Nigeria, though faces economic challenges, however, it has one of the largest telecom markets in Africa with an estimated population of over 200 million people.
The country’s population is an interesting asset to attract foreign direct investment to the Telecommunication industry.
These are contained in Professor Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC’s) presentation on “Realizing the New Set Target of 70% Broadband Penetration”; at ATCON National Strategic Mobilization for the Actualization of National Broadband target of 70% Conference & Exhibition held on Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Abuja on Thursday.
Recent Report shows that Nigeria’s economy recorded a boost in foreign direct investment from the telecoms sector to the tune of N23.982 billion in Q1 of 2022
Data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics says the figure represents a 2.6 per cent increase when compared to the same period the year before
The sector drew $944 million in 2029 in comparison with $114.43 million in 2018, recording an annual decline after its 2019 high.
Nigeria’s telecoms sector drew a total of N23.982 ($57.79 million) billion in foreign direct investment in the first quarter of 2022.
Data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says that the figure represents a 2.6 per cent increase year-on-year in comparison with the N23.356 billion ($56.28 million) recorded in the same quarter of 2021.
A research firm, Agusto & Co in a recent report, forecast that the imminent deployment of 5G technology and the Federal Government of Nigeria’s target broadband entrance rate of 70% by 2025, would attract substantial additional foreign investments to the telecoms sector in the near to medium term.
In a similar report, Absa, a leading pan-African Corporate and Investment Bank that offers its clients innovative advisory and financing solutions across multiple economic sectors, said it is fully aligned with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s aspiration of economic growth and development opportunity associated with the advent of launch of 5G technology in Nigeria.
According to the financial services institution, there are impressive, transformative economic growth opportunities inherent in the adoption of 5G technology as underlined by the Nigerian government’s approval of the National Policy on 5G Networks on September 8, 2021.
Following this approval, the federal government officially launched the policy as the driver of its digital economy agenda in Abuja on January 25, 2022.
Sadiq Abu, the Chief Executive Officer, Absa Nigeria, said the policy would fast track the growth of the country’s digital economy.
“The race to keep pace with the rest of the globe demands urgent policy actions. Therefore, the launch of the national policy on 5G networks is laudable as it provides a fitting platform to drive the rollout of the 5G network on a national scale. Of course, this policy effort will make a difference in how sectors such as education, retail, health, manufacturing, and banking sectors are run with great implications on productivity, job creation, and revenue levels across sectors”, he explained.
Back to Danbatta ’s presentation: With his presentation centered on NCC’s Strategic Activities, Initiatives and Challenge, he said that enabling full connectivity and broadband access for a minimum of 70% of the rapidly growing population is a vision/target that the Nigerian National Broadband plan (NNBP) seeks to achieve and surpass within the time frame of year 2020 – 2025.
The NCC boss recalled that at the launch of the NNBP in 2020, the Broadband penetration, which was largely driven by mobile technology, was slightly below 40%.
“By December 2020, penetration of 45.93% had been attained. As at April 2022, the penetration stands at 42.79%”, he said.
Danbatta said the reasons for fluctuation are quite obvious and that informed the strategic initiatives of the Commission to deepen the penetration of fixed broadband infrastructure which will guarantee very steady broadband services and provide higher capacity.
“The NNBP articulates some critical Priority initiatives aimed at fast tracking the deepening of Broadband penetration across the country.
“It is common knowledge that robust infrastructure is the bedrock of broadband penetration and the main driver of digital economy and telecom market expansion – not to talk of the massive GDP impact, among others”, Danbatta said.
He said, consequently, the NNBP articulated far reaching priority initiatives that include the under listed:
Critical National Infrastructure (CNI)
“The NNBP document anticipates the Issuance of an Executive Order to Declare Telecoms infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and full implementation of the Plan.
“A Broad based Joint Committee under the chairmanship of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has approved the inclusion of telecom infrastructure in the database of Critical National Infrastructure at the ONSA.
“Issuance of Executive Order to Declare Telecoms infrastructure as CNI and full implementation of the NNBP Plan.
Establish a Coordinating body for Optic Fibre Build Out; “to ensure open access, prevent overlap and facilitate RoW issuance at statutory rates”.
Danbatta added that the Commission has setup a Digital Economy Department with a Broadband Unit to oversee and coordinate the buildout of fixed fibre infrastructure across the country.