Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has said that importation of telecoms inputs has negative impacts in the sector and the entire country.
President ATCON, Olusola Teniola at the Stakeholders Forum on Local Content Development in the Telecommunication Sector in Nigeria said the structure of the Nigerian telecoms sector is not beneficial to the country in terms of foreign exchange earnings because most of the inputs in the sector are imported from the developed countries.
According to him, Nigeria must devise a means of producing those inputs locally if the country is determined to pursue Nigerian Local Content development vigorously as a nation.
This he explained must come with the intention of increasing its impact on the nation’s revenue.
He stated that the liberalization of the sector has attracted some Large investments to the country but Nigeria needs to develop the sector by making it less import dependent.
The ATCON President opined that for the country achieve this, the then Honourable Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Mrs Omobola Johnson created an office under NITDA called the office of the Nigeria Local Content charged with the responsibility of making the ICT and Telecommunication sector less dependent on importation.
He stressed the need for a plan to comprehensively develop the ICT sector.
Teniola said, “ATCON noted that since the inauguration of the Office of the Nigerian Content, there is little or no productive activity to drive the guidelines that were published. ATCON would like NCC and ONC to come up with short and long term plans. This plan would enable the entire ICT ecosystem to know the area where they can invest their ‘investible’ funds.”
He also called for speedy implementation of the plan saying that “NCC and ONC should as a matter of urgency implement the plan they have developed to increase the active participation of Nigerian Content in the value chain of telecommunications business in Nigeria. Creation of Evaluation, Monitoring and Enforcement Unit. The NCC and ONC should establish a joint evaluation, monitoring and enforcement department that would see to the adoption of development of Nigerian Content in the ICT and Telecom ecosystem. Establishment of ICT Park, NCC and ONC should pool resources together for the establishment of ICT Park. The ICT Park would be given the mandate to encourage the production of some ICT inputs like switches, router, mobile phone repairs/assembly etc.”
He said the association as a patriotic and professional telecoms players in the industry has the following programmes to accelerate the participation of Nigeria in the telecoms and ICT ecosystem: Professional Apprenticeship in Telecommunications. Professional Apprenticeship in Telecoms Regulatory Affairs
Teniola said, “ATCON would like to use this opportunity to seek the cooperation of both NCC and ONC to organize these two important local content driven programmes. We are certain and confident that with all these proposed interventions we have shared and solutions being put in place, we can safely say that the ICT sector would contribute more significantly to the nation’s GDP.”
All of these he said would lead to the realization of the objectives of creating the Local Content Development in the Telecom and ICT Sector.
He listed these objectives to include:
To correct the imbalance in the international trade balance.To restructure Nigerian ICT industry with a view to increase Nigeria participation in the value chain.To stimulate growth and development in the manufacturing of some ICT products and services.
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