The development of sustainable environment for the telecommunications investment has become a national challenge for businesses and must be addressed, experts have said
This became the central focus of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) interaction with the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantanmi during a courtesy visit paid to the ministry in Abuja.
While commending the great work and the ministers’ track record, the President of ACTON, Mr Olusola Teniola informed Pantami that the association has held meetings with government at all levels with the sole aim of influencing
government policy in order to create an enabling operating environment for members as well as to protect the current NGN25.2trn (USD$70bn) of telecoms/ICT investment in Nigeria.
Following the ministers’ recent announcement that a new National Digital Strategy policy/plan is work in progress, Teniola requested a wider stakeholder engagement to ensure all lessons learnt from the previous National Broadband Plan (NBP) are captured and for legitimacy sake.
Speaking further, Teniola noted that the major issues limiting the rapid growth of telecoms industry in Nigeria has informed their decision to have this courtesy visit to the minister.
On the issue of the new broadband plan estimated to reach 70% by 2024, Teniola disclosed that, “Immediately after the expiration of the last Broadband Plan, our Association quickly put together a post Nigerian Broadband Plan meeting in which key stakeholders evaluated the expired broadband plan and came up with some recommendations that could help Nigeria to maximise the potentials inherent in Broadband. We are happy to share relevant documents with you that will assist you in this.
“Regulation toolkit updates (NCC/NITDA/NBC): Convergence is upon us and our
regulations need to remain relevant to digital issues. Data Protection and Privacy, jurisdiction and sovereignty are themes that we wish the Ministry to focus on with respect to our current multifaceted regulatory environment”, he said.
In addition, the ACTON President called the minister attention to see as a priority with NCC, the case of Critical National Infrastructure and the introduction of a Telecoms Interconnection Clearing Scheme to resolve the ongoing Interconnect debt (most recent is the Airtel-Glo partial disconnect process publicised by NCC on the 18th of October 2019).
Teniola further pointed out that, as a matter of importance during the minister’s stewardship, there is need to address the uneven distribution of quarterly revenue contribution within the industry so that more local indigenous companies can increase their percentage from a meagre 5% to 30%.
“As part of our own strategy to contribute to your desire to double the contributions of our sector to Nigeria’s GDP next year, we have a developmental initiative which is called National Dialogue on Telecom and ICT. We plan to host this event next year in Abuja”, he said.
On his part, the Minister expressed openness to work with all stakeholders to move the industry forward, emphasizing that success is a collective effort.
Pantami stated that the main priority of the Next Level Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is to ensure all agencies under its supervision are brought back on track to deliver effective and efficient services to Nigerians.