As the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) begins countdown to its Telecom World event in Bangkok, Thailand, Nigeria is set to showcase the potentials inherent in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry to global investors.
Speaking at a forum organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), preparatory to the global event, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu , noted that the preliminary meeting is to discuss how to convince investors on why they have to invest in Nigeria.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Arch. Sunday Echonu, stressed on the need for collaboration between all stakeholders to achieve digital transformation. According to him, Applications that impact users are important in the eco-system, but the Apps need to leverage Broadband networks to be effective.
He noted that with Broadband at just at 14% penetration, there is more to be done for Nigeria to join other developed countries in digital boom, especially in the area of policy formulation. “What stand these countries out are their policies when they started. There is a policy that hinges on public-private partnership (PPP). No government can do it alone.”
Quoting statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, the Minister noted that out of the N10 billion FDI Nigeria attracted, the telecom sector accounts for N1 billion, but that the investment in the sector needs to be increased.
Explaining the reason for the pre-ITU forum, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, while acknowledging the growth of telecoms and internet connectivity in Nigeria, noted that “Nigeria is not yet there”.
“It is work in progress. We are gathered here for a simple reason today, to chart a new path, interact and collaborate with a view to creating a template that will form our narrative at the international Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World 2016.”
He spoke further: “We are here to re-strategise on how we can attract more meaningful investments into our country. We are here to fine-tune our story about the growth and attraction of our sector. We are here to think of ways to convince would-be investors on the potentials and capacity of our country. We are here to agree on the future growth of the telecom industry.”
According to him, ITU Telecom World event will see Nigeria selling Return on Investment (RoI); transparent regulatory processes, huge demand for internet connectivity and incentives for investors to the global community as reasons to invest in the country’s ICT industry.
Local Organising Committee Chairman and Director of Spectrum Administration (DSA) at the NCC, Engr. Austin Nwaulunne, explained that out of the global ITU theme of ‘Collaborating in a Digital Economy’, the NCC chose ‘Smart Communities: The Key To A Digital Nigeria’ as the local theme to emphasis ICTs critical role in Nigeria’s socio-economic needs.
Enumerating the benefits of Small and Medium Enterprises participating in the ITU Telecom World event in Bangkok, Nwaulunne said SMEs and Innovators will be afforded speaking opportunities at the event, targeted meeting with participants across the globe and eligibility to join the ITU Telecom Award.
Also speaking, Vice President, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr Ibrahim Dikko, encouraged Nigerian businesses to be part of the Bangkok experience to help provide investment and grow the Nigerian telecom industry.
According to the Managing Director of Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) Limited, Ms Abimbola Alale, NCC has made the ITU Telecom World a very good tool for promoting NigComSat to the world.
Speaking further, Local Organising Committee member, and Manager, Stakeholder Management and Customer Service Representative, Galaxy Backbone Ltd, Franklyn Ginger-Eke noted: “It had always looked like a public sector arena, but we have seen the importance it has on our ecosystem. So we encourage the private sector, they need to identify the opportunities the ITU has afforded us to play on the global arena.”