The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) said it is supporting the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Office for Nigeria Content Development in ICT (ONC) moves to galvanise stakeholders’ views towards addressing local content related issues in the industry.
Mr. Olusola Teniola, president of ATCON expressed the Association support during Stakeholders Forum on Local Content Development in the Telecommunication Sector in Nigeria organised by the regulatory body in Ikeja, Lagos.
Teniola said that ATCON’s support for the initiative was borne of the need to eliminate imbalances in the sector as some indices are skewed against the local investors.
“The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) considered this initiative strategic and timely and for these two reasons it is happy to identify with the collaboration put together by Nigerian Communications Commission and Office for Nigeria Content Development in ICT to address Local Content Development in the telecommunications and ICT subsector,” he said.
Speaking on the philosophy of ‘Local Content Development in the Telecom and ICT Sector’, the ATCON President said, that all stakeholders should work towards correcting the imbalance in the international trade balance; restructure Nigerian ICT industry with a view to increase Nigeria participation in the value chain, and to stimulate growth and development in the manufacturing of some ICT products and services.
“It is obvious that the structure of Nigeria Telecommunications and ICT sector is not really beneficial to Nigeria as a country in terms of foreign exchange earnings because most of the inputs in the sector are imported from the developed countries.
“If we really want to pursue Nigerian Local Content development vigorously as a nation with the intention of increasing its impact on our revenue we must devise a means of producing those inputs locally.
“The liberalization of the sector has attracted some Large investments to the country but the country needs to develop the sector by making it less import dependent and to do 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”.
Giving the way forward, Teniola recommended for “a plan to comprehensively develop the ICT sector.”
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.
“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.
“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.