By Lucas Ajanaku
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and IHS Nigeria, on Tuesday made a strong case for private-public partnership (PPP) to drive innovative solutions that will enable the country to meet its growing demand for broadband connectivity.
They spoke at the Power and Telecoms Synergy Conference, sponsored by IHS Nigeria and organised by Thistle Praxis at Landmark Events Centre, Lekki, Lagos. The theme of the conference was: Building strategic alliances for Broadband penetration and inclusive prosperity.
The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, NCC, Prof Umar Dambatta, said the Commission was delighted to be part of the conference.
He said platforms such as this are essential to both the growth of the industry and the overall economy. He said: “Before 2001, when Nigeria’s telecoms sector was deregulated, Nigeria had only approximately 700,000 lines and was unable to meet the growing demand for telecommunications services.
“Since then, the telecoms industry has witnessed significant growth and progress; but it is important that we collectively seek ways to further improve the telecoms sector to drive opportunities and investment.”
Also, IHS Towers Senior Vice President, Co-founder and CEO, IHS Nigeria Mohamad Darwish, said the conference was strategically designed to provide insightful and constructive solutions to help achieve the nation’s vision for broadband growth and inclusive prosperity.
“The telecoms sector is of ultimate importance to the economic growth of Nigeria. We are excited to be part of those broader solutions emerging from the power and telecoms sector to address the country’s major challenges and those of West Africa at large.
He said as at March, broadband penetration in the country had reached 33per cent.
He said an increase to the 70 per cent would require everyone’s efforts. “This endeavour is too complex to be addressed solely by governments, operators or society. This needs to be a shared goal. We must all work together to achieve connectivity nationwide.”
NERC Chairman, Prof James Momoh, said the power and telecoms sectors are key economic pillars in Nigeria.
“Paying attention to their growth and development will only further the diversification of our economy,” Momoh said.
This conference was enlightening in terms of the various ways in which we can expand within and outside of our industry. It addressed key concerns that will ultimately lead to a better understanding of both industries. It provided insight through engaging sessions with experts, which I believe will have significant impact in the near future.”
The conference hosted the largest gathering of experts within the power and telecoms industry to try to ensure the continued development of Nigeria’s telecoms industry.