The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, has said the telecoms sector contributed N1.549 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2017, representing 6.68 per cent increase, up from the N1.452 trillion it contributed in the first quarter of the year.
Speaking while receiving the Chairperson of Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), Madam Angelique Weeks, who paid NCC a courtesy visit yesterday in Abuja, Danbatta said the figures were derived from recently released report of the Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the economy.
The NBS’s report had confirmed that the telecommunications sector, during the second quarter of 2017, contributed 9.5 per cent to the GDP in contrast to 9.1 per cent contribution in the first quarter of the year.
“We are very proud of the remarkable contribution the sector is making. Even at the recent times when the whole economy was facing challenges, the sector had remained resilient and stable,” Danbatta told the visitor who was accompanied by a team of administrators from West Africa Telecommunication Regulators Association (WATRA).
Similarly, the NCC boss told the visitors that the commission has also noticed a remarkable increase in the data usage in the country.
“The monthly data usage is about 40 million terabytes,” he noted.
He, however, expressed optimism that the country would undergo a massive ICT transformation by the time the excess data capacity at landing point in Lagos is deployed to the hinterland through licensing of infrastructure companies (InfraCos).
Speaking further, Danbatta noted that the broadband penetration in the country currently stood at 21 per cent, as Nigeria is inching toward 30 per cent penetration next year, which is in line with its National Broadband target.
He said, the commission has approved spectrum trading consistent with an item of the 8-Point Agenda, optimising the use and benefits of spectrum, to ensure that no acquired spectrum is left unutilised.
In a related development, building on existing bilateral trade relationship between Nigeria and India, the Indian government has offered to invest over $4 billion to support technology infrastructure in Nigeria.
Nigeria Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who made the disclosure at the third Indo-Africa ICT Expo, which opened in Lagos on Wednesday with over 3,000 delegates from across Africa and India, said Nigeria approached India to invest in 1,000 sola-based mast for 1,000 rural communities in Nigeria and that they have agreed to invest in the sola-based mast project and other technology support projects that would boost telecoms infrastructure in the country.
With trong presence in Africa, India, through the Indo-Africa Conference, is seeking stronger ties with Nigeria in particular, and has therefore offered its assistance in all areas of technology development in Nigeria.
Shittu who led the ministers from India, Ghana,and top officials from Ethiopia, Rwanda and other African countries to inaugurate the conference, in his keynote address at the event expressed Nigeria’s readiness to partner India in all possible areas to achieve a digital economy in Nigeria.
Shittu, who allayed fears of stakeholders in the ICT industry about the Indians coming to hijack the industry, said the coming of the Indians was sequel to discussions he had with the Indian business community in Geneva early this year, where they promised to come and invest $4 billion in the Nigerian ICT industry.
The minister however, used the opportunity to invite Indians to invest in the key Nigerian ICT projects, which include the establishment of ICT University and ICT development bank to address the specific financing needs of the ICT industry in Nigeria as Africa’s biggest market.
Co-chairman of India’s Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC), Sanjay Nayak, said India would remain the ideal partner for Africa as it shares the same vision and mission for technology growth. According to him, India has developed quality technologies well-crafted to meet the needs of countries in the African continent, and which they can leverage on at competitive price.
TEPC is a body set up by the Indian government to promote and support export of telecom equipment and services.
According to Nayak, India has the lowest telecom tariff rates in the world as a result of its cutting edge technologies. “We have end-to-end solutions, which are well suited for African needs” he said.
India’s Honourable Minister of Communications, Manoj Sinha, who was also part of the India delegation, said the third edition of the Indo-Africa ICT Expo in Lagos has special significance, not only for India and Nigeria, but also for the entire Africa, adding that the success of the first two editions held in Kenya gave the organisers the confidence to shift the focus to West Africa.
“I strongly believe that the vast experience gained by India in setting up of ICT infrastructure can be leveraged by the governments as well as the private business enterprises in Africa. To explore synergies on the ground in ICTs, more than 50 ICT companies from India are participating in this ICT Expo,” he said.
Citing the key capabilities of Indian companies and what they can offer Nigeria, the minister said that India companies have developed the engineering capabilities and experience with smart innovations.
“They have the ability to train employees at scale; innovative business models at low cost. This makes them well-positioned to support the booming African ICT sector” he said.
The Indian Minister said India and Africa are having similar demographic and ICT usage profile and should therefore work together to achieve common goal of establishing digital economy in respective countries.
The organisers, TEPC, is working in conjunction with the National Association of Software and Service Companies, (NASSCOM), which is the premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPM industries in India.
Dignitaries at the inauguration of the conference included former Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC who is chairman of Openmedia Group, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe; President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Olusola Teniola; Chairman of Association of Licensed Telephone Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, and President of the InformationTechnology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Mr. Tayo Adeniyi.
Otters were Chairman of the IT/Telecom Trading Group of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, (NACCIMA), Chief Charles Okeke, and President of the Computers and Allied Products Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), Mr. Ahmed Ojikutu.