Despite the economic lull in the last 18 months, investments profile in the country’s Telecommunications sector is on the upward swing, as it hit $70 billion (N21.4 trillion) in August.
This figure was given by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, recently, at the opening of Nigeria’s pavilion at the on-going International Telecommunications Union (ITU) World 2017 conference and exhibition in Busan, South Korea.
Achieved within a 16-year period, Danbatta said the investments moved from a mere $50 million in 2001 to its current state. He stressed that most of these investments came from Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
The EVC told about 150 participants, including the ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, that although, the country has made very modest progress in the sector, ‘’we still need to deepen investments to make broadband pervasive in Nigeria. We are at 22 per cent now and our target is to hit 30 per cent by 2018, consistent with the National Broadband Plan.’’
While assuring Investors of the immense opportunities the Nigerian market can provide, Danbatta noted that all sectors of every National economy have become dependent on the Telecommunications sector and failure of the sector would have far reaching negative ramifications to other sectors hence the need to build capacity.
According to him, while the commission has licensed two Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) for Lagos and North Central zones, the country is about to conclude the process of licensing five others for the remaining regions.
Besides, he told the audience that the NCC, in consultation with industry stakeholders introduced a mandatory Code of Corporate Governance as guide to Managers and Boards of Telecommunications companies, stressing that the code outlines minimum Global Best Practices covering processes, procedures and general corporate behavior for Telecommunications industry players.
Zhao thanked the Nigerian delegations to the conference and assured of ITU consistent support for the country. The ITU Secretary-General said Nigeria has remained very ambitious in the drive towards enthroning a digital ecosystem in the country, ‘’and such should be supported from all angles.’’
While canvassing investments into Nigeria, he urged investors to look at the technology Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) the country presented this year, saying they have lots of innovation.
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku, said African growth is real, which has been projected as the most economy with the right growth.
Sadiku stated that Nigeria will drive Africa’s growth and has been projected to be the 14th largest economy in the world by 2050. She told the audience that Nigeria is a strategic market, currently undergoing dynamic changes and transformation, stressing that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Government is doing everything possible to correct some negative perception about the country in the global community.
Sadiku added that ‘’Managers will be queried in the future for not investing in Nigeria at a time like this.’’ Revealing some of the things put in place to make the Nigerian environment conducive for Investors, and it now takes one day to register a business unlike the previous 10 days.
She also stated that there is income tax relief of three to five years; 20 per cent investment tax on enterprise qualifying expenditure for research and development; exemption from companies’ income tax for three years (new companies); indefinite carry forward of losses; zero per cent import duty for power generation and distribution machinery, among others.