Akwa Ibom State government has called on the management of MTN Nigeria Limited to expand its network with a view to making its services available in rural communities in the state.
State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah made the call while giving a talk at a retreat organized, weekend, by MTN for its staff in Uyo last weekend.
Umanah, who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Mr. Oliver Udoukpo, underscored the importance of the expansion of rural telecommunications network coverage as a vital means of connecting rural people with other sectors in the economy.
“We cannot neglect the development of our rural communities and expect to have meaningful development because a large percentage of our population reside in those areas.
“Development can only be effective if rural dwellers have access to timely and relevant information that can enhance their lives.
“The people in the rural communities need information on how to prevent diseases that affect people as well as awareness on available treatments and cost of treatment for ailments,” the commissioner explained.
He further stated that with the expansion of telecommunications network, farmers and other rural dwellers would be better informed about improved seedlings, soil treatments, and storage techniques, in addition to having information on empowerment, housing effective political participation.
Umana said that although MTN services have improved in the state, they needed to upgrade their equipment for high signal transmission, especially in the rural communities.
In a brief remark, the Senior Manager, Government Relations, MTN, Mr. Austin Iyashere, assured the state government of improved business relationship and partnership for the development of the rural communities.
Iyashere, however, pledged to be more involved in rendering services to subscribers in the state but solicited for government support to integrate telecommunication design into its urbanization and infrastructural planning.
He noted that MTN Nigeria Limited remained the most indigenized company in the country and contributing over 4 percent of the GDP and assured that Akwa Ibom remained a strategic state for their business.

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