By Rabiyat Usman:
The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu has said the Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications was poised to support and create enabling environment for telecommunications industry to thrive. The Minister stated this recently in his Office when Tier Two (Broadband) Telecom Operators paid him a courtesy visit.
Shittu who identified with the challenges the operators are facing said relevant steps would be taken to look into it, adding that ICT is critical to the government and data is a way of life to all citizens irrespective of either government or private activities, assuring them that government would do everything possible to see that Tier Two Telecoms (Broadband) Providers succeed in their businesses.
Earlier in his speech, the leader of the delegation, Godfrey Efeurhobo, Managing Director, Smile Communications, thanked the minister for granting them audience within a short time, particularly as Sallah was just observed. He commended the minister for his passion for ICT and the role he is playing to see that ICT is being used to revive the economy of Nigeria.
Mr. Efeurhobo requested the minister to use his good office to take the lead in tackling various challenges that the Telecom Companies face like, network operating cost which has gone up to 85 per-cent, which brought about shock in their businesses, adding that the Minister should please put in place palliatives that would cushion most of the challenges they faced in their business which include granting them tax holiday, high exchange rate due to not being listed among companies going to the forex directly to source for dollars, liquidity issue, and harmonisation of Right of Way(RoW) due to challenges from States and Local Government Councils, as these measures would grow the industry.
The Minister seized the opportunity of their visit to invite them to partner with the Ministry in the establishment of ICT Development Bank, to adopt a campus of the ICT University and the establishment of ICT Exhibition Park.