Telecommunication companies in Nigeria can rebuild the country’s economy and other sectors despite the devastating effect of the coronavirus disease on social and economic sectors, industry experts have said.
In just three months, the pandemic has left tears, sweat and blood on the people and the economy, waking the country to the reality of a new normal.
According to experts, Nigeria must leverage on the disruption to create a knowledge-based economy.
In a new whitepaper on Monday entitled ‘Telcos as a National Growth Accelerator,’ ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm, identified several strategies that governments could utilise to invest in stimulating growth by strengthening the telco position.
Chief Research Officer at ABI Research, Stuart Carlaw, said, “it could be argued that telcos could play a pivotal role in countries being able to rebound from the financial and productivity shock coming from COVID-19.”
The tech market advisory firm found that telcos had been invaluable in enabling some semblance of societal continuation during lockdowns due to the COVID-19.
“In a very tactical way, they have enabled governments to track, trace and manage the spread of the virus, communicate effectively and directly with people, and keep supporting society in a virtual, but valuable way. Without the investment and operational diligence of many telcos, the impact of COVID-19 would have been far deeper and more profoundly felt in all economies,”Carlaw stated.
For the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, OlusolaTeniola, the biggest recovery for Nigeria will be by the careful and full implementation of all recommendations in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020–25.
“Second, for there to be an immediate impact, government needs to kick-start the e-gov digital migration, which means the immediate development of e-systems in all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies and web-portals in different languages (Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa as a minimum) with voice assistance for the physically challenged.
“This will re-focus and redeploy government spending on creating jobs on the supply side for the youth and demand from the citizens interacting with the systems to fulfil different needs,” he added.
According to him, underpinning all this is the massive employment and re-training of our citizens to become more productive, whether from home, office or in business centres in malls.
TheManaging Director, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria,Mohammed Rudman, said telcos could aid the recovery efforts through cost-effective innovative data bundle for young entrepreneurs as well as lower bandwidth cost that would offer more data at lower cost.
“Telcos should ensure that their traffic is localised, that will help to reduce cost for them,” he added.
TheManaging Director/Chief Executive Officer, eStream Networks, MuyiwaOgungboye, could not agree less.
Nigerians now appreciate telecommunications service as important in the economy with the lockdown, he said.
Ogungboyeurged telcos to improve on the quality of service and ensure robust network that would accommodate new discovery of the new normal to be driven by Information and Communications Technology.
Looking to the future, Carlawadded, “They (telcos) will be key in enabling a new digital society. Beyond the obvious conclusions that we are likely to see, including more remote working, more virtual meetings, and more virtual teams (all of which will be enabled, thanks to the connectivity supplied by telcos), a raft of new solutions could accelerate Gross Domestic Product growth and all will require a robust level of support from the telco community.”
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