Telecoms Subscribers now over 150 Million – Shittu ……as FDI Increases to $38 Billion

IHIDERO Victor Osae, Kaduna

Nigeria’s active telecommunication subscribers has increased from 148,70 million to 152, 28, million between August 2015 and August 2016.

The nation’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the telecoms sector has also increased from $32 billion in 2015 to $38 billion in 2016.

This was part of information disclosed by the Minister of Communication, Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, during the 4th National Council on Communications Technology meeting in Kaduna on Friday.

The minister equally revealed that broadband penetration has reached a milestone of about 20.95%, while the percentage of internet penetration has also reached 47.44% making Nigeria second in Africa behind South Africa in the African continent.

“We are working to have ICT infrastructure designated as Critical National Infrastructure. Efforts are also being made to procure two additional communication satellites to complement the existing NIGCOMSAT as a means of reaching areas that cannot easily be covered.

”We are also working to make more Investments in building the capacity and harnessing the talents of our youth. In particular we are increasing Accelerators and Incubator programme as a means of building and harnessing the capacity of our increasingly ICT for national development.

“We believe that ICT companies should benefit from government incentives where first entrants can get pioneer status which would lead to an unprecedented boom in the sector. Shittu explained.

In his remarks, Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, said “The Council meeting provides an opportunity for key actors in the industry to review policies and address issues affecting the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector at the National and subnational levels.

“It is my expectation that this year’s regular meeting will come up with a roadmap that will assist the country and its teeming youthful talents to begin to reap from the many untapped opportunities inherent in the Nigerian ICT sector.

“I am optimistic that this meeting will provide you the avenue to critically look at this sector and fashion out ways that will reposition Nigeria to tap into the great opportunities and potentials of ICT.”

The governor stressed that the theme of this meeting, “Information and Communications Technology as the Focal Point of Nigeria’s Economic Diversification” is apt and well-timed and coming at a time when Nigeria is grappling with serious economic challenges arising, largely from our over-reliance on crude oil as the major source of revenue.

He however called for the harmonisation of national policies for telecommunications, ICT and broadcasting, adding that “the harmonisation is overdue, to recognize digital convergence and increasing movement towards mobile platforms.

“There must be greater clarity in the institutional, legal and regulatory framework to enable optimal use of our ICT endowments, and attract unprecedented investments in the sector in the directions mentioned above.

“The challenge before the Federal Executive and Legislative leadership so well represented here is to ensure this happens before you return to Kaduna next year for the Fifth meeting of the National Council on Communications Technology. I hope this happens.”

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