Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has disclosed that, the federal government has commenced a working relationship with Kenya and Rwanda governments on the maximum use of ICT to improve the financial inclusiveness of an average Nigerian.
Also, he said that federal government is contemplating establishing a communications bank which will be a development bank that will assist in the financing of communication and ICT companies based in the country .
Shittu disclosed this in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital at the weekend while fielding questions from journalists on the state of the nation.
He said that Nigeria has to bury her pride and visit the two smaller African countries to learn how they have advanced in their technological knowhow and how they have used communication and ICT to improve the living standard of their citizens .
Shittu observed that in Nigeria today, less than 50percent of the local government areas lack banking facilities hence they are being excluded from physical policies of government but with the e-banking being introduced.
He explained that Nigerians can operate financial transactions from their homes as well as transact other official business through their GSM including applying for international passports
The minister also explained that the establishment of the bank would create a welfare society and assist operators of communication companies to access working capital at low interest rate lamenting that foreign ICT operators are finding it extremely difficult to operate presently in the country hence the need for the Federal Government to come to their aid.
According to him, telecommunication business is very expensive as it requires huge capital explaining that $240million would be needed to obtain a license while installation of a mast would attract about N40billion.
The minister described the Ministry of Communications as the second after the petroleum sector in terms of revenue generation to the coffers of the federal government, stressing that in the past 16 years, GSM operators are contributing about 12 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He added that the communication sector is the highest employer of Labour today in the country noting that, the federal government was doing everything possible to create an enabling environment for operators of that sector so that business would run more profitably.
Shittu disclosed that there are also plans to produce SIM cards through local production adding that a letter to that effect has been forwarded to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for approval
Speaking on the laws guiding the operation of GSM in the country , the minister said non registration of SIM cards attract a fine of N250,000 and recalled that recently MTN paid the federal government the sum of N80billion out of the N330billion fined the company for failing to deactivate over five million unregistered SIM cards.
He announced that NCC, which is under his ministry, has introduced a toll free line for members of the public to make complaints about deficiencies they face in their mobile services.
Shittu however, urged the federal government to improve its power sector optimally and provide adequate security for communication installations to guide against vandalism assuring that the future of communications in the country is very bright under the present administration.