CONCERNED by the myriad of challenges facing the nation’s telecommunications industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated its determination to fund research in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta who this yesterday at the first roundtable with academia, industry and other stakeholders in the South-South region held at the University of Benin said the telecoms industry in the 17 years of its existence has made so much progress and that a lot more needed to be done to overcome some of the challenges besetting the sector.
Umar said one of the ways out of the problem is to partner the academia who will through research, proffer solutions and make the industry viable and profitable for all.
He recalled that the telecom industry in Nigeria has grown tremendously in the last 17 years, adding that there are still rooms for further growth.
The NCC boss however conceded that there are quite some challenges but was determined to stimulate research using the academia.
He added: “You look at those growth opportunities and look at those challenges bedevilling the industry.
“So, this is more like an avenue for collaborative effort gear towards research and grow the industry to the next level.
“We have some challenges like misconception with respect to the effect of telecom infrastructure to human health. These are some challenges that research opportunity do exist and the academia has a lot of personnel that could research in these areas.
“This is the first step toward identifying this research topic and find the costing that is required and making that available”, he said.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Jacob Ehiorobo note that it was quite unfortunate that the telecommunications industry is dominated by foreigners.
Orumwense said with the coming together of the NCC and the institutions of learning, productive research can be carried out while the students can be taught on how to produce the telecommunications spare parts.
“I think we should be able to start training technical personnel who will be able to function, produce for instance spare parts products for the country instead of relying on wholesale importations of every garbage from all over the world.
“I think it is time we become self-reliance at least in producing spare parts.
“We are changing the focus of our students not on theoretical research but productive research and adaptable research that will become of use to the industry,” he said.