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ATCON tasks FG on economic digitisation as telcos activate 1.9m new subscribers

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The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has charged the Federal Government to commence the digitisation of the nation’s economy.

It stressed the need for the Federal Government to map out fresh plans that would assist the country to cope with economic challenges post-COVID-19 pandemic.

ATCON President, Olusola Teniola, told The Guardian yesterday in Lagos that every sector of the Nigerian economy should brace up for the challenges ahead, stressing that information and communication technology (ICT) would be strategic in diversifying and digitising the economy.

Teniola pointed out that the association would organise a virtual conversation to discuss the socio-economic and political impact of COVID-19 on the Telecommunications and ICT sector in Nigeria on June 4, through the Zoom platform.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had disrupted livelihoods and businesses socially, economically and politically, which had made the country to realise it could continue to rely on crude oil.

“For example, the price of crude oil in the international market fell below the benchmark prize of 2020 budget and the Federal Government has resorted to borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cushion the effect of the fall in the price of crude oil in the international market.

“To salvage the situation, there is an urgent need for collaboration public and private sectors collaboration to jumpstart the diversification and emergence of digitisation of the Nigerian economy,” he stated.

Teniola said the meeting would proffer ways of ensuring effective regulation, development and building of local capacities for the rapid spread of telecoms and ICT infrastructure facilities across the country.

He said there would also be the need to push for the buy-in of government at all levels to encourage telecoms and ICT infrastructure development in their respective states by encouraging investments through tax holidays and special intervention funds for the sector by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Meanwhile, the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) activated about 1.96m new telecommunications lines in the month of March.

The new subscriptions, which was about 500,000 over and above what the operators saw in February (about 1.41m), was not unconnected with Federal Government’s lockdown measures due to COVID-9, which saw more people having to work from home with the aid of Internet data.


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