By Nwakaego Alajemba
The Nigerian government has assured investors, particularly in the telecom sector, of the country’s commitment to guaranteeing their returns on investment (RoIs) and protecting their interest.
The country’s leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, also announced plans for an Executive Order on Critical National Infrastructure to protect telecommunications infrastructures from vandalisation and abuse, sometimes by state agents in some of Nigeria’s 36 states that make up the federation.
“We are in the process of releasing an Executive Order on Critical National Infrastructure to ease your concerns regarding the security of your equipment.
He spoke this week in Abuja during a visit by the MTN Group to the Presidential Villa.
“I have also directed the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to liaise with the Inspector General of Police to ensure the protection of critical telecom infrastructure across the country,” the president told an audience that included the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Chairman, MTN Group, Mr. Mcebisi Jonas and President/CEO, MTN, Mr. Rob Shuter at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Others are the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, and Chair of MTN Nigeria, Ernest Ndukwe.
The president thanked MTN for making the visit and commended the telecom giant “for the role that you are playing in Nigeria and the reconfirmation of your commitment to the Nigerian economy.
Financial inclusion and Right of Way
He added: “We look forward to the successful deployment of your proposed rural telephony projects to ensure that Nigerians in unserved and underserved areas are able to connect and enjoy the benefits of digital technology. It is also important that we have greater 4G penetration across the country.”
“Your desire to promote financial inclusion is also a welcome development as we seek to use innovative digital technologies to integrate the unbanked across the country.”
The president further assured the mobile operator which accounts for more than 65 million or over 40% of Nigeria’s telecoms subscribers of government’s commitment “to ensuring that you are given the right business environment to thrive in Nigeria.
“For example, the lingering Right of Way (RoW) issue has finally been resolved on the 22nd of January, 2020 after a meeting between the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Governors, under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. This resolution will make it easy for MTN and any other operators to roll out fibre across the country for a maximum amount of N145 per linear metre.”
Downward review of data price
The president task MTN and other operators to work closely with the government to bring down the cost of data.
“We urge you to continue to support our efforts by improving the Quality of Service (QoS), downward price review of data and other services in view of your large market in Nigeria.
“We note that Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market in Africa, accounting for approximately one-third of your total annual revenues and we want you to take this into account when creating a pricing structure for our market.