Nigeria records N1.3trn telecom sector investment in 7 years
Yar’Adua, who disclosed this in Abuja while declaring open the sixth annual conference of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), expressed his determination to accelerate ICT infrastructure development with the aim of further boosting the growth of the sector.
This is coming as Dasuki Nakande, minister of state for information and communication, explained why government decided to fully privatise Nitel, stressing that "the particular transaction that sold Nitel to Transcorp did not work as planned and there were hitches in the share purchase agreement."
Yar’Adua who was represented by Yayale Hammed, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), noted that "the telecommunication sector in Nigeria has witnessed major structural changes and monumental growth in the past few years."
He described Nigeria’s telecommunication sector as one of the fastest growing in the world, which has witnessed "a quantum investment of $11 billion" in the last seven years."
The president observed that the sector had grown "from a teledensity of 0.73 in 2001 to 38.09 in 2008; with installed capacity of about 95 million; close to 60 million active lines with about 60 percent coverage."
While lamenting that "these positive indices notwithstanding, the sector is still faced with a very real challenges," the president said within the context of his administrations’ holistic commitment to physical development as outlined in the seven-point agenda, government would accelerate ICT infrastructure development with the aim of further boosting the growth of the telecommunications sector in Nigeria.
He noted further that from a global perspective Nigeria endorsed the institution of an open and stable telecommunications policy framework that support effective global and regional alliance partnerships; "and one which equitably places the benefits of ICT at the disposal of our common humanity."
John Odey, minister of information and communications, said bridging the digital divide could only be accelerated through the promotion of stable telecommunications networks and a responsive regulatory regime that would galvanise all stakeholders to participate in the delivery of ICT benefits.
The minister, who noted that Nigeria and Africa in general were experiencing exponential growth in the sector, however said the strategic global agenda in the industry was increasingly focused on social inclusiveness in leveraging the benefits and opportunities that this new era of possibilities present in Africa.
He however warned that Africa must fully embrace digital opportunities to be an integral part of the emerging global knowledge and information society.