It gives me a great pleasure to give this address at the second edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content EXPO (NTICE 2023), the only telecom event in Nigeria that is solely focused on Indigenous Content promotion, development and adaptation. This year’s event themed “Harnessing Indigenous Content for Economic Growth; Networking to boost Investment” commenced yesterday with the innovators pitching event called NTICE SELECT, was carefully designed by the Commission to build on the maiden edition of the NTICE.
NTICE is not only an exhibition but it is also a gathering of industry players that embodies the spirit of innovation, resilience, collaboration, and progress. It presents a remarkable opportunity to celebrate and showcase Nigeria’s achievements in the world of telecommunications, technology, as well as indigenous content creation and adoption. As we delve into the heart of NTICE 2023 via the Expo, Pitch and Panel sessions, we are called upon to recognize the transformative power of domestic innovation and the pivotal role it plays in shaping digital future of nations, their economies and their futures.
Without any doubt, the Nigerian Telecoms Sector is amongst the biggest contributors to socio-economic growth of the country, as evidenced by the numerous achievements of the sector. It is not out of place to mention that the sector’s performance was instrumental to lifting Nigeria out of recession with 12.45% contribution to the GDP in Q4 2020. This figure increased to 14.13% as at Q1 2023.
The Sector is also home to two (2) of the most valuable listed companies in Nigeria with a collective market capitalization in excess of N10.45 trillion. Recall also that the Commission in 2021 and 2022, generated revenue in excess of USD$820m from the auction and grant of 3.5GHz Spectrum band licences to three operators to boost the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) services in Nigeria. This placed Nigeria on the global 5G map ahead of many countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It is also important to note that while Quality of Service and Quality of Experience in telecommunications services in Nigeria have continued to improve, tariffs have remained stable notwithstanding the increase in cost-of-service provision to the telecom operators. In order to sustain and further improve Quality of Service and Quality of Experience in telecommunications services in Nigeria, we must embrace indigenous content and value creation within the telecoms value chain, otherwise, increase in telecoms tariff will be inevitable.
The Commission is fully committed to the drive of the Federal Government to place the Nigerian Economy on a sustainable pedestal through all the necessary policies put in place. When we created the Nigeria Office for Development of Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) as a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Commission to drive the National Policy for Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector in July 2021, the Office was given four areas of focus: Manufacturing, Human Capacity, Research & Development (R&D) and Software & Services development for the telecoms sector.
Today, I am happy to inform you that NTICE is one of the achievements of NCC through NODITS because it has served not only to promote Pillar number 5 (Strategic Partnering) of the Strategic Management Plan SMP 2020-2024 of the Commission but has also become the flagship indigenous content event for the industry.
The Commission has also incentivized the manufacturing of Corrugated Optical Duct (COD) that will be used to protect our fibre infrastructure from the incessant cuts experienced by our service providers. The Commission is equally committed to continuously supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Innovators to promote our talented young persons and ventures though Angel Investments, R&D support, exposure to Investors and sponsorship to local and international tech events.
Another key achievement of our policies is the ban on importation of whole-body SIM cards which was announced at the maiden NTICE event last year. This ban has not only eased the burden on our demand for foreign exchange but has also created business in excess of N55bn for the local SIM card manufacturers in Nigeria which in turn has created direct and indirect jobs.
Nigeria with its rich history of innovation, resilience, and creativity as well as our diverse culture, talents, and perspectives has birthed solutions that uniquely cater for our challenges and aspirations. The NTICE 2023 platform is a celebration of these achievements, a testament to the Nigerian spirit of ingenuity.
NTICE is also a place to nurture and support the burgeoning talent pool within Nigeria. By showcasing indigenous innovations and providing opportunities for young entrepreneurs, we are not only nurturing our local talents but also encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship and creativity that will propel Nigeria onto the global stage of technological leadership.
Having recognized the persistent digital divide that exists within our nation, let us seize the opportunities presented by NTICE 2023 to bridge this gap by advocating for accessible technology and ensuring that the benefits of innovation are extended to every corner of Nigeria. This inclusivity is crucial in driving equitable growth and empowering communities to be active participants in the digital revolution.
We note that in a world that is increasingly interconnected and digital, the concept of technological sovereignty holds immense significance. This event stands as a beacon of Nigeria’s commitment to taking charge of its technological destiny. By promoting indigenous content, we are not only fostering economic growth but also asserting our autonomy and self-reliance in the digital realm.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude by highlighting that the Nigeria Telecom Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE) 2023, is a declaration of Nigeria’s commitment to shaping its digital destiny. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, let us remember that our progress is intrinsically linked to our ability to harness the power of indigenous innovation, leverage technology for positive change, and ensure that no one is left behind on this transformative journey.
Let’s embrace NTICE as a symbol of our collective potential, a platform to celebrate our achievements, and a driving force to propel Nigeria towards a brighter, more digitally empowered future.
I want to express my full confidence in all those gathered here for this event, especially our distinguished guests, innovators, exhibitors and panelists in charting a new course. I thank you for investing your time, experience and talents in NTICE 2023 and wish you fruitful deliberations.
Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, FNSE, FRAES, FAEng., FNIEEE,
Executive Vice Chairman/CEO
Nigerian Communications Commission
SPEECH AT THE SECOND EDITION OF THE NIGERIAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDIGENOUS CONTENT EXPO (NTICE 2023)