By Charles Nwaoguji
An expert in telecom industry has urged the Federal Government to inject more funds into Information Communication Technology (ICT) manpower, infrastructural and software development in order to promote greater broadband penetration in rural communities across the country.
In a media chat with Daily Sun recently in Lagos, the Managing Director of e.Stream Networks Limited, Mr. Muyiwa Razaq Ogungboye, emphasised that if government was desirous of diversifying the economy, it should lay emphasis on the ICT sector, since it was positively transforming developed economies and their youths.
“If the present administration is desirous of attaining its change mantra, then there is need to create the enabling environment for the development and expansion of ICT in Nigeria,” he said.
Ogungboye said records have shown that several Nigerian youths have reversed their poverty conditions to become employers of labour through ICT.
He maintained that since it has been proven that there exists depthless opportunities in the ICT sphere, a Nigerian has the potential to get to another level.
“Government should partner with stakeholders to enhance telecom development in the country,” he said.
He opined that there is no doubt that ICT would transform Nigeria’s economy for the better and create improved level of employment, while calling on the government to establish a specialised bank to cater for the development of the ICT industry.
The Managing Director noted that the regular banks cannot cater for the needs of operators in the ICT industry because of the time it takes to develop ICT products and services, from conception to market.
He noted that service providers will need to invest more in mobile tower infrastructure – particularly in rural areas – if Nigeria is to get the much needed boost to connectivity and network coverage.
The telecoms expert described the region as one of the least connected globally, with a mobile penetration of 82 per cent compared to the 100 per cent global average.
Despite the growing demand for wireless connectivity, particularly in remote areas, the business case for infrastructure investment is not always compelling, he said.
, adding that the government must invest massively in power sector if ICT would survive the current economic downturn.
“As I talk with you, we spend over N1 million in every two weeks in running our generator. If we don’t do that, we will be out of business,” he added.