Software takes 40% remittances in ICT sector –NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission has declared that patronage of foreign software accounted for 40 per cent of the total international remittances in the Nigerian Information and Communication Technology industry in the last three years.

Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who disclosed this during a Stakeholders Forum on Confirmation of Reasonableness of Service Fees, CRS, in Lagos yesterday, also emphasised the need for a strategic plan to boost local contents and the required skills for the development of telecoms related software in Nigeria.

Juwah said that the increase in the volume of activities witnessed in the telecoms sector over the last decade in the area of voice and data traffic has led to the demand for associated contents and software requirement for services delivery.

CRS refers to remittances of foreign currency payments made by the telecoms companies in Nigeria to overseas services providers.

This often results in capital flight as witnessed in all sectors of the Nigerian economy being dominated by foreign players.

The NCC boss, who was represented at the event by Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis at NCC, Mrs. Lolia Emakpore, stated that concerns over the impact of foreign direct investments, FDI, in the telecoms sector compared to repatriation by operators out of Nigeria, has continue to be a source of worry to the Commission.

He said the development has necessitated the Commission to carry out examinations of remittances across board to ensure appropriateness of the pricing of some of the imported IT products into the country.

According to him, CRS procedure in Nigeria was updated through similar fora in 2003 and 2009 in order to guide the industry on the payments for invisible trade transactions.

“Since then, the industry has failed to realise the level of enormous paper work required to drive these telecoms remittances and payments to overseas vendors,” he said.

The NCC boss highlighted area s of the remittances calling for a review to include arithmetic accuracy check, price verification, documentation checks, international pricing database maintenance, vetting executed contract agreements among others.

Juwah said, “The commission is of the opinion that it is not enough to remit money to overseas service providers, the industry need to develop local contents, IT software skills, and embrace the abundant capacity available at our sea shores through submarine cable services in order to create employment opportunities for our youths and foster economic growth in the nation.”

The EVC explained that the event became necessary in order for the NCC to gather stakeholders in puts on how to address stringent conditions currently place on hardware purchase by international vendors.

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