ABUJA, NOVEMBER 22, 2016 – Despite the economic recession, investments in the telecoms sector hit $68billion in July, the former Secretary-General, International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Dr. Hamadoun Toure, has said.
Of this figure, $35billion came as Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs)
Toure, who was keynote speaker at the Nigerian Telecoms Investment Forum at the just-concluded ITU Telecom World 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand, said these successes pointed to the fact that “the country is certainly a preferred destination for telecoms investors in Africa”.
He said the country remained the place to invest because the population is huge,there is political stability and a very dynamic telecoms regulatory regime.
NCC Public Affairs, Director, Tony Ojobo, said the ex-ITU scribe explained that within 15 years when the telecoms sector was liberalised, subscribers have grown from a paltry 400,000 connected lines in 2001, to over 150million connected lines and a teledensity of 107 percent.
He said: “The next growth for voice communication is in quality of service. The new oil in Nigeria is ICT and data transmission is the way to go.”
He was, particularly, excited that while he served ITU Secretary-General, Nigeria occupied the number one position as the fastest-growing telecoms sector for five consecutive years.
Toure told current and potential investors that the NCC has done a very good job with the way it has managed regulatory activities transparently.
He said he is more Nigerian than his native Mali because the country has always led the way. “Nigeria should share its experience with other African countries,” he said.
His audience included Communications Minister, Adebayo Shittu, Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Dambatta, members of the diplomatic corps, chief executives of agencies under the Ministry of Communications and major telecoms companies from Nigeria, Thailand, senators and members of the National Assembly among others
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.”
el-Rufai, who served as panelist at the forum alongside Prof. Danbatta, Ms. Funke Opeke of MainOne Cable, Mr. Ibrahim Dikko of Etisalat said technology as an enabler has helped Kaduna State to reduce land fraud and tax payments are now done online thus reducing incidents of leakages.
Danbatta said the regulator has started digital transformation through the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2013 – 2018).