* MTN earmarks $1.6bn to strengthen network
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja said the federal government was committed to providing an enabling environment for businesses in the country to thrive.
This came as the telecoms’ giant, MTN, pledged to pump $1.6 billion into its Nigerian operations to strengthen its network.
According to Buhari, partnerships between the public and private sectors remain the most veritable platforms for bringing prosperity to the masses.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Buhari gave the assurance in the State House while receiving the Chairman of MTN Group, Mr. Mcebisi Jonas.
He was quoted as saying that the support being offered by MTN for Nigeria’s digital inclusion programmes gladdened his heart.
Buhari also said such programmes would boost Nigeria’s diversification arrangement and financial inclusion projects.
“I am pleased to hear of the progress you are making in Nigeria, especially in supporting our digital inclusion programmes. Your proposed projects, such as the rural telephony project, will surely complement our economic diversification and financial inclusion programs by connecting the producers based in rural areas to consumers located in our major towns and cities,” he said.
The president told his guest that the government was looking at ways of increasing the level of security across critical national infrastructure, explaining that doing so would guarantee seamless service delivery and as well facilitate investments across the country.
Buhari who described Nigeria as both the Africa’s largest telecommunications’ market as well as MTN’s largest market, said: “Our hope is for operators like MTN to continue to focus on delivering quality service at reasonable prices. If we put our minds together, such win-win positions are achievable.”
The statement added that the MTN Group Chairman, Jonas, in his remarks, said his visit to the president along with top executives of the telecoms’ company was meant to express appreciation to Buhari for addressing most of the issues raised when he visited South Africa last year, noting that “there is progress on the remaining ones.”
Jonas also said in line with the MTN Group’s commitment to investing in Nigeria, the company would commit the sum of $1.6 billion from its operations in the country to strengthen its network and systems.
According to him, MTN identifies with government’s plans to fortify the country’s digital economy.
“We are fully aligned with the strategic agenda of government, and are committed to strengthening the digital economy of the country,” Jonas said.