Lawmakers, NCC Harp on Technology Convergence for Job Creation

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House of Representatives in session

Emma Okonji

Members of the House of Representatives, and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, have stressed the need for technology convergence in boosting innovation and job creation.

They both spoke at the 9th West Africa Convergence Conference (WACC), which held at the Lagos Sheraton Hotels recently. they said government must begin to join hands to improve the value for skill and new career trainings, expand the portfolio of opportunities for employment and businesses, encourage innovation and drive more flexible forms of employment and work, by enacting policies that will spur technology convergence in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

Chairman, House Committee on ICT, Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo, who led members of his committee to the convergence forum, acknowledged the importance of convergence for Job creation, but expressed worries about how the country could leverage the opportunities from technology to create jobs and encourage small medium businesses (SMBs); how to enhance graduate employability in Nigeria; and how to review the computer science curriculum to reflect the dynamics of technology, convergence, industry and research/learning institutions.

Citing a recent World Bank study on technology convergence, Onawo said technology is re-ordering the labor market, making it more innovative, inclusive and global. Individuals, companies, and governments must re-strategies to be able to reap the benefits of these changes. Convergence is here. Technology is transforming the world of work, creating new job opportunities and making labour markets to innovate, Onawo said.

“As a country we must begin to seek new partners, local and global, to help us advance the new technology agenda influencing employment and businesses. As legislators, we recognise the role of the legislative chamber in setting the tone to encourage the growth of new opportunities for our citizens who must leverage on technology to be productive and globally competitive,” Onawo said.

He added: “Indeed, I am here to assert the position of the House of Representatives, on behalf of the Speaker of the House, as a champion of technology and a partner of Nigeria’s progressive march to technology advancement.
“We recognise that as convergence takes greater foothold, there will be more digitisation of work, and outsourcing will become a common feature,” Onawo further said.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, stressed the need for broadband growth, which he said, would facilitate technology convergence at a much faster rate.

Danbatta who was represented at the WACC forum by the Director of Spectrum Administration at NCC, Austin Nwaulune, said new multimedia applications for technology convergence, evolve high bandwidth requirements for expansion of networks, which he said, must ride on ubiquitous broadband availability.

To meet this requirements, there must be special focus on policies and regulation that will drive broadband penetration and boost technology convergence, Danbatta said.

Convergence in voice, video and data, enables consumers to talk, send text and do video over a single network, using a single application at much lower costs than ever. It also leads to the emergence of new technologies and applications giving rise to new services in Education, Healthcare, Entertainment, Inventory management, Security, Commerce, Transportation, among others, Danbatta said.