Telecommunications operators have called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to channel 30 per cent of the N15tn it announced recently to boost infrastructure development in the country, especially in the telecoms industry.
Vice President of Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria, Ikechukwu Nnamani, made this call at the Sectoral Virtual Forum 2020 organised by ATCON.
He argued that it would be unfair for the apex bank to devote the N15tn into building transportation infrastructure alone, leaving the telecoms sector, which is presently contributing 10.88 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
Nnamani, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Medallion Communications Limited, noted that for Nigeria to succeed in its digital economy plans, industry operators must get the right mix of funding to build telecoms infrastructure the system could ride on.
“The CBN has announced plans to establish N15tn infrastructure development company. I expected 30 per cent of that money to be channelled into building telecom infrastructure. Concentrating everything into building the transport infrastructure would be unfair to the 196m telecom subscribers, who are always demanding good quality service, but could not get it most of the time because of lack of the required infrastructure,” Nnamani said.
According to him, if 30 per cent of the money is channelled into the telecoms industry, it will give operators the opportunity to massively deploy infrastructure across the country, and ultimately aid the digital economy being championed by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, recently announced plans to establish a N15tn infrastructure development company, which he said would be used to fund the rebuilding of critical infrastructure across the country for an initial period of five years.
Specifically, the governor said funding would be mobilised to support the Federal Government in building the transport infrastructure required to move agriculture and other products to processors, raw materials to factories, and finished goods to markets.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa, has said that Information and Communications Technology will play a key role in the post-Coronavirus Disease era.
Inuwa, who stated this at the ATCON webinar, added that ICT was already playing a major role in the global effort at returning to normal living, explaining that COVID-19 triggered an unprecedented paradigm shift in the way of life, and that only the ICT sector could accelerate the development of digital economy.
“COVID-19 has stimulated a surge in demand for digital services, and is putting tremendous pressure on the existing ICT and telco infrastructure,” he added.