Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nigeria has accommodation for 95m subscribers – Yar’Adua

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has said that Nigeria’s telecommunications sector has an installed capacity to accommodate 95 million subscribers.

Declaring open the just concluded three-day 2008 Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) summit at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Yar’Adua noted that the telecom sector in Nigeria has witnessed major structural changes and monumental growth in the past few years.

“From a teledensity of 0.73 in 2001 to 39.09 in 2008 with an installed capacity of about 95 million,” he said.

President also said that Nigeria has close to 60 million active lines with about 60 per cent coverage and quantum investments of $11 billion.

“Nigeria’s telecommunications sector is one of the fastest growing in the world,” he declared.

Yar’Adua who was represented at the event by the Secretary to the Government of the federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, said that despite the positive indices, the sector is still faced with very real challenges and that his administration has taken a holistic commitment to physical infrastructure development as outlined in the Seven Point Agenda.

“We plan to accelerate Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure development with the aim of further boosting the growth of the telecommunications sector,” Yar’Adua reiterated.

Nigeria, he pointed out supports the institution of an open and stable telecommunications policy framework that supports effective global regional alliances and partnerships.

According to him, these partnerships must be one which equitably places the benefits of ICT at the disposal of our common humanity.

“I have no doubt that the CTO will, through this conference, provide a veritable platform for serious interrogation of all the variables to this vitally important subject,” he said.

Earlier while welcoming participants to the sixth annual forum and 48th council meeting of CTO, the Nigerian Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. John Odey, described the theme “Ensuring effective connectivity for a socially inclusive and commercially vibrant Africa” as apt.

This, he said, is more so now that Commonwealth nations are taking deliberate steps to bridge the digital divide.

“This can be accelerated through the promotion of stable telecommunications policy framework and responsive regulatory regime that would galvanize all stakeholders to participate in the delivery of ICT benefits,” he said.

In his address, the chief executive of Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, said the summit offers Commonwealth countries the opportunity to take quick and early actions that could get respective nations to abandon the footpaths, feeder roads and by-ways of knowledge ownership as well as transmission and get more fully onto the global information super highways.

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