunities and facilitating strategic partnership.
Promoting ICT Innovation & Investment Opportunities
In recognition of the basic role research plays in innovation, the NCC IN 2016 established a Research and Development Department.
Ever since then, the department has continued to collaborate with the academia to support the development of innovative services and life-changing solutions with the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) to promote Indigenous Content Development.
The NCC to date has awarded research grants worth N336.4 million to the academia and has endowed professorial chairs in two Nigerian universities.
The Commission has empowered Nigerian youths through the promotion of their innovation and ingenuity in developing locally-relevant technology solutions.
The most recent of such is the 2020 NCC Virtual Hackathon that saw N9 million grant awarded to three top promising tech startups for solutions aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and epidemic diseases in the thematic areas of Health, Community, Productivity, Economy and Transportation.
NCC recognises that the growth of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria depends on a sustained investment.
In the past five years, NCC has made deliberate attempts in engaging investors in different fora to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
Investors have been shown the Commission’s road map for Broadband which include:
- Open Access Model Initiative
- Infraco Project
- 5G readiness
- Access Gaps for market opportunities
The Commission has also activated mandatory compliance to the Code of Corporate Governance for the telecoms industry in order to build confidence in the sector and ensure that current investors and new players flourish.
This new initiative aims to strengthen telecoms entities, sustain sector’s role as a driver of economic growth and social transformation, and attract investments.
Facilitating Strategic Collaboration and Partnerships
Prof. Umar Danbatta on the assumption of office in 2015, identified the need for NCC to involve more partnership and collaboration from stakeholders. This according to the EVC is one of the cardinal pillars of the 8-Point Agenda.
The NCC has engaged key stakeholders, including the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and government agencies in several consultations, a development which has helped address issues on minimum uniform Right of Way (RoW) charges, multiple taxation, and multiple regulations as well as other issues impeding the deployment of telecoms infrastructure in some states.
Ekiti, Imo, Plateau and Katsina States have complied with the National Economic Council (NEC) resolution, with Anambra and Kaduna States, waiving the charge, Kwara State reducing RoW charges to N1 per linear meter of fibre.
Ogun State, also, waived 250km for Mainone to lay fibre in Ogun State.
The Commission has continued its partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other banks focused on National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS).
Today, Mobile network Operators (MNOs) participate fully in the provision of mobile money services to help actualize the 80% financial inclusion target of the Federal Government by the end of 2020.
Through issuing of USSD Short Codes to banks and other financial institutions, the Commission have helped to boost financial inclusion.
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