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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ndukwe, Soludo, Attah for telecom investment forum

Remmy Nweke

Chief regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, would this Friday, lead experts along with the Central Bank Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo and Governor Victor Attah of Akwa-Ibom State to a one-day Telecom Investment and Finance Forum.

The forum slated to hold in Lagos, is being organised by the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

According to ATCON President, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, the forum would be presided over by the Minister of Communications, Chief Cornelius Adebayo at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Center’s Agip Hall, Onikan-Lagos.

While the Executive Vice Chairman at NCC, Dr. Ndukwe would present the lead paper on “Investing in the Nigerian Telecom Sector: Strategic Opportunities for Recapitalized Banks and Non-Bank Financial Institutions in the Unified Licence Regime,” CBN Governor, Prof Soludo, would take floor on special presentation entitled “Recapitalization and Consolidation of the Nigerian Banking Sector: What Next?”

The Akwa Ibom State governor, Obong Victor Attah, would also make a special presentation on “Vision for ICT Development in Akwa Ibom State and the Gains of AKSG’s Strategic Investments in Telecoms.”

Other state governors who have invested in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in their respective states, Dr. Ekuwem said, are also expected to actively participate in the forum.

He explained that the forum was designed to stimulate and encourage local and foreign investments in the fast growing telecommunication sector in Nigeria.

“ATCON believes that there are great potentials in the sector begging to be explored and harnessed for the socio-economic development of our nation. We believe also that investments in the telecommunications sector would not only help to facilitate service penetration but has the potentials to ensure good returns for the investors,” he said.

Emphasising that telecommunications is a vital and essential vehicle for driving national economic and social development, it becomes imperative for all stakeholders to encourage more investors and potential investors in the sector for obvious benefits to both the investors and our national economy.

He expressed optimism that the recapitalized banks now have excess funds which could be invested in telecommunications projects for maximum yields.

“It is our belief that the banks are now in good stead to go into strategic partnership with telecom sector operators in financing short and long term projects that will help grow the telecom sector and, on the other hand, yield good returns to the banks,” he said.

Noting that with the introduction of the Unified License Regime (ULR) in the telecom sector, the consolidated banking sector now has an important role to play to enhance the pace of expansion of telecommunication networks in our nation.

He disclosed that ATCON has equally invited a whole lot of local and foreign participants to make the forum very interactive and worth the while with distinguished participants cutting across state governors, ministers of finance, science and technology, commissioners and director-generals of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), National IT Development Agency (NITDA), diplomatic missions, international development and funding agencies, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), NACCIMA, chief executives of telecom companies, banks, insurance, oil and gas as well as other sector companies, high net-worth individuals, the mass media and a host of other distinguished personalities.

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