The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) today led other stakeholders in the Nigerian Telecom and ICT sector to have a virtual conversation on the socio-economic and political impact of Covid-19 on telecom and ICT sector in Nigeria.
Giving his welcome address at the conversation held via Zoom Video Conference and Facebook Live, the President of ATCON, Olusola Teniola, charged the stakeholders to come up with lasting solutions to issues that are militating against the growth of the telecommunications industry in Nigeria post-COVID-19.
At the high-powered virtual meeting, which was attended by top government functionaries, CEOs of Telecom and ICT Companies and Directors of public and private companies, including and few media friends, ATCON rolled out the objectives of the virtual meeting to include ensuring effective regulation and development and building of local capacities for the speedy spread of telecom and ICT infrastructure facilities across the country.
Also, to push for the buy-in of governments at all levels to encourage telecom and ICT infrastructure development in their respective states by encouraging rapid investment through incentives such as tax holiday and provision of special intervention funds for the sector by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, an excited Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, while appreciating ATCON for the meeting, noted that Nigerians are presently leveraging the power of ICT to do their business, despite the Covid-19 Pandemic, which has forced lockdown across the world.
He noted that despite Nigeria been hit by the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Nigerian Communications Commission has continued to drive the digital transformation mandate, which has been given to the Commission by the government.
For instance, the former University lecturer disclosed that the federal government and many state governments in Nigeria are leveraging data domiciled at the Commission to provide palliatives, especially to the most vulnerable in the country. Thus, the Commission is helping the government to contain the social-economic impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Other stakeholders agreed that Covid-19 has come to stay, but there is a need for collaboration between the private and the public sector to leverage ICT and boost the economy. Doing this, they argue infrastructures need to be built across the country to ensure the networks continue to withstand the pressures of the stay-at-home COVID-19 directive over the last 3 months.
The virtual meeting was attended by all the notable stakeholders in the industry from the public and private sectors. Some of them include Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director-General/CEO, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)