Total investments into the telecoms sector currently stands at $70billion, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday in Lagos.
Speaking at the maiden edition of Nigerian Telecom Leadership Summit at Eko Hotel, its Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Prof Garba Dambatta, said aside this massive investment, the sector contributed 9.85 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Q4 of last year while in cash terms, it contributed N1.9trilion during the period under review.
Nigeria, he said, has more than 63million subscription on broadband while in the voice segment, there’s173million lines as at March this year which translates to 91 per cent teledensity.
Meanwhile, another $30 billion fresh investment is urgently needed to bridge the current gaps and others that exist in the telecoms sector to take telephony services to the unserved areas. The new investment is also expected to drive the country’s readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and improve service quality, Associate Professor, Lagos Business School, Dr. Doyin Salami, said during his presentation at the forum
Speaking on: Implication of Multiple Taxation on Investment in the Nigerian Telecom Industry, he said the challenge of multiple taxation is affecting virtually all the sectors of the economy, adding that the telecom sector is hugely impacted negatively.
Salami said the sector was doing well, becoming the fourth largest sector of the economy last year.
The LBS Associate Professor said the country must solve the issue of multiple taxation as fast as possible if investors must come into the sector.
According to him, fresh investments are needed to upgrade the current 2G and 3G infrastructure, stressing that “the future of telecoms is about co-creation.”
The former Minister of Communications Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson, took a swipe at the NCC, saying the era of telecoms regulation has gone with the evolution of digitalisation.
In her keynote address titled: Best Fit Infrastructure Investment Choice for an Emerging Market she said there’s need for a change in the role of the regulator in line with emerging digitisation era.
According to her, the era of licensing and providing level playing field has gone because the regulator no longer regulates only telecoms.
Dr Johnson said there’s need for a regulator that’s ahead of the industry and innovative.
She lamented that the issue of multiple taxation predated her appointment as minister, adding that about five years after exiting government, the issue continued to haunt the industry. According to her, the issue can be resolved with an executive order.
Salami said though the country is “afraid of private capital”, it remains the sure way of getting the fresh $30 billion, saying: “We should not encourage debt capital where equity capital is ready to play.”
Also speaking, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, said telecoms operators are confronted with 39 different taxes and levies inhibiting the expansion of infratsructure across the country.
ward and the Role of the Regulator,” also charged NCC to become more aggressive in tackling the sector’s increasing challenges.
Johnson said NCC must create framework that will attract blended investment, stressing that the role of regulator must change going forward.
Earlier in his address as the Special Guest of Honour, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, assured that the next level agenda would focus on making the business environment more friendly.
Represented by the Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Babajide Ojudu, the VP said President Buhari is keen on bridging the digital divide in the country with new policy direction.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta, the Commission will do everything possible to move the sector forward.
On the issue of multiple taxation, Danbatta recall that NCC has met with the Governor Forum about four times to educate them on the dangers of multiple taxation.
“We are not repenting, we shall do more and engage them constructively,” he stated.
Danbatta revealed that as at last quarter of 2018, telecoms sector contribution to the country’s GDP stood at ¦ 1.9 Trillion.