NCC tasks stakeholders on local content development in ICT

Na’ankwat Dariem, Abuja

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has tasked stakeholders in the Information Communications Technology, ICT sector to leverage opportunities in the sector through local contenT development.
This creates employment, boost the economy and provide home grown solutions to the emerging challenges in the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, stated this at the Emerging Technologies Research and ICT Innovation Forum, in Keffi, Nasarawa State North-Central Nigeria.
The theme of the 2-day Forum is: ‘Developing Nigeria’s Tech Eco-System: Imperative for improving Local Content’.
Danbatta who was represented by the Director of New Media and Information Security, NCC, Dr. Haru Alhassan  said that the forum was necessary to promote local content with emphasis on the Tech ecosystem, identify unmet needs and facilitate Public private Partnership (PPP).
According to him, given the wide availability of information technology to serve markets globally.
“It is imperative that the right frameworks are developed to enhance the ability of indigenous companies to maximally explore and exploit local opportunities as well as remain globally competitive. Nasarawa state has been the prominent State at the forefront of technology innovation in being the “Home of Solid Minerals” with plethora of skilled man power is central to the technological development of the North Central region.”
Danbatta said that the commission, in its efforts to promote  the ICT sector has embarked on assessing development and challenges in geopolitical zones of the country.
He noted that Mobile Network Operators have developed an infrastructure to support voice and data services, adding that it has become expedient for them to unlock new services and sources of value generation and revenue streams in their operations.
“It has therefore become necessary to innovate how to access segments of the Consumer wallets not presently allocated to communication by providing solutions to Consumer needs in other vertical areas.
Areas such as education, health, government services, should be made available through telecoms network infrastructure. We have to be innovative to make different aspects of our lives work. We intend to assist the various tech hubs with the right intervention and support to ease operations,” the EVC said.
The Executive Commissioner Technical Standards, Mr. Ubali Maska, said that the forum was driven by the urgency to facilitate and support ICT innovators, tech enthusiasts and tech entrepreneurs as a strategy to leapfrogging Nigeria into the digital economy.
Represented by the Director Technical Standards NCC, Bako Wikil, he said  it was designed to advance the Commission’s agenda of promoting ICT Innovation and tech entrepreneurship to facilitate local content development while leveraging on the power of digital technology to position Nigeria for the 21st century digital revolution.
“Today, ICT is continuously having an increasing transformational impact on our socio- economic lives. This is manifesting in the way we live, socialise, learn, trade and even the way we do business.
“It is a fact that ICT will remain the engine of economic growth, driving the future of nations and Nigeria has a lot to gain from its far reaching applications and adoption. Indeed tomorrow belongs to those who can create and innovate today.This informed our choice of the Home of Solid Minerals as the preferred place for this edition of the lCT Innovation Forum. It is our expectation and hope that more startups would debut in this region after this Forum.’’
Maska noted that the Commission has introduced schemes that will promote innovations and facilitate tech entrepreneurship
We believe that this is very critical if we must:”Facilitate the introduction of new value added services that will improve consume quality experience; Unlock entrepreneurial potentials of our teeming youths Improve indigenous capacity;Boost local content development, and very importantly support Mr. President’s next level agenda of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.”
In his remarks, the Keynote speaker, Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, urged government and other stakeholders to invest in human capacity development to drive the digital eco system.
“There is the need to accelerate the development of Hubs, Incubators and participants of those hubs. We need to find a  identify young people with concepts ,business ventures that can cause transformation in every sector of life to an environment which is productive and build an eco- system of the country.”
A Tech Entrepreneur and  participant, Mr. Mohammed Jega, commended the government for coming up with this strategic event, adding that this was the first time that innovators felt wanted in the country.
“We thought that we were left alone because the government did not understand what we were doing but to engage us now to critically discuss areas of working together and how to develop local content is applauding.We have a lot of hubs now located in the geopolitical zones of the country, which have changed the narratives,” he said.
The forum provides opportunity to bring together key players in the ICT value chain to deliberate and suggest policies, regulatory frameworks and strategies to facilitate innovation, stimulate market growth and create value in the industry.