In its bid to enforce the Local Content Policy, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) has mandated the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Executive Order 003 and 005 as contained in the Presidential directives of 1st May 2017 and 12th February 2018 respectively, in awarding contracts in the sector .
The Minister alleged in a statement signed by his spokeperson, Mrs Uwa Suleiman that industry stakeholders have drawn his attention to the non-compliance of the sector regulator with the policy, as a result of which indigenous companies in the sector have continued to be sidelined.
According to Pantami, the Executive Order 003 of 2017 and 005 of 2018, were specifically enacted to give impetus to the Local Content Development and Promotion drive of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as the Telecommunications sub-sector is one of the most important.
Executive Order 003, which is aimed at support for Local Content in public procurement by the Federal Government of Nigeria, expressly states that, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) shall grant preference to local manufacturers of goods and service providers, in their procurement of goods and services.
Executive Order 005 which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, on 12th February 2018, however, is even more specifically directed at the sector.
The document titled Planning and Execution of Projects and Promotion of Nigerian Content in Contracts of Science, Engineering and Technology, directs all MDAs to engage indigenous professionals in the planning , design and execution of national security projects and maximize in-country capacity in all contracts and transactions with Science, Technology and Engineering components.
In light of this, it is our obligation to entrench the rule of law and ensure as much as possible, National Security Infrastructure and information, is domiciled locally with local companies as a first choice, and indigenous innovation is developed by adhering to the tenets of the Executive Orders outlined above.
The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Policy of President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), and the Ministry’s mandate, has directed the sector regulator NCC, to immediately:
i. Review the Telecommunications sub-sector activities and give top priority and preference to Nigerian companies, with the requisite skills and qualifications;
ii. Provide an enabling environment for local capacity to develop through collaborations with foreign companies, in the event that the contract is awarded to a foreign company, where indigenous capacity is lacking; and
iii. Ensure that patronage of Indigenous Content, as outlined in the Executive Orders are complied with, in the sub-sector.
Urging NCC to be strict in enforcing Local Content Policy, Pantami stated that “the only way we can move forward is to support and promote our indigenous technology, total negligence of Local Content in the telecommunication sector will make us consumers for life.
He also stressed that the main aim of NCC is to Nigeria and Nigeria mobile subscribers.
The Minister however noted that he is confident that the leadership of NCC will rise to the occasion and expedite action on this matter a month from the date of issue of this directive. Dr Pantami assures all Nigerians of his commitment to the protection of the rights of all citizens and the delivery of our mandate.