Sometime last year, the Nigerian government revealed its plans to attain 30% broadband penetration by the end of 2018. We are not sure if preparations to make this revelation feasible are underway but the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria has called on the government to hasten its plans to execute the National Broadband Plan to meets the desired expectations by the end of the year.
The President ATCON, Mr. Olusola Teniola, told the Punch that the major hurdle was licensing the remaining five infrastructure companies. Another factor he noted was in payment of taxes. He urged the government to harmonise the taxes in the sector and lastly, the exchange rate which continues to stand in the way of many businesses. If you recall, this was a major factor that led to the crash of telecommunication firm, Etisalat. “We will also like the government to allow all our members to have access to favourable foreign exchange rate so that they can begin to invest and import the needed equipment to increase the capacity, scope, and coverage of the network that will enable the improvement in the quality of service”, he said.
The backbone or rather the basics of easy communication for business purposes begins with a good internet access. Nowadays, everything is going digital and without a quality internet connection, it can cause a drawback to access useful information and engage in activities that involve working with the internet. For instance, digital marketers have a need to be online to attend to clients and sell their services; freelancers need to have a quality internet access to stay connected with clients all over the world. The list is endless. It should also be noted that the government has urged the Nigerian youths to utilise the social media for business purposes and to embrace entrepreneurship. Should the 30% broadband penetration be effected, it will make the majority of the Nigerian youths more remotely productive.
“We need the government to now focus on education of all our youths so that they can be useful citizens now and in the future. We need the government to ensure that all the ministries, department and agencies in Nigeria adopt the ICT so that they can automate their processes, procedures and the way they engage with citizens so that we can have efficient and productive governance in 2018 and beyond.”
The president of the association emphasised further that the minimum which the government should look into should not be lesser than the 30% penetration it had promised. This could be extended to 80% by 2020. However, if the plan fails to be executed, it will result in a strain on the country’s development.