NCC Highlights Policy and Regulatory Initiatives to Advance Tech Innovation

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has outlined a number of policy and regulatory initiatives it is pursuing in order to reaffirm its commitment to the continued development of the startup sector of Nigeria’s telecommunications ecosystem.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, the commission’s executive vice chairman and chief executive officer (EVC/CEO), listed the initiatives during a two-day regional Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Innovation Forum held in Enugu recently.

Representatives from the Commission’s strategic partners, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), tech hubs, innovators and tech entrepreneurs, as well as venture capitalists, attended the annual event, which had the theme “Digital Societies and Emerging Technologies: Leveraging ICTs to Build Information and Knowledge Societies for Achieving the Nation’s Digital Economy.”

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Danbatta, who was represented by Kelechi Nwankwo, the NCC’s head of research and development, said the current momentum in Nigeria’s tech space is no doubt due to the Commission’s regulatory approach, stating that the NCC is committed to effective regulation of the telecoms sector in ways that do not inhibit competition but rather foster innovation, industry growth, and socioeconomic development.

According to him, the NCC, as a key driver in the ICT industry and a responsive organization, has put in place deliberate policies and initiatives to help Nigerian startups thrive and scale up for greater global impact and value creation.

These initiatives, according to the EVC, include the aggressive and ongoing implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, which aims to increase broadband penetration to 70% by 2025; driving the implementation of the National Digital Economy and Policy Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030; and implementing the NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, all of which are streamlined in the Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) 2021-2025 to ensure regulatory compliance.

The ICT Hubs Support and Engagement Programmes, the annual ICT Innovation Competition and Exhibition, the Annual Hackathon, and the ongoing development of ICT parks across the country, according to Danbatta, are other similar initiatives put in place by the NCC to facilitate the development and sustainability of the tech startup ecosystem.
He went on to say that the NCC is constructing six technological parks across the geopolitical zones. Enugu in the South East, Abeokuta in the South West, Maiduguri in the North East, and Kano in the North West are all nearing completion of the project’s first phase.

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“The project is designed to improve young people’s digital skills, promote innovation, create jobs for young Nigerians, and ultimately support the Federal Government’s Digital Economy Agenda,” he said.

The NCC CEO emphasized that the ICT Park, which is nearing completion, will deliver a fully functional Tier-4 Digital Industry Complex (DIC) that will include a commercial hub for ICT capacity building and digital skills, job creation and entrepreneurial activities, as well as smart city deployment throughout the complex.

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