The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has called on the federal government to provide low-cost intervention to telecom operators to fund the development of broadband across the country.
Tony Emoekpere, president of ATCON met with members of the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications to improve the performance of the telecom industry.
“We would like this committee to drive strategic engagement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on behalf of the telecom sector to bridge the infrastructure funding gap by providing accessible Low-Cost Intervention Funds for the rapid deployment of Broadband Infrastructure Nationwide including in Rural Areas”, Emoekpere said at the meeting held in Abuja.
There is a need for a concerted effort to shape the future of youths by sponsoring a bill to ensure that a Nigerian content plan exists in the industry that provides for the growth of Nigerian players and stimulates demand from the Government side through patronage and digitization of Governmental services.
Despite being worldwide, the telecom sector needs to prioritize supporting local players. The President suggested enacting legislation to establish a Nigerian content plan, which would encourage the expansion of domestic companies and create demand through government support and service digitization.
“There is a need for a concerted effort to shape the future of youths by sponsoring a bill to ensure that a Nigerian content plan exists in the industry that provides for the growth of Nigerian players and stimulates demand from the Government side through patronage and digitization of Governmental services,” he said.
The ATCON president also sought that the committee pass the bill making telecom infrastructure legislated as critical National Infrastructure. “It will be a welcome development if telecom infrastructure is legislated as critical National Infrastructure. This is important because telecom infrastructure is central to the country’s socio-economic progress. We seek this committee’s legislative intervention in passing this bill into law. Telecom infrastructure has suffered undue harassment from State and Local Government Regulatory Agencies” Emoekpere said.
Emoekpere highlighted an innovative idea and suggested that the Central Bank of Nigeria create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). This specialized organization would act as a spur for the growth of the telecom industry by expertly handling the complexities involved in the planning, carrying out, and final financing of infrastructure projects. In addition to filling in the current infrastructure gaps, the planned SPV would greatly boost the country’s economic expansion.
The ATCON president highlighted areas that needed to be improved and sorted so that stakeholders and the federal government intervene, to help the telecom industry move forward.