By Juliet Umeh
In order to promote information and communication technology, ICT innovation and support local content, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, said it has awarded the sum of N336.4 million as research grants to develop life changing solutions in Nigeria.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta who revealed this at an interactive session with the media in Abuja, said the Commission recognized the fundamental role of research in innovation in the development of any country.
He said: In 2016, the Commission created a Research and Development Department. The department has continued to collaborate with the 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.
“The Commission has so far awarded the sum of N336.4 million as research grants to the academia and has endowed professorial chairs in two Nigerian universities.
“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,” Danbatta stated.
He noted that the Commission recognizes that the key to the survival and growth of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria is sustained investments.
He explained: “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 the Nigeria’s telecom space.
“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.
“This initiative seeks to further strengthen telecoms entities, sustain sector’s role as a driver of economic growth and social transformation, and attract investments,” he added.