Benin City — THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has said it is prepared to fund research in Nigerian institutions of learning to help end the myriad of challenges bedeviling the nation's telecommunications industry.
Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta disclosed this at its first round table with academia, industry and other stakeholders in the South-South region held at the University of Benin.
Represented by the Director of Research and Development Department, Mr. Ephraim Nwokenneya, Danbatta said the telecom industry in its 17 years of existence has made progress but that a lot still needed to be done to overcome some of the challenges in the sector.
He said the partnership with the academia was one of the ways out of the challenges in the sector.
"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 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.
"We want to stimulate research using the academia. We will look at those growth opportunities. This is more like opening an avenue for collaborative effort geared towards research that could grow the industry to the next level.
The Vice Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, represented by its Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Jacob Ehiorobo lamented the domination of the industry by foreigners but said the institution is interested in making its students develop the needed physical infrastructure to service the industry. "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-reliant at least in producing spare parts.
"If we cannot manufacture immediately, I think we have started reorienting our students.
"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.