Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Telecoms industry attract $67bn FDI

The telecommunication sector alone has attracted a total of $67billion in foreign direct investment into the country over the last 17 years, the Nigerian Communications Commission has disclosed.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta while highlighting some of the sector’s contribution to the economy, at the 2nd Annual Stakeholders Consultative Forum with the Academia and Industrialists, said the telecoms industry has continued to grow amidst noticeable challenges

He said, “While it is important that we look at these issues, amongst many others, I think it is my responsibility to submit that while the telecoms industry continues to grow amidst noticeable challenges, hitting over 163m voice subscriber based at the moment with appreciable foreign direct investment inflow of about $67billion since 2001.”

The industry’s contribution to the GDP stands at 9.8percent, this is against the 8.5percent in 2015 and less than 1.00percent in 2001.

On the delayed takeover of 9mobile by Teleology Technology Limited, the EVC clarify the debt issue isn’t the hindrance for the takeover. He denied media reports that a $100million debt being owed by 9mobile to some equipment manufacturers was delaying the takeover of the company by Teleology.

Describing the report as “speculative and incorrect”, Danbatta said at no time did NCC or himself say $100million debt was delaying 9mobile takeover. He said the telecom company will be taken over as soon as the necessary checks and investigations being carried out are satisfactorily concluded and approved by the NCC board.

“I want to disabuse the minds of Nigerians that information isn’t correct; it isn’t from me or the NCC. I never made such a statement. That is clearly not our position at NCC.”

He said: “They can’t get the licence without board approval. They have to satisfy and pass some conditions set before the takeover. They must have passed the competency test, they must have the capability to retain all the former staff of 9mobile.

“We don’t want a situation when about 4000 workers would be laid off just because of takeover. Already there is unemployment in the country and we don’t want the takeover to add to that. So that is why we are putting every necessary thing in order to forestall all negative things that may occur after the takeover.”

Meanwhile, the EVC tasked telecom operators in the country to embark on Corporate Social Responsibility CSR initiatives will encourage and drives local content development and funding of research.

“Focus will be more on how telecom companies can deliver more on their CSR by providing interventions through those efforts.

“This is in line with what the NCC has done, in the area of research and development.W e do not have the statistics, but we believe that we are going to witness more interventions in the area of CSR by telecom companies to universities. We also have a resolution that telecom companies should establish research and innovation centers in the campuses.”

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