Namadi Sambo

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The gains recorded in the telecoms sector can only be sustained if the tempo of investment in the sector is sustained, Vice President Namadi Sambo has said. He has therefore called for more investment in the sector.

Sambo made the call during the recentt  International Telecommunications Union Telecoms World conference (ITU Telecoms World 2012) in Dubai, UAE, where he told the global community that Nigeria remained 'the place to be' in terms of investments in telecommunications.

He commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on its investment drive in the telecoms sector and urged investors to come and take advantage of the friendly business operating environment of the country and invest in massively in broadband provisioning, a dearth of which has become a major concern to the government.

Sambo explained that although the country had experienced monumental growth in voice telephony, there was a missing link in broadband as the cost of its acquisition remained high.

However, he commended the NCC on a job well done so far, and assured the global community that the NCC was about the most independent regulator in Africa and the global arena. He said that with a robust regulator and a government that has put in place measures to encourage investors, there would be guarantee on return on investments.

The VP said that government has put in place measures to cushion harsh investments and to create a safe environment that would guarantee greater interest of investors not only in telecommunications but also in other areas of the economy.

"Mr. President would have liked to have been here to illustrate the level of importance that we attach to this sector. This is a sector that cannot be discussed exclusively; therefore I would like to share with you some of the added values that are being planned for national growth,” the VP said.

According to him, one of the major issues had been power supply, but he assured investors of improved power supply in the country, which he said came into reality, since the beginning of the current administration in 2010.

He recalled that Nigeria was generating 2,000 megawatts of electricity before 2010, but that today, the country is generating 4,300 megawatts. “We are building 10 new turbine power plants, which are all at an advanced stage of completion and when completed, these 10 plants will add 5,000 megawatts to the national grid,” he said.

“We have also reached an advanced stage in the construction of a large hydro power plant known as the Mambilla Power Plant which will add 3,050 megawatts. Also, we will soon start the construction of the Zungeru hydro-power plant that will add an additional 700 megawatts.

Furthermore, we are exploring alternative energy sources, and Nigeria has signed an agreement with Siemens that will produce 450 megawatts of solar power in the first year of the project's commencement," the vice president said, adding that all the efforts were in line with the government’s firm belief that it will achieve its objective of providing adequate power supply to the people and investors."

The Vice President said: “We are also improving in the area of education. This year, nine new universities are being established in Nigeria. We are partnering with state governments to improve on both primary and secondary education while pursuing science education deliberately. We have also put in place measures that will ensure that there is an institutional framework in place to create an enabling environment for investors which will allow for an investment climate that is of international standard for our foreign investors.”

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