The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it has so far released a total of N345.4 million as research grants to academia and as endowment of professorial chairs in two Nigerian higher institutions. The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this during his keynote at the 5th Nigeria Innovation week held yesterday, said the grants were aimed at driving innovation through promoting local content development in the telecoms sector.
“We have also empowered the Nigerian youths by promoting their ingenuity and innovation on developing locally-relevant technology solutions. The latest of such was the NCC Virtual Hackathon, where the Commission gave out N9 million in grant to three top tech startups with the most promising innovative solutions for COVID-19, the EVC added.
Danbatta said that the Commission placed emphasis on growing the digital economy in collaboration with sister agencies under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, hence, it has also created a Digital Economy Department principally for implementing programmes and policies aimed at fully supporting and promoting the national digital economy agenda of the Federal Government.
“With the advent of the Covid-19, ICT has become the major backbone for government activities and local businesses. The re-direction of human traffic to online portals for major transactions as a result of social distancing also meant that cybercriminals have a larger audience and a much bigger playground to execute their nefarious activities. The NCC, CBN, major financial institutions, and Security Agencies, we have diligently ensured that Nigeria’s Cyberspace is secured,” he said.
According to him, the collaborative partnership between the NCC and the CBN has been very effective, leading to the development of various brands of electronic transaction models, which have reformed banking in Nigeria making it possible for instant cash transfers to folks in rural areas cutting out waiting times at banking halls and simplifying online transactions.
“Between 2015 and 2020, much has been done to put Nigeria on the global map of nations that are electronically driven while delivering financial intermediation.
“Together with our stakeholders from the banking sector, the NCC is actively involved in the application of various electronic portals that continue to drive transactions off banking floor and onto handheld devices or personal computers,” he said.
Danbatta added that the NCC, through its interventions, has continued to lift the Nigerian economy and create momentum and hope for financial inclusion based on the seamless implementation of the Commission’s Strategic Vision Plan. “We hope to reap the rewards of the Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) in the coming years and provide Nigerians the comfort of innovations and new ways of living.
This would imply that broadband penetration would be improved significantly through deliberate facilitation of investment in fibre infrastructure, QoS will be assured, available spectrum would be optimized with full benefits, there would be more investment opportunities in the industry, there will be access to strategic collaboration and partnerships, consumers would be fully protected and empowered, there will be fair competition and inclusive growth,” he said.