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Monday, April 27, 2009

Ndukwe solicits more foreign investors for Nigeria’s broadband

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe has solicited for more foreign investors for the nation’s broadband initiative.

Ndukwe, who made this call, weekend, at the just concluded World Telecommunications Policy Forum (WTPF), hosted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Lisbon, Portugal, extended Nigeria’s invitation to the international investment community to the huge broadband infrastructure deployment and services opportunities existing in the country and the continued rise in demand for telecom services.

He also attributed the huge success in the current funding of the telecom and ICT sector in Nigeria to the consolidation programme of the banking sector, which has equipped the nation’s banks with the wherewithal to match the financial needs of the industry.

“The recent Nigerian banking consolidation had resulted in the emergence of large strong national banks with large portfolios, who have become the local financiers of the ICT industry in Nigeria,” he said.

The session which held on the theme: “Strategic Dialogue on ICTs’ with the sub-theme, “Confronting the Crisis” brought together leaders from government and the industry to address the problems facing vendors, operators and governments in the face of the ongoing global crisis with an objective of formulating proactive strategies to help the ICT industry weather the storm, while leveraging the power of ICT to accelerate economic recovery in other sectors.

Ndukwe in his response noted that Nigeria is an integral member of the global economy and that some portions of the Nigerian ICT industry are funded by overseas investors. He said given this scenario, the attendant repatriation of funds by foreign investors has had some negative impact on the smaller companies who are less able to attract foreign investments.

The NCC boss said notwithstanding this situation, the Nigerian consumers have continued to demand for more services while uptake of ICT services has resulted in huge growth in the number of subscribers, which has in turn created the need for more investments, especially in the area of broadband and Internet services.

He further said that with the various divergences in the economic crisis, the global economic meltdown is truly global and demanded a global effort to deal with the effects that the crisis is having on nation states.

Additionally, the Secretary General, ITU, Dr. Hammadoun Toure, in his opening remark reiterated the need for frank and divergent discussions as essential to the development of appropriate strategies which would lead to the recovery.

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