Obasanjo, others want Nigeria to kick-start manufacturing in telecom sector
Eager for more appreciable growth in the telecommunication sector of the country, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has charged stakeholders to seriously look at actions taken in the past with the intent of not only learning from them but also devising new and better ways to attaining progress.
Speaking at the opening of stakeholders’ conference on telecommunications industry organised by the Bells University of Technology, Ota, in partnership with Nigerian Society of Engineers and LM Ericsson Nigeria, Obasanjo said since communication plays a vital role in social relations, telecommunications must be made to enhance human existence.
He recalled that at independence in 1960, there were only 18,724 functional telephone lines for an estimated population of 45 million people, adding that between 1960 and 2000, active subscribers base grew to 400,000 fixed lines for the then estimated 120 million population, despite government monopolistic operations, poor, inefficient and frustrating challenges.“The quantum leap from that time to date is near monumental.Thanks to mobile telephone technology, the privatisation and competition brought into it, giving room for 120 million lines to a population of about 180 million”, he said.
The former President urged government to create enabling environment where communications infrastructure would continue to flourish to deliver a wide range of services to the doorsteps of the citizens like e-banking, e-education, e-health, e-governance amongst others across the country.
Chairman of the occasion, Eng. Vincent Maduka, said there is need for stakeholders in the industry to study models used by emerging developing nations who have done well in the sector with the aim of innovatively improving the sector.
The former Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) said level of enlightenment and depth of commitment of government and efforts of the public sector are crucial to the survival of the industry.
In a keynote address, President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Otis Anyaeji, observed that in the last two decades, Nigeria has grown to be the largest market hub for telecommunication equipment in Africa, even as he called for investments focus on manufacturing of devices such as handsets, changers, circuit boards and cables locally. According to him, there is urgent need to step up local production, begin the application of solar power generation to reduce dependence on diesel.
“My views would be limited to certain areas considered salient in consolidating on gains made in the sector. These areas include effective utilisation of the digital dividend II and preparing for IOT and upgrading from Internet Protocol version 6(IPV6) which would position Nigeria more as a manufacturing hub of telecommunication equipment in Africa,” he said.
Speaking on the theme of the conference: Telecommunications Industry in the 21st Century: Overcoming Present and Future Challenges, Anyaeji calls for improvement in regulations towards promoting growth in the sector which he believe would in turns make significant contributions to the nations’ gross domestic product.