Vice-President Namadi Sambo
Emma Okonji in Dubai
Nigeria, yesterday lobbied global investors at the on-going International Telecoms Union (ITU) World Conference 2012 in Dubai, to invest in the Nigerian telecoms sector, with promises to provide them with enabling business environment.
Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, who led the Nigerian delegation to the conference, assured potential investors of better opportunities to invest in Nigeria. According to him, the Nigerian telecoms sector has all it takes to attract investors, considering recent development in the telecoms and power sectors of the economy.
Sambo, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan, said the present administration has improved power generation from 2,000 megawatts in 2010, to 4,300 megawatts in 2012, with plans to further increase it by additional 7,000 megawatts through the planned hydropower project that would soon commence. “With the improvement in power supply of 19 hours non-stop in Lagos and Abuja, investors should be well assured of better electricity supply that will support their investment in telecoms and other sectors of the economy.
Presenting the potentials and business opportunities of Nigeria to global core investors at a lunch hosted by the Nigerian government at the conference, Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, said Nigeria had grown its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by additional 5 per cent, with plans to increase it in the next five years. She said the country invested $25 billion in the telecoms industry in recent times and that the investment was on-going, paving way for better investment.
Executive Vice President of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, while presenting the opportunities that abound in the Nigerian telecoms sector, said Nigeria remained the second largest growing economy in Africa, after South Africa, with a teledensity of 72.17 per cent and a subscriber number of 105 million in 2012, coming from a teledensity of 0.04 per cent with 400, 000 telecoms subscribers in 2001. The growth in teledensity and subscriber number is an indication of a country with high growth potential for investment, Juwah said.
“We have the market, we have the enabling environment but our challenges are in broadband penetration and distribution, which is an opportunity for investors to catch up with, since the market is readily available,” Juwah said.
He added that recent survey showed that Nigeria lacks internet speed and reliability, but called on investors to study the market and invest in it, to boost the internet speed and reliability of the country. Government, he said, would continue to create the enabling environment for business to thrive, assuring investors of safety of their business, as soon as they indicate interest to invest in Nigeria.
Listing the challenges of Nigeria in broadband penetration, Juwah said “the challenges on ground bothers on how to meet up with the high demand for broadband, and how to take broadband services to the rural and underserved communities where the market potentials exist.”
Juwah, who spoke on new initiatives to further deepen broadband penetration in the country, said Nigeria developed a new business model known as the Open Access Model, aimed at unbundling telecoms infrastructure in layers and allow operators to choose and develop the infrastructure of choice in their own capacities.
The Nigeria delegation to the ITU conference include the Vice President and members of the presidency, members of the Ministry of Communications Technology, members of NCC, members of the House of representatives, led by Chairman, House Committee on Communications, Oyetunde Ojo, Governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji and the Governor of Niger State, Aliu Babangida, among other officials.