How We Plan to Attract More Investments Into Nigeria, by Danbatta
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By ROMMY IMAH
Even with the exponential growth in the ICT sector, Nigeria is not resting yet in its efforts at making the country Africa’s most sought after investors’ destination point. This is going by the plans of the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC as enumerated by the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta at a one-day Stakeholders Forum for ITU Telecom World 2016, held in Lagos.
Although the country’s ICT sector has recorded very significant growth in the last 15 years, a period it moved from a little below 500,000 active lines to the current 157million, surpassing the 100 percent threshold for teledensity, the regulator said it was not resting on its oars to attract more goodies to the country.
Danbatta said in the last 15 years, Internet connectivity climbed up from 50,000 in 2001 to its current 97million, while the country has recorded over $35billion from Foreign Direct Investments, FDIs in addition to local investments also attracting billions of dollars.
He said the Stakeholders Forum was aimed at restrategising on how the country can attract more meaningful investments. “We are here to fine-tune our story about the growth and attraction of our sector. We are here to think of ways to convince would-be investors on the potentials and capacity of our country. We are here to agree on the future growth of the telecom industry.”
Danbatta noted that though several investors have been in Nigeria, and that many more were on their way, the Bangkok ITU event would serve as a platform to reassure potential investors that Nigeria is not only safe for investors but a market where high Return on Investment, RoI is guaranteed, and regulatory processes open, effective and transparent.
“We will tell them about the growing demand for fast, stable and reliable Internet connectivity. We will tell them how the country has been receptive to investors through policies that include tax incentives and holidays, and that investors have been so encouraged that those who invested heavily in our Digital Mobile Licenses (DMLs) since 2001 have never known a better yesterday.
“We would also tell the would-be investors that the regulator has ensured it conducts its business according to international best practices and standards through regular interactive sessions at consultative fora with stakeholders before arriving at directions and regulations that guide the smooth operations in the sector,” Danbatta revealed.
The EVC added that the Nigerian delegation at ITU Telecom World 2016, will bring to the notice of the world, the revolution that is brewing in broadband in the country since 2013 when the National Broadband Plan (NBP) was inaugurated by government, in addition to the spirited efforts by the regulator to raise the level of broadband penetration in Nigeria.
“As we speak, we have 14 percent penetration and over 100 percent thirst for Internet. We are convinced that by 2018, the anticipated 30 percent penetration is not impossible to achieve. There is a gap, no doubt which these would-be and existing investors will bridge,” he said.
It could be recalled that Bitflux Consortium has rolled out on its 2.3GHz services. Already, the NCC has licensed two Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) for Lagos and the North Central, including Abuja. The NCC has promised that five more licenses are underway for the North West, North East, South West, South South and South East.
ITU Telecom World 2016 holds in Bangkok, Thailand from November 14-17, 2016, with the theme: “Collaborating in the Digital Economy.” The NCC hopes that innovators, entrepreneurs and operators will use the global event to tell their stories and interact with policy makers and government officials in a frank manner.
PHOTO CAPTION: Prof. Danbatta, NCC EVC