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Between NCC and NMC, good news in small packets

NCC begins public inquiry to review regulations on telco disconnection, dispute resolution NCC begins public inquiry to review regulations on telco disconnection, dispute resolution

All of a sudden, the little information on the NCC website, that equipment manufacturer and vendor, Nokia, has agreed with the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to train some Nigerians on its 4G and 5G equipment, means so much to me now.

There was a signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to the effect that Nokia Solutions and Networks Nigeria, will train young Nigerians on latest 4G/ 5G radio and transmission technologies at the Nigerian Communications Commission’s Digital Parks.

Digital Parks? Pray, what happened to the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) with facilities in different parts of the country which was built to carry out such high end trainings for the telecommunications industry? So much money went into the build out of its facilities. It is a shame that years later some fellow would canvass lesser alternatives for reasons very difficult to understand.

The agreeent draws on an emotional thread of the past unbeknown to many. Years ago, I had close encounters with Nokia in their office in Finland as a visiting journalist and at one of its world press conferences at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

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Having being exposed to their immense capacity in their head office and the factory, my question was simple and direct: Why wouldn’t Nokia set up a factory in Nigeria which at the the time was exploding exponentially and was hailed as a most attractive mobile market in Africa, and then hit the African market from its Nigerian operations?

The answer was simple but not totally unexpected. For us to set up a factory anywhere, we must have at least about 1000 or was it actually 5000 skilled workforce and the power supply must be uninterrupted. At the time, Finland got most of its power supply from Russia and had witnessed no dip in several decades.

I felt some bolts tightening inside of me. I knew of the industry power demand which the nation could hardly meet. The power situation was bad, very bad. Operators in the telecommunications sector were building alternative grid with generators. This was over 18 years ago and the situation has hardly improved.

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I wouldn’t want to regurgitate the woes of the power sector, how companies are shutting down or fleeing the country, my candid cautionary appeal is that we confront the truth with striking intentionality that can yield immediate results. The power problem cannot continue to be an irrepressible bogey haunting everyone of us without end.

As they say, lamentations can blind the eyes against the good things ahead. Only good news here please!

The good news is that Nokia Nigeria would be setting up a fully functional 5G/4G test lab, leveraging their latest radio and transmission technologies.

According to this statement from the NCC, “This collaboration advances the vision to enhance the capacity and skills-set of Nigerians, by equipping them with contemporary skills and knowledge needed to adapt to the rapidly evolving telecommunications industry.”

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This is very much in line with the new vision of the Ministry to drive digital literacy and build a pipeline of technical talents across Nigeria. In addition, Nokia Nigeria would also set up an Entrepreneur Learning Programme where it would deliver high-quality vocational trainings to 200 Nigerian students chosen from across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.

This is the way to go, breaking new grounds and building new alliances for Nigeria to access digital opportunities. The more relationships that can be built the better for a nation whose youths are frothing for opportunities that can level them with the rest of the world.

It is no surprise therefore, that the number one pillar of the Strategic Blueprint released by Dr Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, in October 2023, is Knowledge, which, in his words, is the foundation upon which nations build a robust and sustainable economy in a rapidly interconnected world.

Pursuing what he planned to achieve, he said: “Our commitment to talent development is unwavering. We have set an ambitious goal to train 3million early to mid-career technical talents over the next four years. These trainings will cover tech-enabled and tech-adjacent skills, core tech competencies and advanced proficiencies.

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“This holistic approach is designed to empower our workforce to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape. Ultimately, our strategic intent is to retain at least 1.5million of these skilled professionals within our local talent pool and facilitate opportunities for another 1.5million of our talented individuals to excel in the global talent market place, preferably through remote opportunities.”

This is but a little window into what the Knowledge Pillar stands to offer. The Strategic Blueprint reserves so much meat for the youths which Tijani said must be trained in readiness for global opportunities. The MOU with Nokia offers so much hope. It is expected that other deals will be tied up in this direction to encourage a segment of this society that has largely been disappointed by successive governments.

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After all, a particular government, not too long ago, said our youths were lazy! Not this government anyway, who appointed Tijani and Dr Aminu Maida, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission, both young minds, to resuscitate the telecommunications sector with their youthful energy and exposure to modern practices.

I wish to suggest that the NCC has a lot to offer in building capacity across this nation. The Commission has too many stranded assets at the moment, all kinds of digital packages donated to secondary schools and tertiary institutions, that must be audited, harnessed and reconfigured to suit the new vision of the Ministry.

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After all, the two young minds have promised to work together to rejig the industry and build capacity in our youth in readiness for life ahead and in situating them firmly for global opportunities. This is the time to work and add some needed noise to this government’s one year quiet anniversary in office.

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Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.
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