NOTAP, NCC Forges Partnership for the Development of the Telecoms Sector
The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have forged partnership to work for the accelerated development of the telecom sector in Nigeria.
This was the outcome of the visit of a delegation of NOTAP led by the Director General, Engr. Umar Bindir, to the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, at the Commission’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja. Specifically, the two organizations have agreed to work together for the achievement of critical national objectives such as the improvement of local content in the telecom sector, sustenance of the practice of software coding by Nigerians and promotion of indigenous capacity in the billing system of telecommunications in the country.
Other deliverables from the partnership are the creation of a critical mass of highly skilled Nigerians that would drive the sector as a check against capital flight as well as creation of jobs for the army of unemployed youths in Nigeria.
Engr. Bindir said, at the occasion, that NOTAP was established by NOTAP Act Cap N62, LFN, 2004 as a Federal Government agency mandated to facilitate the acquisition of technology into Nigeria. According to him, the mandate is implemented through the evaluation, registration and monitoring of all technology transfer agreement signed by Nigerian entrepreneurs with their foreign technical partners to ensure that the terms and conditions of the agreement are equitable, fair and commensurate and are well aligned with the capacity and capability of the Nigerian Innovation system.
The DG stated that the collaboration between NOTAP and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had ensured that NOTAP Certificate of Registration on technology transfer agreements remains a pre-condition for the approval of foreign exchange by CBN for the remittance of technology fee payable to foreign technology providers.
He further said that it was regrettable that nearly one hundred per cent of the software used in the Nigeria financial and telecom sectors were foreign. In this regard, he noted that NOTAP makes concerted efforts to develop locally motivated technologies through the linkage of industry with the National Innovation System (NIS) in the areas of R&D, capacity building and promotion of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) as well as fosters relationship between the NIS, venture capitalist, and financial institutions for the purpose of commercialization of R&D results.
“We facilitate the establishment of linkages between and among research institutions, industry, venture capitalists, and financial institutions to promote the much needed synergy in our system.”
Engr. Bindir stated that NOTAP required the partnership of NCC in order to address urgent national concerns such as the issue of local content, development of indigenous software and job creation in the telecommunication sector. He, therefore, commended the zeal and readiness of the Management of NCC to share information and work closely with NOTAP for the achievement of effective technology transfer for the development of the Nigerian-economy.
In his response to the address of the Director General of NOTAP, Dr. Juwah lamented the dearth of software encoders in Nigeria and requested NOTAP to look into the issue for the enhancement of local content in the sector. He added that the increasing number of Nigerians in the data base development segment with a declining interest in software coding was detrimental to a balanced growth in the sector.
He noted that as part of its responsibilities and mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the NCC focuses on the assessment of reasonableness of the pricing of software and other telecom facilities used in the telecommunication industry, to ensure that they are not overpriced. “We do approve price reasonableness and report to CBN,” he said.
In terms of technology transfer and domestication in the telecom industry, the NCC boss agreed that most of the facilities used like software, switches and transmission equipment are imported but that the Commission had made progressive efforts to develop local content which led to the manufacture of locally produced masts in the country. He said the Commission also established an Internet Exchange Point and linked it to the Lagos State University with a plan to connect other Universities in order to keep the internet content local and generate employment for university graduates.
Dr. Juwah further said that promoting the development of indigenous technology in the telecom sector would address numerous critical national needs and promised to support the technology domestication advocacy programmes of NOTAP.
He expressed profound gratitude to the NOTAP boss for his vision in pushing for accelerated technological development of the country and pledged the Commission’s readiness to collaborate with the agency.
Head Public Relations.