• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Telecoms sector now contributes 9.25% to GDP, says Juwah

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Eugene Juwah, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), says that the telecommunications sector is currently contributing about 9.25 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Four year ago, the sector contributed 4.56 per cent to GDP. Juwah, while addressing stakeholders weekend, in Lagos at the 2014 Telecoms Executives and Regulator forum, organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said the telecoms sector has become a major enabler for other sectors of the economy in the country.

He disclosed at the forum that the rampaging Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), which has killed thousands of people around the globe has also hindered faster completion processes for the Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) expected to further drive broadband penetration in the country.

According to him, the NCC is behind schedule in its completion processes for the InfraCos because the foreign consultants hired for the implementation processes are scared of coming to Nigeria because of Ebola. “However, I shall be travelling out soon to meet them. We are hoping to complete the process as soon as possible. Remember we are starting with Lagos and the North East.

The InfraCos will help strengthen Nigeria’s broadband drive”, Juwah stressed. The EVC also informed that the Information Memorandom for the auctioning of the 2.6Ghz spectrum will be out today, stressing that the licensing should be done before the end of the year. The forum, which threw up so many germane industry issues including frequency spectrum management; Local Content development in the telecoms sector; InfraCos processes, saw the NCC helmsman point out that the challenge of the troubled Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators revolved around poor funding.

“I must say this, the challenge with the CDMAs that they are under capitalised. They are limited by capital.

They borrowed heavily and most have failed to pay”, he said. Juwah listed some of the steps taken to repositioned the telecoms sector, which include: the introduction of open access model; launch of industry corporate governance code; planned restructuring of the Value Added Service (VAS) maket; auctioning of spectrum (2.3Ghz spectrum in February) among others. Speaking on the open access model, Juwah said the process is meant to address pertinent challenges in the sector, especially with regard to broadband penetration, further adding that it will also encourage different players to participate fully in growing the sector.

On the Corporate Governance, he said the code is expected to ensure the sector is run appropriately, adding that operators will need to abide by it.