FG targets 15% yearly increase in telecoms sector investment
The Federal Government has said it will work to ensure that the telecommunications sector sees 15 per cent yearly increase in investment flow into the industry.
The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, made this known in his ministry’s draft strategic blueprint for the next four years.
Recall that foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow to telecoms fell by 47 per cent in 2022, when the industry got $399.9 million, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), compared to $753 million recorded in 2021, showing a drop of $353.1 million or 46.9 per cent.
Tijani, in the 31-page document, titled: ‘Accelerating Our Collective Prosperity Through Technical Efficiency,’ said by 2027, the telecoms sector is expected to increase its net gross domestic product (GDP) contribution to the economy by 2027. The sector’s contribution is currently estimated at 16 per cent.
The minister said the expected investment would help reduce the gap of unconnected Nigerians in rural areas from 61 per cent to less than 20 per cent in the next four years.
This FG’s move, according to the document, is expected to increase the yearly net revenue of the telecommunications sector to the Federal Government by 100 per cent by 2027.
According to Tijani, he believes that all things being equal, there should be a 50 per cent improvement in Quality of Service (QoS) by the end of 2024.
While setting those metrics, the minister noted that the National Policy on Telecommunications, which was revised in 2000, is to account for changes in technology, standards and markets, and define the trajectory of the next phase of one of Nigeria’s fastest-growing sectors.
According to him, as telecommunications continues to evolve in line with new technology and associated opportunities, it is critical to revamp our national approach to account for changing imperatives and to situate broadband development at the core of our national policy for the next 20 years.
He said core issues such as spectrum management, convergence, universal access, broadband penetration, net neutrality and QoS have morphed significantly from when the last policy was issued.
Similarly, Tijani said the drive towards a digital economy requires deepening access to telephony and broadband services for the underserved and unserved. He stressed that the ministry will drive the review of the Telecoms Policy to account for these core issues.
Meanwhile, the new ministry’s blueprint document further informed about strategies targeted at increasing funding for Nigerian tech startups to $5 billion yearly by 2027.
Tijani said from around $1.2 billion in funding recorded in 2022, the government would ensure a 50 per cent increase in funding every year to achieve the $5 billion target by 2027.
While most Nigerian startups are currently sourcing their funding from foreign investors, Tijani said the government would drive an increase in local funding.
According to him, the intent is to create an environment for start-ups to raise the funding they require to thrive locally and promote the domiciliation of start-ups within the country.
As part of the strategies to attract more funding to the startup ecosystem in Nigeria, the Minister said: “We will establish an active sandbox environment that encourages and empowers innovators and entrepreneurs to develop unique solutions for sectors historically considered to have limited exposure to technological innovation. By removing regulatory barriers and providing the required support, we aim to inspire innovative, problem-solving approaches to existing challenges.
“To support the diversification of the Nigerian economy, we will collaborate with other ministries and parastatals, including private sector stakeholders to drive opportunities for start-ups to facilitate the application of technology for enhanced productivity in critical sectors across the country. We will back programmes focused on AgriTech, HealthTech, EdTech, MediaTech, CleanTech, CreTech among others.”
According to him, the ministry would also identify opportunities for the digital economy in various sectors such as Agriculture, Financial Services, Healthcare, Education, Energy, Transportation and Logistics, Manufacturing, Retail and E-commerce, Textiles and Fashion, Media and Entertainment, eSports/Gaming, and Real Estate.
Based on these opportunities, he said the government would launch at least one ministry-led Public-Private Partnership (PPP) pilot programme per sector by 2027.
The Minister noted that the strategic Blueprint of the Ministry encompasses five key pillars, which include Knowledge, Policy, Infrastructure, Innovation, entrepreneurship and capital (IEC), and Trade.
According to him, each pillar is integral to the Ministry’s mission and interconnected with others, forming the foundation of the strategy.
“As we embark on this transformative journey, we do so with an unwavering sense of purpose. We understand that the road ahead may be challenging, but it is through these challenges that we find the impetus to evolve and adapt. Together, we will harness the power of technology to elevate Nigeria’s standing on the global stage, create sustainable employment opportunities, and improve the quality of life for all Nigerians,” Tijani stated.
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