The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yesterday disclosed that private sector investments in the nation’s telecom industry since 2001 have risen to $68 billion.
This was even as the Commission also said Information and Communication Technology (ICT) now contributes more than 10 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Speaking on the theme, “Drive Towards Digital Economy: The Journey So Far”, at the DigitalPay Expo 2018 in Lagos, Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, said that entrance to digital economy in Nigeria began with the licensing of the digital mobile service providers in 2001.
“Before 2001, the nation had less than 400,000 lines with teledensity of less than 0.05 per cent. Private sector investments in the sector was just some $50 million before the injection of funds following the successful auction in 2001.” Ojobo explained that the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 energised a robust regulatory environment and universal access provision fund became available to bridge digital access thereby spurring the growth so far.
He said that teledensity stood at 114.66 per cent as at April 2018 just as internet subscription was 101,209,503 as at April 2018.
The Director noted that Nigeria’s value-added market is valued at $200 million and estimated to hit $500 million in 2020.
“In 2016, about 16 million Nigerians were connected to Facebook. In 2018, Facebook has recorded 26 million users. Out of this figure, 25 million connect with mobile devices. (Techpoint). More than 35 million people around the world connect to businesses on Facebook (Techpoint).”
Ojobo emphasised that digital economy is an inevitable phenomenon of the growth potential of the dynamic ICT industry to which economies and nations of the world cannot resist. “The biggest economies of the world are pursuing it with more vigour and nations like Nigeria, with an internationally acclaimed telecom regulator, has not been left out in this pursuit,” he said.
Earlier, in his keynote address, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Umar Garba Danbatta, while speaking on the theme, “Enabling Financial Inclusion, A Multi-Agency Approach”, pointed out that the NCC, through its Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and other initiatives, supports the rollout of requisite telecom infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas of Nigeria.
“This is expected to provide coverage to a segment of the population with little or no access to either telecom or traditional financial services. As such, this initiative, by extension, will also provide the requisite platform for the provision of digital financial services.”