The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, has decried the dearth of software encoders in the country.
Juwah made this observation while welcoming the Director General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. Umar B. Bindir to his office on courtesy visit, at the weekend.
He also tasked NOTAP to step into this aspect of technology development for the benefit of the industry.
Regretting the growing number of experts in the data base development segment, whereas the encoding area is being neglected, Juwah said this is detrimental to the balanced growth of the industry.
The NCC boss also appraised the performance of NOTAP in the implementation of its mandate and how it has strived to expand it base for the benefit of the nation and raised its management for it patriotic efforts.
According to him, NCC is not fully involved in the issue of research and analysis of software but is focused on the assessment of reasonableness of the pricing of the software used in the telecommunications industry, stressing that the Commission would support awareness building efforts of the agency.
He noted that the current responsibilities of the Commission in the area of reasonableness of pricing became necessary to ensure that software used in the telecom industry are not overpriced, and that this assessment affects intangible services like Internet access, and are usually compared with international benchmarks.
He said that the Commission performs this responsibility with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) adding that because of the huge growth of the telecom industry, it has become like a routine job with a dedicated desk at the Commission.
Dr. Juwah also informed the NOTAP team that in the dealings with the telecom companies, the Commission treats them with respect as credible companies with internationally corporate governance principles and do not expect them to cheat in their submission.
“Since their accounts are audited by reputable international firms, we have no doubts that they do not cheat,” he said.
In the area of technology acquisition development efforts, Dr. Juwah noted that most of the equipments used in the telecom industry like switches and transmission equipment are import-based, but that the Commission is working to develop local content in some, including the current initiative that has led to the manufacturing of masts in Nigeria, while looking at how to develop the framework in some other areas.
Dr. Juwah also spoke about the efforts of the Commission that resulted in the establishment of the Internet Exchange Point that has led to keeping the internet content local, stressing that the exchange point has already been linked to the Lagos State University, while efforts are being made to connect other universities.
Further, he said, an effort like this is designed to encourage Nigerian students to be able to develop some software and improve their access for such resources.
Dr. Bindir, while providing insight into the activities of the agency, said that it has three criteria for approval, including the first phase, being the acceptability of the software whereby all approvals are done on the basis of how favorable it is to the nation.
Secondly, he said, NOTAP looks at the technical component and how it would benefit Nigeria in the area of research by way of providing training for competence, and lastly, how its financial content is cost effective to the nation.Remmy Nweke
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