FDI investments in ICT sector over $35b —NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that over $35 billion had been invested in the nation’s telecommunications industry from Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).

The Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Professor Umar Danbatta, recently made this known in Lagos during a stakeholders’ forum in preparation for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2016 holding in Bangkok, Thailand later in the year.

Danbatta said that local investments in the sector were also in billions of dollars in the past 15 years.

He said that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector had recorded significant growth, as it moved from below 500,000 active lines in the past years to the current 157 million.

According to him, the sector has surpassed the 100 per cent threshold for teledensity, as it stands at 107 per cent, while internet connectivity rose from 50,000 in 2001 to 97 per cent currently.

“Our story of successes is very long but we, as regulators, are not resting on our oars.

“We are not there yet; what we have is work in progress. We have to go to ITU Telecom World to attract more investments.

“We are here to re-strategise on how we can attract more meaningful investments into our country; we are here to fine-tune our story about the growth and attraction of our sector.

“We are here to think of ways to convince would-be investors on the potential and capacity of our country; we are here to agree on the future growth of the telecom industry,” he said.

He said that there was the need to tell the world of the revolution brewing in the area of broadband.

He said that the country was currently at 14 per cent broadband penetration and over 100 per cent thirst for the internet.

According to him, the industry is convinced that, by 2018, the anticipated 30 per cent broadband penetration will not be impossible to achieve.

He said that Bitflux Consortium, the winner of the 2.3 Gigahertz spectrum, had rolled out services toward achieving the broadband penetration target.

“Two Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) have been licenced for Lagos and North-Central, including Abuja.

“Five more licences are underway for North-West, North-East, South-West, South-South and South- East. Our processes are being fine-tuned to actualise the licensing rounds.

“There is a gap, no doubt, which these would-be and existing investors will bridge. The quality of service is not robust yet, but we are assured that we will get it right with more investments,” Danbatta said.

Mr Austin Nwaulune, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the ITU Telecom World 2016, said that the event would take place in Bangkok between 14 and 17 November.

Nwaulune said that the world event would has the theme, “Collaborating in the Digital Economy.”

He, however, said that Nigeria would adopt its own theme as “Smart Communities: The Key to a Digital Nigeria.”

According to him, ITU Telecom World is a global forum hosted annually by the ITU to bring together thought leaders, key decision makers, industry players and ministers, among others, to discuss the growth of ICT.

He added that the event would offer opportunities for participating brands, and promote innovations.