Nigerian Telecom Sector Outflows $2.16b in Foreign Exchange Annually
Nigeria’s Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy announced that the telecommunications sector records an outflow of foreign exchange of approximately $2.16 billion per year.
In light of the development, the Federal Government has given the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) six months to create locally innovative solutions to Nigeria’s peculiar challenges.
Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, who stated this at the Prototype and Research Exposition, yesterday, in Abuja, said there was the need to build indigenous technology capacity to enable the country to participate fully in the telecoms ecosystem.
Pantami disclosed that Nigeria’s government has launched the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content, to create quality local content to propel the Nigerian telecommunications sector.
Consequently, academic research conducted in collaboration with industry is considered necessary to the technological development of the country, which is seen as the backbone of the communications industry and the foundation for the development of advanced telecommunications products and services in the future.
According to him, most countries hinge their economic progress and productivity on their ability to engage in research and innovation to proffer workable solutions to their challenges and problems.
The minister stated that the Nigerian telecommunications sector had played key role, as the enabler to other sectors in the development of the economy and was considered critical in the Federal Government’s drive towards its economic diversification from over-reliance on oil.
He noted that while the nature of investment in the telecommunications industry remained capital-intensive and generally long-term, conducting research in telecommunications was extremely complex, because it involves time, huge funds and foresight, which he noted, must be sustained for several years for the investments to yield returns.
Also speaking, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the exposition was aimed at providing an opportunity for the academic awardees of the research projects, to display already developed prototypes and pitch ongoing research to telecoms operators, vendors, investors, and fellow academics.
Danbatta pointed out that the measure would encourage the commercialisation of locally developed telecommunications innovations. This is a way of fostering and deepening the indigenous technological capacity of Nigerians to support the growth of the industry and create wealth for allied companies.
He stated that the commission had, over the years, awarded grants to successful academic institutions for the development of working prototype telecommunications products, capable of addressing industry needs and providing sustainability.
“We shall be presenting and exhibiting 10 prototypes, fully developed and ready for the market. It is, therefore, important to have a commercialisation strategy to transition from rudimentary research into the market to address local challenges, as well as reduce over-dependence on imported innovations and technologies,” he stressed.