- NCC May Share Levy with Subsidiary Institute
Going by recommendations of a committee of experts headed by a former Executive Vice- Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, the Digital Bridge Institute may be transformed into technology innovation hub.
To guarantee steady funding for the DBI which is a training subsidiary of the telecommunications regulatory agency, the experts recommended that NCC gives up a small proportion of the Annual Operating Levy paid by telecoms operators to ensure the actualisation of the vision.
Telecoms operators pay two and half per cent of their annual turnover as Annual Operating Levy. Forty per cent of this levy is set aside as to address the needs of un-served and underserved communities through the mechanism of Universal Access Provision Fund while NCC retains 60 per cent for its operation.
Presenting the report of the experts on Friday, Ndukwe said if a small proportion of the AOL was set aside for the operation of DBI; it would guarantee that the institute played a major role in research and innovations in the Nigerian telecommunications and information technology industry.
The former NCC boss said, “We have captured in the report, the important and critical role the NCC is expected to play in the process by providing the needed funding for achieving the initiatives in the recommendations.
“Our research has confirmed that similar successful training and manpower development institutions around the world do not sustain their operations from fee income on training programme and other internally -generated revenue alone; they are necessarily supported with other forms of funding interventions.”
He added, “Consequently, it is our recommendation that sustainable funding can be guaranteed for DBI if a small proportion of the Annual Operating Levy is permanently earmarked for its operations but within the framework that also ensures proper accountability.
“In this way, DBI will not only be sustainable but will be able to take on added responsibilities demanded of it in implementing the recommendations in this report. For example, it has been proposed that the DBI centre in Kano and the idle centres in Yola, Enugu and Asaba are converted to become operational as ICT innovation hubs.”
The experts said that the main thrust of the strategy for achieving the articulated vision in the report was the creation and development of ICT hubs and innovation centres at specified locations across the country
They added that the hubs and innovation centres would be primarily devoted to software development and engineering.
The Board of NCC led by Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye had, on July 17, inaugurated the panel of experts for the Development of Appropriate Blueprint/Curriculum for ICT Innovation Research Programmes in Nigeria.
Speaking on Friday, Durojaiye said DBI already has ample basic facilities to house ICT research centres in Lagos and Abuja to start with, adding that the commission was desirous of refocusing the DBI to actualise its mandate.
Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbbatta, expressed appreciation to the panel and pledged commitment towards the implementation of the report.