" ITREALMS: Ekuwem gives account of stewardship

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ekuwem gives account of stewardship

THE immediate past national president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, has given account of his four-year stewardship since 2006.

Ekuwem who spoke at the Annual General Meeting of ATCON prior to the general election of the group, noted that his administration, hosted about seven industry-based roundtables including Telecom Investment & Finance Forum, Telecom Franchise & Virtual Operations, Stakeholders’ Summit on Energy & Power Crisis, Nigerian Content Development Summit, ComBIT African Expo, Nigerian ICT Education Summit among others.

He also highlighted that the Telecom Investment & Finance Forum, was designed to address the challenges of the absence of long term funding from banks and non-banks financial institutions for telecom projects in Nigeria.

Held in 2006, he said that Telecom Investment & Finance Forum, encouraged the recapitalized banks in Nigeria to consider lending to the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector, as ATCON also secured the participation of regional and international finance and funding institutions as well as solicited their assistance in facilitation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Nigeria ICT sector.

On the Telecom Franchise & Virtual Operations, which held in 2007, he said, it was to stimulate further expansion of ICT service to underserved and unserved areas in the country.

This forum, according to him, discussed opportunities in telecom franchising and virtual operations, stressing that also looked at the policy and regulatory framework that would create an enabling environment for small and medium scale investors to participate gainfully in the provisioning of ICT services especially in rural Nigeria where big operators do not consider economically viable to invest in.

Participants, he noted, called on the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) to empower local entrepreneurs who show interest in taking up franchise of big operators to remote Nigeria so that the rural population would also benefit from the boom in Nigeria’s ICT market.

Stakeholders’ Summit on Energy & Power Crisis, Ekuwem pointed out, addressed the failure of Nigeria’s energy and power sector to provide energy and power on a constant basis to support industrial and other economic activities in Nigeria.

ATCON, he said, considered it a national shame that industries were folding up in Nigeria due to the failure of the energy and power sector to live up to its billings.

Above all, participants lamented that ICT operators have had to provide services at great costs as they also had to generate power when they should have been concentrating efforts at improving service quality, even as experts suggested investments in alternative power sources, including biofuels, as a way out of the challenging situation.

ATCON, he noted, raised alarm over hawking of SIM Pack in the country and called for accreditation and registration, recalling he urged for SIM packs accreditation and registration at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of ATCON held in April 2008.

Additionally, he took the gospel of SIM pack accreditation and registration to every ICT forum he attended in Nigeria, until the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) bought into the vision as well as national security agencies.

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