Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Invest more in Nigeria, Nakande tells telecom operators

MINISTER of State for Information and Communications, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande, has called on major telephone operators to increase their investments in the country as government has provided them with the enabling operational and regulatory business environment, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Alhaji Nakande, who expressed government desires at the ICT Convergence Forum hosted by IT Edge Magazine, recently, also advised the operators to proceed to the Nigerian stock exchange so that Nigerians would invest in the companies and share in their good fortunes.

He noted that the availability of more than 55 Million connected telephone lines in Nigeria is no doubt phenomenal but said the sector is ripe for another policy review, and hoped that through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), such processes would be initiated to give the industry a new direction.

The Minister also said the planned merger between NCC and the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), is a well thought out initiative that has the blessing of the key experts in the industry.

Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, in his contribution, said the rapid growth from less than a million connected lines in 2001 to about 55 million today could be attributed largely to the enabling and conducive environment for investment by government through policy and regulatory measures.

“As we strive to catch up with the world, it is imperative that Nigeria remains in tune with technological trends in this fast moving industry. One obvious fact is that the technological borders between telecommunications, IT and broadcasting is blurring at a quickening pace. Another fact is the trend towards the realization of a ubiquitous network society where people can access and exchange information freely, at any time, from anywhere, and from any appliance in converged ICT environment,” he said.

Speaking on ‘Regulating the Converging ICT Environment’, Dr. Ndukwe said owing to technological and market developments, scenarios have changed over time as evidenced by the integration of customer terminal equipment or access devices such as the telephone, television and personal computer; provision of various communication services like text, data, image, voice and video over a single infrastructure; the use of a single transmission technology to offer various services; the provision of multifarious service offerings by the same service provider; substitution of mobile services for fixed service, resulting in a converged voice service market; authorization to provide various services under a single license; and Converged Policy and Regulatory.

“The role of policy makers and regulators will revolve around serving the consumer interest; supporting universal access to services at affordable cost; securing effective competition and the competitiveness of the industry as a whole; promoting quality, plurality, diversity and choice in services; encouraging investment in service and infrastructure; providing economically efficient management of scarce resources”, he said.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

No comments: