NCC Research Grants for ICT Innovations Totals N336.4 Million in 4 years
In recognition of its fundamental role to encourage research for the promotion of ICT innovations and creation of investment opportunities for the industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has awarded N336.4 million as research grants in four years.
The NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta said this in his speech at the interactive session with media chiefs and news editors recently held in Abuja.
Danbatta who disclosed that in 2016, the Commission created a Research and Development Department, said the move is part of NCC commitment to the growth and promotion of the sector.
The department, according to him, has continued to collaborate with academia to support the development of innovative services and life-changing solutions with the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) to promote Indigenous Content Development.
Coupled with the total sum awarded as research grants to the academia, NCC has also endowed professorial chairs in two Nigerian universities.
In his words, “More importantly, we have empowered Nigerian youths by promoting their ingenuity and innovation in the development of locally-relevant technology solutions.
“The latest of such was the 2020 NCC Virtual Hackathon, where we gave N9 million in grant to three top promising tech startups for solutions aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and epidemic diseases in the thematic areas of Health, Community, Productivity, Economy and Transportation.
“The Commission recognizes that the key to the survival and growth of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria is sustained investments”. Danbatta said.
Furthermore, the EVC stressed that in the last five years, the Commission has deliberately and consistently engaged investors in different fora to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
“We showed investors the Commission’s roadmap for Broadband, which includes the Open Access Model Initiative, the Infraco Project, our 5G readiness and the Access Gaps for market opportunities that new entrants could leverage on in Nigeria’s telecom space”, he said.
The NCC Boss also said that “to build confidence in the sector and ensure that current investors and new players flourish, the NCC has activated mandatory compliance to the Code of Corporate Governance for the telecoms industry.
According to him, this initiative seeks to further strengthen telecoms entities, sustain sector’s role as a driver of economic growth and social transformation, and attract investments
On capital importation, the EVC said in 2015, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the telecom sector stood at $1 billion but declined to $212 million by 2018. He, however, noted that through regulatory efforts, the FDI in the sector has picked up again reaching $930 million according to recent figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).