Emma Okonji, This Day
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has assured that the contributions from the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector would boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the country by 15 per cent in 2015.
Executive Vice President of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who gave the prediction at the just- concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, said ICT contribution to the country's GDP "should jump from the current 5.6 per cent to between 13 and 15 per cent by 2015."
Juwah based his prediction on government's structured investment and regulatory intervention, while speaking at the 'Broader Way 2013 Forum - Make it Possible', organised by equipment manufacturer, Huawei, at the congress in Barcelona.
Speaking among a panel of experts from industry and administrations, Juwah traced phenomenal developments in the country's communications industry and submitted that current programmes and strategies would put Nigeria on a faster lane in broadband deployment and development.
While expressing regret over the dearth of infrastructure in the sector which affected projections and growth when compared with the country's huge population, and resulting in only six per cent data penetration currently, Juwah canvassed synergy between government and the private sector in infrastructure funding and build-out in order to stimulate demand and competition.
Addressing the licensing of the remaining slot in the 2.3GHz frequency band, Juwah said the commission has been developing a broadband concept for the country that would encourage government to give financial incentives to service providers that would take services to far-flung areas, unserved and other under-served places. "Such incentives will influence a commanding reduction in the cost of bandwidth and this expectedly, will put bandwidth in the hands of those who need it but are yet unable to afford it," Juwah said.
On the infrastructure side, he further advocated equal focus on the wireless and wired technologies. He appealed to equipment manufacturers and suppliers to come out with products that can harmonise and encourage the two technologies.
Speaking at the congress, Secretary General of the International Telecoms Union (ITU), Dr. Hamadoun Toure, commended the transformation in the telecommunications sector that is driving changes in all sectors and helping countries to meet millennium development goals (MDGs), among others.
"The digital economy allows anyone, anywhere play an active role in global issues and value chain," Toure said.
He expressed excitement about ICT growth in Africa, and specially commended Nigeria for a good regulatory framework by the Juwah- led team of NCC, which he said, had exploded mobile phone growth in Africa's most populous nation.
Toure was particularly excited that Africa had been part of the inclusive technology that has given voice to the voiceless and allowed even the ordinary folks in rural areas to participate in global discourse and share useful information.
He hailed manufacturers for turning the phone into some multi-purpose devices, saying that "it is no longer a phone but multi-purpose devices." With these devices, people are able to share information and bounce them around the world.
The ITU Secretary General was however pained that a kind of technology cold war seemed to be brewing between developed and developing countries, and appealed that such war should not be allowed to happen otherwise it would hurt growth being recorded in the sector.