…Virtual Event To Serve As Experimental Kitchen To Achieve 70% Broadband Penetration
By Angeline Ngbele, Correspondent Abuja
Burning with the desire to rallying stakeholders of the Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) to brainstorm and come up with actionable strategies that, when implemented, would lead to meeting and even surpassing the target set in the Nigerian Broadband Plan (2020-2025), advocacy umbrella body- the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria(ATCON) has firmed up arrangements to achieve a successful webinar.
The theme of the virtual forum is “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”.
Accordingly, ATCON in an update inked by its President Olusola Teniola and communicated to us through its Executive Secretary Ajibola Olude, says it has secured the buy-in of industry heavy-weights from the corporate, legal, media, legislative, regulatory and policy constituencies. ATCON says the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has confirmed his availability to present a principal keynote address on the theme of the Forum with special focus on the Ministry’s Policy Directions.
Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, and Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, among others, would constitute the panelists from the government establishments and they will be making presentations on the theme of the event with special focus on what their Commissions and Agencies are doing to satiate ICT consumers.
Teniola threw more light on other industry heavyweights expected to grace the virtual event: “We have the following representatives from the angle of those that represent consumers in Nigeria: Mrs Sola Salako Ajulo, President/Founder, Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON); Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, FCIB, President/Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN); Prince Igho Majemite, Chairman, Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF); Chief Adeolu Ogunbanjo, National President, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS); Mr Rasak Adekoya, Programme Lead, DFID Inclusion Works, Sightsavers; Comrade Moses O Igbrude, Chairman, Consumer Rights Awareness Advancement And Advocacy Initiative (CRAAAI) and Prince (Amb.) Sina Bilesanmi, National President, Association of Telephone Cable Tv and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS) and their role is to give feedback on Telecoms and ICT Service delivery.
“Also, we have the following representatives from the angle of those companies that provide telecoms and ICT Services: Mr Biodun Omoniyi, MD/CEO, VDT Communications Limited; Mrs Abimbola Alale, Managing Director, NIGCOMSAT; Prof Muhammad Bello Abubakar, MD/CEO, Galaxy Backbone; Mr Oyaje Idoko, Managing Director, Layer3 Limited; Mr Toba Obaniyi, Vice President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA); Mr Mohamad Darwish, Managing Director, IHS Nigeria Limited and Mr Abayomi Adebanjo, General Counsel, MainOne Cable Company Nigeria Limited. Their role will be to tell us what they are doing to meet the need of consumers as more people come online.”
“This Sectoral Virtual Forum,” ATCON President explained “would address the need of telecom and ICT Consumers in the COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 Pandemic cum Digital Economy era with the principal goal of meeting the new broadband target of 70 per cent. This time around ATCON is providing a veritable platform for Governments, Consumers (corporate and personal) and Telecommunications and ICT Companies to rob minds on how consumers can be better off in terms of effective delivery of telecoms and ICT services and products in Nigeria. The centrality of consumer to the projected growth of the Nigerian telecoms and ICT Sector cannot be overlooked in the area of the needed investment to accelerate the progress of our sector. With the emergence of digital economy in Nigeria coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, many economic transactions would be done digitally going forward.”
According to Teniola, the strategic objective of this very important sectoral forum was to converge regulator’s Interests -to ensure a competitive telecom market and fast track development of telecom industry; Operator’s Interests – 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.
“Let me reiterate it that the interdependence among the government, telecom and ICT Companies and Nigerians are clearly obvious but each of them have limitations and potentials hence the forum would make an attempt to address their limitations and turn them to advantage for the development of Nigerian Telecom and ICT Sector in the era of COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 Pandemic,” he concluded.