Local and foreign investments in the Nigerian telecoms sector has now reached $68b and this is according to the former Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Dr. Hamadoun Toure who made this known at Nigerian Telecoms Investment Forum which was part of the ITU Telecom World 2016 at Bangkok, Thailand. Of that figure, $35b came from foreign direct investment (FDI) and this points to a stronger local investment since the sector was deregulated in the early 2000s.
According to a statement by the Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Tony Ojobo who spoke to news men on the topic, he said Toure also said “the next growth for voice communication is in Quality of Service. The new oil in Nigeria is ICT and data transmission is the way to go.” The former ITU president also commended Nigerian’s telecom regulator the NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) for what he called a transparent management of the nation’s telecom services.
On the broadband side, it was revealed that Nigeria now has a 21 percent penetration and is on track to meet the 30 percent mark by 2018. We have seen significant investments on the part of telcos in 3G and 4G infrastructure in major cities across Nigeria and the better part of that news is that they come at what you can refer to as affordable rates.
On the part of the NCC Executive Vice Chairman/CEO Prof. Umaru Danbatta who was also a panelist at the event alongside the Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai, he said “we have come to let the global community know that investments are welcome in this area (broadband).” The Kaduna State governor said his state will soon launch the Smart Kaduna initiative and has contacted an unnamed smartphone manufacturer to support the initiative by making smart pocket phones.
Still on the government side, the federal minister of communication Barr. Adebayo Shittu who represented President Muhammadu Buhari said investors are welcome at any time to Nigeria and if visa is an issue, they should let the ministry know immediately so something can be done in that regard. “Feel free to come to Nigeria and if visa is an issue, let us know. Our doors are open and the ease of doing business in Nigeria is being improved upon.”
On the private sector end, Ms. Funke Opeke who is the CEO of MainOne revealed thay her company was building over 1,000km of fibre optic in Lagos and this is part of the building block to encourage broadband penetration.