Minister of National Planning Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, has said that the unprecedented successes recorded in the Nigerian telecom sector in just eight years is an indication that the objectives of Vision 2020, led by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua are realizable within the appointed time.
Speaking recently at the 5th All Nigerian Editors Conference in Kaduna, Dr. Usman enjoined sceptics not to underrate the capacity of Nigerians to pull surprises and rise to the occasion at very critical moments in our national development.
He contended that Nigerians should be optimistic as ten years is long enough to achieve the vision articulated in Vision 2020.
The former Minister of Finance said there was no need for critics to continue to dwell on the side of pessimism, insisting that the remaining ten years from now to 2020 was enough time to achieve the vision. The cardinal goal of the Yar’Adua government is to make Nigeria one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020.
“The giant leap recorded in the telecom sector was not achieved by expatriates but by Nigerians who showed uncommon commitment, self-belief and patriotism”, he said.
Dr. Usman, who is also the Deputy Chairman of the National Planning Commission, said he was encouraged by the progress made in the telecom sector, which gives hope that Nigeria would make the top 20 bracket before the twilight of year 2020.
In his paper entitled “Vision 2020: Economic Growth and the Nigerian Editor,” said the growth recorded in the telecom sector within eight years is proof that with the right parametres Nigeria will migrate from its present 40th position to the top 20 bracket.The position of Dr. Usman was amplified by a number of editors at the event who argued that if the achievements made in the telecom sector is replicated in the other sectors of the economy, their will be no reason to doubt the possibility of Nigerian realizing Vision 2020.
While recounting their frustrations before the telecom revolution in Nigeria that began in 2001, the editors commended the Chief Executive of the NCC, Dr. Ndukwe, for leading this welcome revolution and praised his doggedness, dedication and commitment that led to the empowerment of many Nigerian people and businesses, and urged the other sectors of the economy to emulate the sterling example of the telecom sector.Ndukwe who later presented a paper on the telecom industry performance, attributed the success of the sector to the transparency in the process of licensing and constant consultations in the process regulation.
He said the nation has witnessed major growth over the past eight years, rising from about 400,000 to 64 million subscriber network, with the concomitant huge private investments and enormous contributions to national GDP, but that the Commission will not rest on its oars as the need for more investments on optics fibre and broadband infrastructure in the country has continued to beckon.
He said going by the current levels of deployments, the commission is confident that Nigeria will achieve the telecom sectoral demand for Vision 2020.
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