Nigeria seeks $25bn investment in ICT sector
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
The Federal Government plans to double investment in the information communication telecommunication (ICT) sector from $25 billion level to $50 billion in the coming years.
The Federal Government is therefore looking for another $25 billion in private sector investment into the country’s ICT sector in foreign direct investment (FDI).
Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson who unveiled this ambitious plans in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, during the official launch of the 'Broadband Campaign" with the theme 'Connected Nigeria, Connected Nigerians' said pursuant to achieving this target, the Ministry and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have been going round the world selling the ICT sector to the international investing public.
"We need $25 billion more in the next few years into the country. As I speak with you, the NCC is going around, as the ministry also does, to win more investors into the country to boost broadband penetration in Nigeria," she told ICT journalists at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos, venue of the briefing.
According to her, though, the broadband penetration is the country currently stands at between 6-7 per cent, the ministry is working with all stakeholders to ensure that the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018 implementation is achieved, adding that one of the steps taken to ensure its implementation is the setting up of a council.
She said: "To ensure that the Plan is monitored, we set up the Broadband Council in 2013 to ensure proper monitoring of the Broadband Plan implementation.”
She said the ministry has been working with state governments and other relevant stakeholders to tackle technical, financial and environmental obstacles to accelerated broadband roll-out across the country.
She expressed optimism that with ICT sector currently contributing about eight per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the sector will do more if the hurdles on the way of operators are removed.
She recalled the landmark memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the Lagos State government and the operators as a loud testimony to the efforts of the ministry at creating a conducive environment for business in the country. According to her, the MoU led to the reduction of the cost of fibre optic deployment by 85 per cent, stressing that similar move is being made to ensure the that Right of Way (RoW) cost is drastically reduced for faster infrastructure deployment.
Speaking on the objective of the broadband campaign, the minister said it was designed to get Nigerians to be aware of "what can happen when you have broadband access and what can happen when you use broadband."
She said the campaign is targeted at individual internet users and sensitise end users on cyber security and online protection, among others.
"So, the campaign is not premature. We want people to understand and know what is possible and benefits about the broadband," she said.
President, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Member, Broadband Council, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, the broadband campaign would be useful in sensitising Nigerians about applications of broadband access when they have it.
He commended the efforts of the ministry on RoW reduction cost and also called on the operators to embrace co-location initiative which he said has been a great success factor to achieving broadband penetration.