By Martin Ekpeke
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yesterday unveiled Nigeria’s investment potentials to the world, saying the country touted as the biggest Information and Communications Technology market in Africa is indeed a place to invest, as investment hits a whopping $70 billion from a mere $50million in 2001.
According to the telecom regulatory agency, there is a guarantee of adequate Returns on Investments (RoIs), even as the Nigeria’s ICT market boast of over 150 million active subscribers, in the voice segment, over 102 percent teledensity and a little over 92 million internet connections.
“We have come to this year’s ITU Telecom World to tell the ICT community that Nigeria, with a population of about 170 million is a preferred investment destination in Africa. Indeed, Nigeria is a place to invest,” the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta said in his remarks at the official opening of Nigeria Pavilion @ ITU Telecom World 2017 – Busan, South Korea.
Specifically, the Commission wants investments in broadband, which the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for sustainable development, says is presently 21 per cent penetration, believing that broadband fuels faster data transmission speed and capacity. “Our focus now is on how we can attract the right investments to grow this critical area of the sector through broadband coverage expansion”.
Speaking on what the Commission has done to create an enabling environment for investors, Danbatta said as a foremost regulator, the NCC has put in place measures and guidelines to licence wholesale broadband service providers consistent with the Open Access Model for broadband deployment. He disclosed that of the seven infrastructure companies (Infracos) earmarked for licensing, only two have so far been licensed for Lagos, which is commercial hub of Nigeria, and Abuja including the North Central zone of the country leaving five more licences for the South West, South East, South South, North East and North West zones of the country.
He assured that the process of licensing of infracos for the five remaining zones will be concluded soon.
The former University Lecturer, also noted that in the Commission’s firm resolve to strengthen institutions of corporate governance for telcos, woo investors and guarantee returns on their investments, it has in consultation with industry stakeholders introduced a mandatory Code of Corporate Governance as guide to managers and boards of telecommunications companies.
At the opening ceremony of Nigeria’s pavilion at the ICT fiesta earlier, Danbatta told the dignitaries in attendance including the ITU Secretary General, Mr Houlin Zhao, that Nigeria’s engagement with the global community during the event would include creating awareness of the investment opportunities in Africa’s biggest Telecom market, as well as guarantee of adequate Returns on Investments (RoIs).
Those who spoke at the investment forum include former Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson; the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Mrs Yewande Sadiku; and the ITU scribe, Mr Zhao.