Stakeholders in the Nigerian telecommunications industry have stressed the need for effective implementation of the country’s local content policy in the sector.
They stated this at the maiden edition of the Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo) monitored in Lagos.
The virtual forum, organised by Business Metrics Nigeria, focused on National Policy for Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector.
It had the theme: “Facilitating Policy Implementation to Deliver Value in the Nigerian Telecoms Sector, was designed to ensure proper implementation of the indigenous content policy in the telecoms sector beyond verbal commitment.”
In his keynote address, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by a deputy director at NCC and Team Lead, Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS), Babagana Digima, said NCC would continue to promote local investment in digital infrastructure and competition in the provision of accessible high speed broadband infrastructure.
According to Danbatta, “President Muhammadu Buhari, recently presented the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecom Sector. The policy seeks to accelerate the pace of indigenous digital capacity development and thereby enhance national competitiveness and prosperity for indigenous/local players in Nigeria.”
Danbatta, who highlighted NCC’s roadmap for implementation of the policy, said the commission established the Nigeria Office for Developing the Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) in order to address the timely implementation of local content policy.
“The office is saddled with the responsibility of implementation of the local content policy as well as the Executive Orders 003 and 005. Relevant portions of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025 as well as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) are also under the purview of this new office called NODITS,” Danbatta said.
With the constitution of the NODITS, the industry should expect new guidelines and regulations bothering on indigenous content, local manufacturing of telecom equipment, outsourcing of services, construction and lease of telecoms ducts, succession planning in the telecoms sector, corporate governance, and corporate social responsibility, as the need arises, Danbatta further said.
The Executive Director, Broad based Communications Limited, Mr. Chidi Ibisi, spoke on the need for the support of local industry players through interventionist funding windows of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to further drive policy on local content.
Focusing on the key objectives of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecom Sector, which include enabling the indigenous telecom industry to contribute significantly to the overall development of the telecom industry; creating a conducive environment for companies and service providers to participate in the telecom industry, Ibisi cited foreign intervention funds that are driving national development. He listed such foreign intervention funds to include: the USA $65 billion Broadband Fund; UK £30 Broadband expansion program; Germany $14.5 billion Digital Infrastructure Fund, among others.
The Divisional CEO, ipNX Business, Segun Okuneye, spoke about the imperatives for interventionist policies that will drive local content policy.