The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), today held the maiden edition of the much expected National Dialogue on Telecoms and Information and Communications Technology (ICT), with participants drawn from the Federal and State Governments, discussing with industry players on how to unlock the country’s digital potentials.
In his welcome speech at the event held at the NAF Conference Centre & Suites, Abuja, today, Thursday, 15 October 2020, the President of ATCON, Engr. Olusola Teniola, said the dialogue shows the Association’s commitment to promoting an enabling environment for the telecom and ICT Sector in Nigeria.
he said that government must show more commitment to assuaging the challenges faced by operators such as removal of multiple taxation; provision of seed funds for indigenous players; provision of forex to enable operators acquire critical equipment and ensure policy stability as reassuring measure to persuade foreign investors to trust the Nigerian market.
He said that the 27-year old Association formed by the first set of technocrats in the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry, remains commitment to ensure that Nigeria is not lagging behind when it comes to knowledge economy which is often referred to as the Digital Economy, by complementing and supporting what the government at all levels are doing to transform the nation digitally.
ATCON convenes dialogue
In his words, “The growth across all the sectors of Nigeria’s economy is expected to be exponential as a result of the resolve by the Federal Government of Nigeria under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to drive the entire economy through digital resources and the frantic efforts being pursued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Members of ATCON.
“This National Dialogue on Telecoms and ICT sector was targeted at changing the narrative of our country’s development through the optimal utilization of digital resources and to achieve this, State Governors, Ministries, Agencies and Sectors like Agriculture, Education, Oil & Gas, Health, Industry, Trade and Investment, Security and Defence, Transportation, Works and Housing have been invited along with telecom and ICT companies in order to see the strategic essence of taking advantage of Digital resources to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their respective sectors for the betterment and over all benefits of the country”.
According to him, the supply side which is comprised of Telecom and ICT Companies and the demand side made up of all the Ministries, States, Local Governments, Nigerians and Non-Nigerians, are expected to have higher level of productivity on the condition that they adopt and leverage on the opportunities presented by the digital economy to improve their output.
Speaking on the expected post-event benefits, he expressed optimisms that with the Government and industry players comparing notes it will help to unlock the inherent digital potentials of the country.
He felicitated with the States that have bought into the Nigeria National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 as they would enjoy and maximize the opportunity that pervasive broadband penetration and other ICT Infrastructure can offer as the people of these States can leverage on uninterrupted telecommunications and ICT services which they have not been enjoying before now.
“And it has been widely acknowledged that the presence of Telecom and ICT amenities are prerequisite for where to locate businesses as these critical telecom and ICT infrastructure would give Nigerian youths the opportunity to express their gifts and talents thereby exporting them to earn foreign exchanges in turn”.
He said that ATCON carefully selected thought leaders in the sector to come up with brilliant ideas as to what the public and private sector can do to maximize the benefits inherent in the digital economy such that the recent fall in Nigeria’s GDP can be reversed.
“The recent Index of Digital Quality of Life positioned Nigeria in the pursuit of digital economy and ranked as 20th position at the beginning of the survey (Nigeria is currently ranked 81st)”, he regretted.
TechEconomy.ng can report that the strategic objectives of the national dialogue on telecom and ICT were to enable stakeholders optimally x-ray the factors that have worked for and against the telecom and ICT Sector in Nigeria and to proffer sustainable solutions in respect of telecom and ICT Sector.
The event convened under the theme: ‘Harnessing the Digital Resources for the Building of Our National Economy’, provided opportunity for stakeholder to channel collaborative efforts toward promoting Nigerian Digital Economy and other policies that the ministry of communications and Digital Economy have launched.
ATCON organised the event in partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), IHS Nigeria Limited, Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited, Facebook, 9mobile, VDT Communications Limited, Airtel Networks Limited, The Government of Plateau State, The Government of Ondo State, NIGCOMSAT, MTN Nigeria, Galaxy Backbone, Tecno Telecoms Limited, Main One Cable Company Nigeria Limited, PPC, Layer3 Limited, PAN African Towers Limited, Rack Centre Limited, Broadbased Communications Limited, Estream Networks Limited, IPNX Limited, Phase3 Telecoms Limited, Medallion Communications Limited, IPI Solutions Nigeria Limited, Coollink Nigeria, DOTMAC Technologies Limited, HD Technologies Limited and Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN).