Pantami Tasks Telecoms on Stakeholders’ Interest
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami has reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian government to protect the interests of all the stakeholders in telecoms and Information and Communications Technology industry.
The Minister, who stated this while giving a remark at the Sectoral Virtual Forum 2020, organized by the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) emphasized that when the interest of the subscribers is protected, the industry would moving forward.
He said “Protecting the interest of the consumers, particularly the poor masses are top of our priority as a government. They require fairness from all of us. We must see them as kings because they really deserve the best,”
Dr Pantami tasked telecom operators to always take the interest of the consumers to heart, suggesting that one of the surest ways to protect the interest of the consumers is to ensure good quality of services and reduce the cost of data, which he described as the engine room of the digital economy “In the Ministry, we always try to strike a balance by protecting the interest of consumers and citizens on one hand and the telecoms companies on the other,” the Minister stated
He noted that government is working round the clock to meet the need of ATCON members by taking some of the steps which include protection of telecom infrastructures against vandalism, addressed the challenges of right of way levy and multiple taxation, working to review all taxes being collected from operators and giving priorities and reference to indigenous contents and experts.
The President of ATCON,Mr Olusola Teniola said the forum with the theme “Meeting the Interests of Government, Consumers and Telecom & ICT Companies in the Era of COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 Pandemic for Digital Economy Development” was converged to identify various challenges the industry stakeholders are facing with the view of providing solutions to them.
He commended, Dr.Pantami for steering the affairs of the Ministry in the right direction saying that “Minister of Communications and Digital Economy is working assiduously to change the narrative of through the Ministry.As we all know the Minister Commissioned a number of projects carried that have reflected the dividends of sustainable development Programme of the President Muhammadu Buhari”
He reiterated that objective of the forum is to create an enabling environment for businesses and protection of investment in the sector; and Consumer’s Interests to be satisfied in terms of quality of services, affordability and access; for Digital Economy Development to development of our telecom and ICT sector in the era of COVID-19 and Post COVID-19
The NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof Umar Danbatta disclosed that the Commission has been trying to solve the challenges confronting the members of the association.
He added that it has try to settle disputes between telecom stakeholders in one hand and also resolve the issue of Right of Way on the other hand.
The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi maintained that ICT would play a major role in the the global effort at returning to the new normal adding that COVID-19 has triggered an unprecedented paradigm shift in the way of life and only ICT sector can accelerate the development of Digital Economy.
He said, “The new trend has stimulated a surge in demand for digital services and are putting tremendous pressure on the existing ICT and Telco infrastructure. Therefore, there is a need for government’s intervention and regulatory instruments to help you – the sector players come out from this pandemic stronger then when you entered,” Abdullahi maintained.
The NITDA boss noted that broadband infrastructure remains the most critical infrastructure the nation needs to wither the storm of the pandemic adding that the connectivity drive of the government has made Nigeria a mobile-first market, with almost three-quarters of about 100m internet users consuming digital services using smartphones.