Billy Graham Abel, Yola
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), Umar Garba Danbatta, says the Commission is poised to finding solutions through the developement of local content in the tech and ICT industry.
According to Danbatta, the NCC in its the fourth edition of its emerging technologies forum is focused on exploring and exploiting local content within the tech eco-system with a view to addressing Nigeria’s emerging challenges and to open new frontiers of opportunities to capture unmet needs in the country.
Danbatta made the remarks at the Emerging Technologies Consultative and ICT Innovation Forum held in Yola, Adamawa State.
He said the NCC has already assessed the developmental needs and challenges of Nigeria’s six geopolitical regions and how tech entrepreneurs and ICT innovation could be harnessed to address them.
“The commission in its effort to encourage Tech Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the ICT sector, embarked on visitations to various Tech Startups at the six geopolitical zones to assess their developement and challenges,” Danbatta said.
“We intend to assist the various Tech Hubs with the right interventions and support to ease their operations.
“The ICT innovation Forum has become necessary to promote local content with emphasis on the Tech Eco-System, identifying unmet needs and facilitate public private partnership (PPP).”
He added that “based on this premise, we themed our forum “Developing Nigeria’s Tech Eco-System: Imperative for Improving local Content.”
“With the growing pressure of globalisation, every government, as well as, captains of industry are charged with the burden of finding ways to ensure that we remain competitive and capable of fulfilling local demand.
“Not only that but 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 indegenous companies to maximally explore and exploit local opportunities as well as, remain globally competitive.
“Whereas mobile network operators have developed infrastructure to support voice services and access to data, it has become expedient for them to unlock new services of sources of value generation and revenue streams in their operations.
“It has therefore become necessary to innovate on how to access segments of the consumer wallets not presently allocated to communication by providing solutions to consumer needs in order vertical areas of education, health, government services, etc.made available through telecoms network infrastructure.
“We have to be innovative to make different aspects of our lives work.”
While declaring the occasion opened, Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), Bashir Ahmed, acknowledged that it is important that technology and ICT are driving development in the country, pointing out that the Adamawa State Government’s priority on education is one of its cardinal policy thrust that would be leveraging on NCC’s power of ICT and tech innovation to accomplish its goals.
Bashir said, “For quite sometimes now, the Adamawa State Government has focused its strength on youth and women empowerment through training at skill acquisition centers.
“We believe that this can greatly be enhanced if the NCC’s digital bridge in the state is completed and set into effective use.
“Given the array of opportunities that would come with the digital bridge as we were briefed by the members of the bridge who visited the Governor, it is therefore critical and important that the bridge is completed.”
The SSG had earlier promised that the Adamawa State Government is ready to give its maximum cooperation in working with the NCC in making digital solutions and opportunities a reality for the people of Adamawa State.
Speaking also at the occasion, the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska, remarked that the emerging Technologies Research and Innovation Forum has been designed to advance the Commission’s agenda of promoting ICT innovation, tech entrepreneurship, to facilitate local content developement while leveraging on the power of digital technology to position Nigeria for the twenty first century digital revolution.
“It is a fact that ICT would remain the engine of economic growth, driving the future of Nations and Nigeria has a lot to gain from its far reacting applications and adoption,” Ubale said.
“Indeed, tomorrow belongs to those who can create and innovate today.”
He explained that the Forum is “Driven by the urgency to facilitate and support ICT innovators, tech enthusiast and tech entrepreneurs as a strategy to leapfrogging Nigeria in the digital economy.”
The NCC, he added, takes seriously its task of promoting a friendly environment for tech innovation and entrepreneurship towards making Nigeria a significant player within the digital space.
He notes that the Next Level agenda of getting a hundred million Nigerians out of poverty would be greatly enhanced if the tech eco-system is maximally utilised.
The ICT and tech innovation Forum, which draws participants from various parts of the country, is expected to familiarise participants with new opportunities and plans put forward by the NCC to help local tech innovators, tech enthusiast and startups become better.