FG wants more investments in 3G, 4G to reach un-served Nigerians
• Sector attracts $68billion
The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to accommodate more investments in the Nigerian telecommunications sector that will see 3G and 4G services gets to underserved and un-served Nigerians. These include rural dwellers particularly in the remote villages of the country that lack telecoms infrastructure and are unable to communicate as easily as their peers in the cities and urban centres.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), telecoms industry regulator, Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this to investors at the Nigerian Telecoms Investment Forum at the just concluded International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2016, Bangkok, Thailand.
ITU, the oldest existing international organisation, is a United Nations (UN) agency that coordinates telecommunication operations and services throughout the world.
Already, the NCC last week said about 40 million Nigerians, which are located in some remote part of the country still don’t have access to basic telephony services.
As such, the Commission said it has become highly important to re-strategise for services to reach every other part of the country.
The call for more growth in the industry is coming when the sector’s investments as at July was said to have hit $68 billion (N21 Trillion).
The NCC, which revealed this latest statistics to investors in Thailand, said of this amount, $35 billion came from Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into Nigeria in the last 15 years.
Danbatta, according to documents made available to journalists, from the forum, told the audience that the regulator has begun digital transformation through the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2013 – 2018), stressing that the target is to achieve 30 per cent by 2018.
Although Nigeria has hit 21 per cent so far, “investments will be needed for 3G, 4G and to take services to under-served and un-served regions of Nigeria, and we need to deploy infrastructure to those areas that have no services, we understand that and the strategy to address them hence we came out with the eight-point agenda to address this.”
Danbatta claimed Nigeria has a very flexible regulatory environment and “we are fare, firm and forthright in our activities.”
According to the immediate past Secretary-General of the ITU, Dr. Hamadoun Toure, who was the keynote speaker at the Nigerian Telecoms Investment Forum in, Bangkok, while appreciating the figures of investment and growth, said those statistics recorded so far in Nigeria point to the fact that “the country is certainly a preferred destination for telecommunications investors in Africa.”
Toure explained that within 15 years when Nigeria opened its telecoms sector to the global community, investments have grown in leaps and from a paltry 400,000 connected lines in 2001; the country now has over 150 million connected lines and a teledensity of 107 percent.
“The next growth for voice communication is in Quality of Service,” he stated,
He was particularly excited that while he served as Secretary-General of ITU, Nigeria occupied the number one position as the fastest growing telecoms sector for five consecutive years.
While assuring existing and potential investors in Nigeria of government support and protection at all times, the Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, who spoke on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, said since Nigeria was now navigating from resource based to knowledge based economy, “we want to encourage you (the investors) to renew your confidence in our country.”
“Feel free to come to Nigeria and if visa is an issue let us know. Our doors are open and the ease of doing business in Nigeria is being improved upon.