Lull In Tech Investment As Fear Grips Potential Investors
… As NCC Assures Of Safety
By Olabisi Olaleye and Gina Emmanuel
When the telecommunication industry was liberated in 2001, there was huge applause and great expectations from all stakeholders and captains of industries.
Investors came en masse and the industry enjoyed massive liberty, which resulted in accelerated growth and geometric Gross Domestic Progression, (GDP).
Almost seventeen years down the line, most companies either folded up, sacked thousands of workers, restrategized or open new offices in neighbouring countries.
While the main stream telecommunications companies may not be sure of their stands owing to political upheavals, Boko Haram insurgency as well as the rampant herdsmen killings. All these are pointers to danger that may be the resultant effect on telecoms businesses in the nearest future, Gtechnews.com.ng gathered.
Telecommunications or the Information and Communication Technology industry is perhaps expensive in maintenance but it is the hub of the growth of any nation. While many communities are being killed, the herdsmen may end up towards destroying the telecoms infrastructure.
Although, telecoms infrastructure are still expected to be classified as critical infrastructure and when not, the industry and the security of this country may be at risk.
According to the 2017 Global Terrorism Index, deaths attributed to Boko Haram reduced by 80 per cent,an improvement on the carnage of previous years. But for the second year running, Nigeria was ranked the world’s third most terrorized country.
“Boko Haram, which was the world’s deadliest terror group in 2014 with 6, 700 deaths dropped to third in 2016 with 1,079 attributable killings. Only one of its attacks made the top 20 most fatal terror attacks in the world in 2016 compared to nine such attacks in 2014. While the administration has, indeed, amped up the military counter insurgency effort and degraded the terror organization in the North East, Nigeria is a long way from being able to claim that Boko Haram has been defeated. Its numbers, bolstered by abductions of girls and boys from North East communities and relentless indoctrination, remain significant”.
More recently, former Minister of Defence, and Ntel Chairman TY Danjuma disclosed that Nigerians should defend themselves as the armed forces have joined forces with bandits to kill them.
“You’re depending on the Armed Forces to stop the killings, you will all die one by one. The ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba State. It must stop in all the states of Nigeria, otherwise Somalia will be a child’s play.
“In this state, and of course all the riverine states of Nigeria, we must resist it. We must stop it. Every one of us must rise up. The Armed Forces are not neutral. They collude with the bandits that kill people, kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movements. They cover them.I ask every one of you to be alert and defend your country, defend your territory, defend your state. You have nowhere else to go. God bless Nigeria,”he said.
Security expert in the United States, Alan Ivy said, “These killings may not only threaten security of lives and properties but may constitute a major impediment to the much needed growth and development of Nigeria, as regular work in both informal and formal sectors of the economy would be grimly hampered while the economy groans under such intense hardship and unconducive environment”.
Meanwhile, most telecoms outlets across the states that are prone to danger are either partially closed or managed remotely.
Gtechnews.com.ng learnt from impeccable sources that other intending investors are thinking of looking elsewhere despite Nigeria’s population.
On its part, the telecoms umpire, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC explained that above all, “Nigeria is trying to digitally transform and the process is on-going”.
The NCC’s helsman, Prof Garba Danbatta who spoke at a forum recently urged “Global policymakers in the telecommunication industry to ensure not only renewed thinking in the development of policy frameworks but also to promote innovation and investment in the sector.
“Hence we’ve been paying attention to five interdependent elements of the digital transformation processes: enabling policies and institutions, human capital, applied ICT industry, communications infrastructure ICT applications and institutional change,” he stated.
Speaking further, Danbatta observed that broadband penetration in the country merely stood at about eight per cent when he took over the mantle of the leadership of the industry, but it is now 22 per cent, according to the ITU-UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.
“We also decided to look at how we can improve Quality of Service consistent with key performances indicators that characterize the quality of service. The information we are getting from the consumers as well what we source from network operators is that Quality of Service has improved. The experience by consumers through their accounts also indicate significant improvement,” he noted.