The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) is getting to host a sectoral virtual forum to address challenges in the sector with the aim of meeting the National Broadband target of 70% penetration by 2025.
The forum will also address issues concerning telecoms consumers and the impact of COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 era on the digital economy.
The theme of the forum is “Meeting the interests of government, consumers and telecom & ICT Companies in the era of COVID-19 and post Covid-19 pandemic for digital economy development.”
The President of ATCON, Mr Olusola Teniola in a statement signed by the Executive Secretary, Ajibola said “ATCON is providing a veritable platform for governments, consumers (corporate and personal) and telecommunications and ICT companies to rub minds on how consumers can be better off in terms of effective delivery of telecoms and ICT services and products in Nigeria,”
According to Teniola “the centrality of the consumer to the projected growth of the Nigerian telecoms and ICT Sector cannot be overlooked in the area of the needed investment to accelerate the progress of our sector. With the emergence of digital economy in Nigeria coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, many economic transactions would be done digitally going forward.”
He said everyone has a key role to play in actualising the dream of giving Nigerian telecoms and ICT consumers a place in the heart of governments.
Teniola noted that all hands must be on deck and that governments must make laws that encourage further investment in the sector. “Telecommunications and ICT companies must make consumers satisfaction their priority and the consumers must support the telecoms and ICT companies by requesting the government to relax its exorbitant taxes and levies and telecoms and ICT companies must be able to buy Forex directly from Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
“Nigeria’s telecom sector has witnessed two major important developments – President Muhammadu Buhari, on October 23, 2019, renamed the ministry which supervises the telecoms and ICT Sector to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and further expand its mandate to capture the goals of digitalization of the Nigerian economy in line with the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) and the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These two important developments will form the basis of the continued development of the Telecoms and ICT Sector in the next few years,”Teniola said.
According to ATCON President, part of the objectives of the sectoral forum is to converge regulators’, operators’ and consumer’ interests “the regulator’s interest focuses on ensuring a competitive telecom market and fast-tracking developments in the Telecom industry.
He said members of the forum will include, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) will constitute the role of the government, all members of ATCON and players in the industry will constitute the role of the operators while National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Consumer Rights Awareness Advancement And Advocacy Initiative (CRAAAI), Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
Others include the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Nigerian Bar Association, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), and National Universities Commission among others will constitute the role of the consumers.
Teniola noted that “the interdependence among the government, telecom and ICT Companies and Nigerians are clearly obvious but each of them has limitations and potentials hence the forum would make an attempt to address their limitations and turn them to advantage for the development of Nigerian telecom and ICT Sector in this era of COVID-19 and thereafter”.