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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), lead regulatory agency for telecommunication industry in Nigeria seems to have started playing a card that tends to suggest deeper interference to the statutory functions and activities of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Some industry analysts who barred their minds over the sudden closeness to indigenous Technology Hubs and startups in Nigeria with the expressed aim of boosting innovative local contents, said before NCC should begin such programme, it needs to find out from NITDA if there is ongoing related initiative to avoid waste of resources via duplications amongst agencies’.
Recall that NITDA is a public service institution established by NITDA Act 2007 as the ICT policy implementing arm of the Federal Ministry of Communication of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to the Act, it has sole responsibility of developing programs that caters for the running of ICT related activities in the country. NITDA is also mandated with the implementation of policies guideline for driving ICT in Nigeria.
It plays advisory role in copyright law by verification and revision of applicable laws in tandem with the application of software and technology acquisition. Majority of these activities are achieved through organization of workshops which cater for training needs of her staff, government functionaries and education sectors.
Observers say it would be better for NCC to concentrate on coming up with policies and programmes for the growth of telecoms sector and allow NITDA to continue its statutory responsibility of developing technology related enterprises to limit chances of both funding and policy conflicts and duplications.
For example, speaking at a recent forum in Lagos on ‘Emerging Technologies Research and ICT Innovation,’ the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said his agency has commenced visitation to various technology startup hubs across the six geopolitical zones toward boosting innovative local contents.
Represented by Director of Legal and Regulatory Services, Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, Prof Danbatta said that the visitation to every Tech Hub in Nigeria was to assess the development and challenges of the technology startups.
According to him, the drive was in the Commission’s effort to encourage technology entrepreneurship and innovation in the ICT sector.
Besides, without recourse to NITDA, Prof Danbatta averred that “we intend to assist the various tech hubs with the right regulatory intervention to ease their operations”.
“It is a fact that finding local solutions to the challenges of the industry is a key policy of the present administration.“We acknowledged that University of Lagos has been one of the prominent tertiary institutions at the forefront of technology innovation, not only in Lagos State but in the country.
Danbatta explained further that the forum promoted by NCC, became necessary to promote local content with emphasis on tech ecosystem, identifying unmet needs and facilitate Public Private Partnership (PPP), which experts say remain the core responsibilities of NITDA.
Further findings on the core functions of NITDA showed that was set up to address and reduce technology inhibiting factors, drive the use of IT Hubs to foster the development of all sectors.
Accordingly, to achieve this and also support the primary responsibility of the agency which is regulation and promote development of the IT sector, NITDA established IT Hubs in strategic locations across the country.
In a recent programme of the agency, the Director General and chief executive, Dr Isah Pantami explained that “Through the national Tech Hub initiative, NITDA tends to provide right enabling environment by putting in place, a combination of a high quality infrastructure, support services that will leverage on the facilities available at the centres and create a full value chain across the IT sector ecosystem in Nigeria”.
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