Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, has called for the creation of an ICT Bank to promote and encourage local participation in West Africa ICT Sector.
Speaking at the 3rd West Africa Telecom Summit & Expo & Africa Information Technology and Telecom Awards 2016 at Accra, Ghana, ATCON, President,
Olusola Teniola, said that the cost of capital involved in setting up a full fledge telecommunication outfit is very high as the interest rate is double digits as this does not help the growth of telecommunication companies in Nigeria.
He said the growth of Information and Communication Technology during the last few years has been phenomenal and tremendous and impacting on every aspect of human life.
Teniola noted that during these years of growth and popularity of ICT, numerous features and facilities have been developed. Due to global information requirement, application of ICT has become so wide spread, there is a great need of applying certain technology to improve seamless communication across borders.
The ATCON President said there has been increasing need for storage, processing, retrieval and dissemination of information quickly and easily and the answers to all these is ubiquitous and affordable broadband.
He said that in Nigeria today, the telecommunications sector is faced with the challenges which resultant effect is low profits which would not encourage the direct investment to the country.
Teniola therefore tasked the government of Nigeria and West African states to encourage more infrastructure type banks that support the provision of long terms loans for ICT and Telecoms companies.
He said that by so doing the interest rate to such companies will reflect the risk and profile of capital projects undertaken which are necessary for development of the sector.
Speaking further, he said that if the government of West African states is serious about increasing the participation of ICT local investors then the government must come up with some incentives to encourage some would-be investors in that sector by granting them tax holidays and the likes.
According to him, “The development of ICT in Nigeria and West Africa is on the shoulder of the people of West Africa. If there is going to be any positive change in terms of local participation in ICT and telecoms then we must encourage local production and consumption of locally made goods and services. The direct result of this is that there would be increased job opportunities in Nigeria and West Africa. This would largely reduce capital flight and throw up “the need for all West Africa Countries to harmonize their various ICT policies and programmes for the development of the region.”

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