Paper Presented by Olusola Teniola, President ATCON at Stakeholders Forum on Local Content Development in the Telecommunication Sector in Nigeria on September 27, 2016 at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
All Protocols duly observed.
I would like to start my presentation by firstly appreciating the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Office for Nigerian Content Development for this rare opportunity to make meaningful contributions toward Local Content Development in the Telecommunications Sector in Nigeria.
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) is a professional, non-profit, non-political umbrella organization of telecommunications companies in Nigeria. It is also the premier Association that was formed by technocrats in the telecoms industry to facilitate as well as accelerate the growth and development of the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry and this we have been doing for over two decades.
ATCON was formally inaugurated on December 10, 1993, with a membership profile made up of indigenous and multinational telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria. Membership of the Association has since its inauguration grown to over 100 companies.
The Association holds meetings with government at all levels with the sole aim of influencing government policy in order to create an enabling operating environment for members as well as to protect telecoms/ICT investment in Nigeria.
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.
Philosophy of Local Content Development in the Telecom and ICT Sector
- 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.
Structure of Nigeria Telecommunications and ICT Sector
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.
The way forward
- Draw 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.
- Speedy implementation of the plan
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
- ATCON Programmes for Local Content
ATCON as a patriotic and professional telecoms and ICT Association have 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
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.
Thank you for your attention.
Olusola Teniola, President ATCON.