FG assures of commitment to tackle telecom challenges
The federal government on Thursday assured of commitment to contain challenges facing the telecommunication industry in Nigeria.
TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the assurance at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Telecom Leadership Summit (NTLS) organized by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Pioneer Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, at the event, had said some of the challenges facing the telecom industry were not supposed to be.
Speaking, VP Osinbajo said, “Telecommunication’s over 10 percent contribution to GDP clearly indicates that the sector is one of the geese that lay Nigeria’s golden eggs”.
He further stated that, “The FG instituted Executive Orders to make it easier for Nigerians and investors to transact business and grow the economy.
“Considering the strides of NCC, FG is hopeful that Nigeria will continue to play in the league of nations making breakthroughs with telecom and ICT.
“FG is exploring how to support NCC and its partners to achieve the planned deployment of 120,000 kilometres of fibre across the country.
“Every Nigerian yet to be reached by broadband services will soon begin to enjoy such services because the FG is committed to containing the challenges of telecommunication in Nigeria”.
Meanwhile, panelists and other stakeholders at the event are unanimous that an executive order is required from FG to protect telecom infrastructure and put an end to the challenge of multiple taxation in the telecom sector.
“We cannot be talking about multiple taxes now, years after I left as Minister because it was one of the things I tried to address. It’s high time we got rid of those taxes. We need an Executive Order to deal with this once and for all,” Omobola said.
Gbenga Adebayo, President of ALTON appreciated the NCC for always taking up telecom challenges whenever the association drew the attention of the Commission to the challenges experienced daily.
“However, in some circumstances, a new approach is required by stakeholders in the industry. There are 39 taxes and levies imposed at several stages of telecom service provision in Nigeria.
“Regrettably, many of them are discriminatory and unnecessary. We need to work with all stakeholders to address these challenges quickly,” he said.
Earlier, Chairman of NCC board, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, in his opening remarks, harped on the importance of the telecom sector on every other sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“Telecommunication in Nigeria continues to service every other sector of the economy as the infrastructure on which other sectors and even government leverage.
“NCC encourages, weighs and takes along every useful view and opinion expressed. We are receptive and appreciative of innovative ideas,” he said.
While speaking, Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta said, “The leading countries in broadband deployment and usage are also among the leading industrialised centres of the world”.
He further stated that NTLS brings together topmost leadership in all segments of the Nigerian telecommunications industry to appraise the performance of the industry, share experiences and project into the future.
“So, we are here to prioritise and focus on more effective performance. It is not accidental that the facilitation of broadband penetration is the flagship of our 8-Point Agenda.
“The contribution of telecommunication to GDP is now 10.11 percent. Broadband penetration is now 33.7 percent and we will continue to grow the penetration in congruence with our regulatory mandate.
“Ease of Doing Business Order, waivers and other guidelines and regulatory instruments are instituted to create stable and vibrant environment in order to make telecom and other sectors to contribute to the growth of the economy in a consistent quantifiable manner.
“We have and are still engaging a variety of stakeholders in order to address the challenges in the telecom sector.
“We are eagerly looking forward to the review of the Resolution of the National Economic Council on the ‘Right of Way’ issues as it concerns clearing impediments to deployment of telecom infrastructure across the country”.
The Summit is themed “Repositioning the Nigerian Telecom Industry for Future Challenges and Prospects”.
VP Osinbajo was represented at the summit by Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters.