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Stakeholders to engage in discussion as ATCON hosts Minister

Industry stakeholders are set to engage in discussion as the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) set to host the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami.

The Minister – Industry interaction will also form a platform for ATCON member companies to share some of the challenges that are impacting negatively on the telecom industry in Nigeria and to offer Pantami the opportunity to share his plans for the industry with the relevant stakeholders.

The reception is planned for Thursday, December 12, 2019, at Abuja, according to a terse statement issued by the ATCON Executive Secretary, Mr Ajibola Olude.

Recall that, stakeholders has faulted the minister on being authoritarian in its directives without rightful and proper engagement.

“ATCON seeks to encourage stakeholders to harmonize ideas on addressing tension areas in the sector and creating a win-win value for all players in the industry”, the statement noted.

In a recent chat with ATCON President, Mr Olusola Teniola told Business Remarks that “he is of the strong opinion that Information and communications Technology (ICT) experts need to bring these pertinent points to the current Minister to avoid the traps and pitfalls that are obvious to the practitioners in the industry. Otherwise, anything else produced becomes ‘a dead on arrival’

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“History is very important in this context and a precedence exists”, Teniola noted.

Similarly in a recent forum in Lagos, Mr. Teniola listed some of the challenges that have held down the industry. According to him, the absence of a viable connection between effective government policies and the ability to manage technological innovation, especially in the lack of an environment that is characterised by much uncertainty.

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He further noted that the ICT sector is fragmented and the telecom landscape still metamorphosing. This he said is even as there is the regulatory regime is not yet in tune with changes in the evolving ICT industry, especially with regards to the promotion of local content and preparation for the fast-growing data-centric digitalisation that the new paradigm requires.

“Continually focusing on infrastructural rules that have a voice-only technology ambit to it will not suffice and misses the underpinning adaptation that technology has brought as a disruptive enabler for AI, Machine Learning & Robotics to exist and that will be common with the commercialisation of 5G networks in just under 7 to 8 years from now.”

Speaking further on the inadequacies that could spell retardation in the country’s quest for innovativeness in ICT, the ATCON president lamented: “We in the industry reluctantly recognised the sheer complexity that this brings to our current way of operating and are yet to absorb the nature of this technological advancement in addressing our multi-lingual society that exhibits a technology deficit from one spectrum to the other end when our basic education and tertiary Universities are still reeling out computer study graduates, taught in Cobol or Fortran only.”

He, however, advised that the only option is finding a way out through collaboration by all stakeholders.

In his words: “Without collaboration and partnership being fostered, we run the risk of defining and creating at best islands of progressive digital communities and landscapes that are not interconnected under a ‘winner takes all attitude’, with negative socio-economic flaws.”

The meeting with the Minister will present a viable platform to table the concerns of the industry and proffer a way forward.

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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