The President and Chief Executive Officer of Medallion Communications Limited, Engineer Ike Nnamani, has reiterated the need for the Federal Government to think towards a Developmental Bank focused on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.
He made the call during a Virtual Conversation organised by the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), on Thursday, under the theme: ‘Socio-Economic and Political Impact of COVID19 on Telecom and ICT sector in Nigeria’.
TechEconomy.ng recalls that in March 2018, then Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, stated that plans are underway by the Federal Government to set up an Information and Communication Technology Development Bank that will provide funding for the industry in order to promote and encourage young entrepreneurs in the sector.
The Minister who was speaking through the erstwhile Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Peter Jack, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, during the launch of the Bayelsa Ecosystem and Ignition Week, organised by the Young Innovators of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bayelsa State Government, noted that when established, the ICT Bank will among other services, reduced the dependence on commercial banks for funding and also offer lower interest rates and grow the ICT industry.
Well, Shittu couldn’t achieve that target but the purpose for his proposal is still very much relevant today.
Engr Nnamani who doubles as the 1st Vice President of ATCON, expressed a need for such bank for obvious reasons:
“Everything we have discussed so far requires money. I have heard all the conversations from everybody: whether it is going to be foreign-financed or local financing, the truth is time has finally come for us to step-up the Telecom (Industry) Development Bank. The same way we got Bank of Industry (BoI), the Bank for Agriculture, we have been talking about banks that understand ICT and telecom services to be able to provide the right mix of financing for the industry.
“If you noticed, some of the initiatives post-covid-19 have gone towards the public sector. Government has put up funds toward public sector infrastructure development, which is good, because that is what Government understand.
“But from the private sector point of view, there is an urgent need to also look at the financing and so the conversation we should be having within ATCON and outside is how do we set up the financial instrument that is best suited for our local environment and telecom industry.
“The time for the telecom industry-based financial institution is here and we need to take advantage of that if we are to move forward”, he said.