Wednesday, November 04, 2009
FOR Nigeria to attain its dream of being among 20 industrialized nations of the world by the year 2020, otherwise known as Vision 202020, there must be a concerted effort by the federal government to continue to encourage deployment of infrastructure to engender broadband diffusion.
To achieve this, according to the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), government must encourage roll-out of fibre optic networks and last mile copper infrastructure by scrapping all forms of levies and fees charged by various agencies of government on right-of-way approvals.
“We need to return to the basics to rebuild our terrestrial fibre and copper infrastructure, which will bring high capacity, cheap and high quality data communications,” ALTON said, noting that government should not consider right-of-way approval as a way of making revenue.
“But they should see the end result as in the overall interest of the national Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development and limits its role, to standard compliance and control,” ALTON insisted.
Speaking at an evening with Nigeria’s Legends of Technology organized by Technology Africa at the weekend, ALTON through its chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, on ‘Sustaining the ICT sector growth in a downturn world,’ said ICT industry should be encouraged to sustain the current level of investment and development in the Nigerian market.
He cited for instance that a strong government policy to this effect has long term benefit on the economy and produces a positive circular impact on the economic growth of other sectors, thereby reducing poverty index and increasing literacy and education levels.
ALTON also wants strong government position and warning to road construction companies, who more often than not, cause persistent damage to fibre networks across the country.
As said by him, the active promotion of local manufacturing capacity and training to support the telecoms sector, would ease local production of essential telecoms equipment, stressing that incentives for broadband expansion and downward review of spectrum pricing regime would be a plus for the ICT development.
On security, ALTON advocated for the government to accord telecommunications operations the legal status of critical national infrastructure and severe criminal sanctions for acts of theft, vandalisation and sabotage.
“Provide adequate police support and protection to telecoms equipment and facilities supported by legislation. Accord due protection of telecommunication equipment and facilities,” the group said, suggesting that attachment of adequate police support to operators and telecommunication infrastructure and reinstatement of full MOPOL complement.
ALTON maintained that telecommunications in Nigeria remained the most functional and reliable public social infrastructure, especially as stake holders continued to do the needful to sustain the growth and stability of this all important sector of the nation’s economy.
While examining the social impact of ICT till date, ALTON boss pointed out that ICT has made businesses more productive, which has led to growth in the small and medium scale business (SMME) segment, thereby boosting national gross domestic product (GDP). “This includes the informal sector of the economy such as artisans, transporters to name a few. Poverty alleviation is also achieved by creating jobs all through the value chain and in the real sector of the economy,” he declared.
Just as he pointed out that mobile telephony access has improved family and social relationships tremendously by providing means of staying in touch with family and friends without having to embark on journeys.
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