Thursday, February 08, 2007

Telecom transcends other economies - Ligali

Chief executive, Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Bayo Ligali has said that the role of telecommunications in today global development transcends into other sectors economy and not limited to telecom sub-sector alone.

Speaking at the second annual West African Forum in Abuja, weekend, Mr. Ligali who was represented by Head of Department, Commercial for the North Central Region at Celtel Nigeria, Mr. Ken Ogujifor, explained the impact of telecommunications in economies.

He noted that the development of full bodied telecommunications infrastructure and access, creates job opportunities, advancement in the mode of banking operations, increases speed of broadband services, improves productivity in terms of speed of decision making, just as family and social relationship as well as security and policing would be enhanced.

He stressed the effect of telecommunications in the grassroots areas, citing several examples from Tanzania and Nigeria.

“In Tanzanian, a recent survey revealed that fishermen use mobile phones to find out prices in distant markets thus determining where to land their catch, which is also the same thing that the fishermen in the Niger Delta experience” he said.

Mr. Ligali explained that even poultry farmers in Jos, Plateau State in the north-western Nigeria, use mobile phones to confirm the price of eggs in Abuja to locate attractive markets before undertaking delivery, which could not have happened before the introduction of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).

He reiterated that the next level of growth in GSM would witness deeper penetration into unserved areas, wider range of services enhanced with data offering and optimal quality of service.

Also commenting at the forum, Minister of State for Information and Communications, Dr. Obafemi Anibaba noted that Nigeria has greatly advanced the development of telecommunications on the continent.

“Nigeria is recognised widely as a major market for telecommunications equipment and services in the African continent,” he declared.

Dr. Anibaba stressed that the government equally recognises the role of communications in national development, hence committed towards ensuring that telecommunications facilities and services are rapidly expanding nationwide.

“Telecommunications holds the promise of achieving even greater gains and will continue to perform a crucial role in the transformation of the economy and the lives of Nigerians,” Anibaba said.

The telecommunication session was presided over by the International Trade Director at the Commonwealth Business Council based in the United Kingdom (UK), Mr. David Wakeford, while the likes of Joseph Tegbe, Partner, KPMG and Mr. Kaikai, Minister of Information and Communications, Sierra Leone.

The forum provided an avenue for dialogue among business executives, potential investors, policy makers and visionaries, to contribute to the development of the West African region.

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