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Indigenous Content: The Sure Bet for Saving Our Economy



Indigenous Content: The Sure Bet for Saving Our Economy

At the just concluded Monetary Policy Committee Meeting of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele threatened that those who withdraw naira to buy dollar and then save it, will be arrested. He described such act as illegal.

However, many Nigerians are trying to prevent the value of their hard-earned money from being eroded. That’s why they resort to naira-to-dollar conversion for savings. After all, the speculations have never favoured the local currency.

Like businesses, like individual Nigerians: save your money from losing its value by keeping it in the greenbacks because naira will further depreciate. But such actions only worsen and hasten the bad fate of naira. Dollar becomes scarcer and it would take more naira, like N630 at the moment, to get a dollar.

In its own right, CBN may be correct trying to check ‘dollar hoarding’ by individuals, but the question again would be why do individuals operate domiciliary accounts with banks in the first place? Is it not to earn and keep money in foreign currencies? As such the threat of the CBN is questionable!

The apex can arrest people all its wants, it would still be fighting only the symptoms a major problem that has rendered our economy internally weak: Over dependency on foreign talents, products and solutions, and lack of export advantage.

The Way Out

There is only one way to quickly reverse this trend, and that is by domesticating Indigenous content promotion policy in every sector and ensure its successful implementation accordingly.

In the Nigerian telecoms sector alone for instance, annual forex spending by operators amounts to a whooping $2.16 billion as at two years ago. As the sector expands and new technologies such as the 5G and other tech solutions that ride on it emerge, forex spending by operators will skyrocket, thus worsening the economic robbery of capital and labour flights.

What if most, if not all, of the foreign talents, services, equipment and accessories that cost telecoms operators this much can be groomed, produced and patronised locally?

The answer to that question forms the thrust of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecoms Sector, a policy released by President Muhamadu Buhari early last year, under the supervision of the Professor Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital economy.

With its four vocal points, namely: Manufacturing of telecoms equipment and accessories; services for both business support systems (BSS) and operations support systems (OSS); People, as in home grown talents with skill capacity that is globally competitive; and lastly, research and development for innovation, the policy promises to deepen application of indigenous content in the telecoms sector so that in line with the vision of the current administration, Nigerians can be more active in the economy.

The Policy Implementation Effort

This is why Business Metrics Nigeria, is again dedicating its forthcoming Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo) to the Indigenous content policy for the telecoms sector.

This event themed: Establishing Trackable Metrics for Developing Nigeria’s Indigenous Telecoms Sector, is an attempt to ensure that the policy is driven to fruition, and not just remain on the pages of the document.

The event is scheduled for Thursday July 28th, 2022 at Radisson BLU Hotel, Isaac John, GRA, Ikeja Lagos.

We shall be working closely with the NCC through the Nigeria Office for Developing the Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) set up as a special purpose vehicle under the commission.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Professor Danbatta will deliver the keynote address at the forum while Minister Pantami is expected to grace the event as the Special Guest of Honour.

We expect the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) to speak at the forum as governments’ mouthpiece.

Since PIAFo creates a midpoint platform for industry-wide dialogue, the forthcoming edition has been endorsed by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON); the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) whose chiefs and members shall be addressing various topics and panel sessions.

Representing the media constituency which is a critical stakeholder in the balance of nation building, Business Metrics Nigeria is committed to sustaining the PIAFo initiative for policy advocacy, implementation and evaluation.

You are welcome to be our guest again on Thursday, July 28 at Radisson BLU Hotel, Isaac John, GRA, Ikeja Lagos.

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