Saturday, 27th November 2021
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

ATCON targets telecoms bank for infrastructure development

• Recommends redundant network infrastructure for service availability The next two years may see the emergence of a telecoms bank for infrastructure development in the sector, the new President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Ikechukwu Nnamani, has stated. Nnamani, in an interview with journalists, shortly after taking the mantle of leadership from the…

Nnamani

Recommends redundant network infrastructure for service availability

The next two years may see the emergence of a telecoms bank for infrastructure development in the sector, the new President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Ikechukwu Nnamani, has stated.

Nnamani, in an interview with journalists, shortly after taking the mantle of leadership from the immediate past president, Olusola Teniola, said having a telecoms bank for the industry will be one of the cardinal objectives of the new executive.

He noted that despite the buoyancy of the sector, there are still various challenges bedevilling it, which require special funding.

According to him, “It is for this reason a major area the new Exco will be focused on is appropriate telecom and ICT industry financing. We have already started the engagement with key government agencies on how the right mix of equity and debt financing can be made available to the telecom and ICT sector, including our request that part of the proposed infrastructure fund being put together by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should be allocated to the telecom and ICT sector. We have also called for the establishment of a special bank for the telecom and ICT industry similar to what we have in the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, among others.”

Nnamani, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Medallion Communications, said there will be stakeholders’ engagement that will also ensure that some other industry challenges, including Right of Way (RoW) charges, are addressed significantly.

He added that a lot of progress has been made with the recent confirmation by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, with some state governments agreeing to waive the RoW fees or reduce it to N145 per linear meter.

“That is progress which will ultimately lead to the rapid deployment of fibre transmission infrastructure across the country. Some progress has also been made with respect to vandalism with the work done so far on the classification of telecom and ICT infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure that will be protected.

“Progress has also been made in the area of multiple taxations. Unfortunately, challenges still exist with the power supply and forex, but we will continue to work on those. Some of the challenges we can address with more advocacy and interaction with the relevant government agencies; others, we as service providers may need to readjust some areas of our operations to overcome. For instance, in areas where vandalism cannot be totally prevented, putting in place a redundant network infrastructure so there is the availability of service at all times is the one way to go,” he stated.

Nnamani assured that the new leadership, which he will be pioneering, will not depart from achievements recorded by his predecessor.

“As you noted, I have been on the ATCON Executive Board for several years both as a Coordinator of the Telecom Operators sub-group, as well as the 1st Vice President, which was my last post before being elected president. All this time, I have handled the responsibilities of my companies without issues and challenges.

“The same process will continue even now that I am President of our great association. Remember we have a Secretariat, which is responsible for the day to day running of the Association, and we will strengthen it for more efficiency. I also have a strong team in the current Exco and they will provide needed support. Historically, ATCON has always been run without dependence on a single person and that will continue even during this new Exco,” he stated.

Nnamani also assured of sustained engagement and collaboration with the Federal Government.

“We have realised that a constructive engagement with the relevant government agencies helps to reduce friction and ensure that areas of disagreement on any policy or guidelines are resolved in a timely manner. We changed our approach in engaging with the government from being confrontational to cordial meetings where we point out the social-economic benefits that having a robust telecom and ICT infrastructure in the various states brings to the people of the state.

“This has made the state government to now see telecom and ICT service providers as partners in the provision of dividends of democracy to the citizens and who should be supported to establish services in the various states. This has been a win-win for all parties involved.”