By Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has said the telecoms industry as one of the key drivers of the nation’s economy, can bail Nigeria out of recession if fully explored.
Towards this end, Ajimobi tasked all stakeholders in the sector including the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to continue the drive towards making the industry a huge economic and employment generation sectors for the growth of the nation.
He made the call at the first annual retreat of the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications held at Carlton Gate Exclusive Hotel in Ibadan at the weekend.
The theme of the retreat was ‘Telecommunications in Nigeria: Fundamentals, Trends and Challenges.’
Ajimobi, who was represented by Mr. Niyi Ajao, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) said that the state was looking at ICT as a key driver of the state’s economy.
He said the state would soon establish an ICT hub, where it intended to create 20,000 knowledge-driven jobs.
“We have over 400,000 students in Oyo State. We have 2,138 primary schools and 630 secondary schools out of which only 30 schools benefit from ICT.
“We have been able to transform the state economy through ICT, having embraced ICT in carrying out and monitoring the state’s daily activities,” he said.
The governor said the state government recently launched technology innovation fund, adding the state was willing to partner NCC, NITDA and Telecoms providers.
Similarly, Hon. Saheed Fijabi (APC-Ibadan South-west) said that the contribution of telecommunications could facilitate the nation’s exit from its current economic challenges, if fully explored.
Fijabi, who is the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications, said the communications industry was a viable and sustainable means of generating revenue for any country.
“There is tremendous increase in telecommunication subscribers from 142million as at August 2015 to 152 million in August 2016, which is a 5.9 per cent increase .
“Teledensity rose from 107.6 per cent in August 2015 to 109.1 per cent in August 2016, recording a 1.47 per cent increase in Foreign Direct Investment(FDI)
“The FDI in the sector has increased from 32billion dollars in 2015 to 38 billion dollars in 2016,” he said.
He said the House of Representatives was committed to exercising the supervisory powers granted by the constitution and ensuring that all agencies of government and parastatals maximise their potential.
Fijabi said the essence of the retreat was to identify and examine the impact of the fundamentals, trends and challenges of telecommunications in Nigeria.
Also, the Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the telecoms industry was one of the dynamic sectors in the nation’s economy.
Danbatta, who was represented by Mr. Bakowa Wakil, a Deputy Director and Head of Wireless Network, NCC, called for the support of the committee in moving forward the telecommunications sector in the country.