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Tinubu Orders Digital Infrastructure Investments Prioritization to Enhance Business

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has directed the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy; the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and the Federal Ministry of Environment to align regulations and tax frameworks to facilitate investment expansion in telecommunications and broadband infrastructure nationwide.

The President issued the directive at a meeting with a delegation from American Tower Corporation (ATC) Nigeria at the State House in Abuja on Thursday, expressing dissatisfaction with the bureaucratic pace in permit issuance processing for companies operating in the digital infrastructure sector.

 

The Chief Executive Officer of ATC Africa, Mr.

Marek Busfy had expressed ATC Nigeria’s commitment to expanding its investments in the country, which have already surpassed $2.19 billion since its commencement of Nigerian operations in 2015. 

Busfy also emphasized ATC’s commitment to delivering value to subscribers while reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with its operations.

Responding, President Tinubu commended ATC Nigeria for its significant contributions and investments in the country’s ICT sector, highlighting the importance of innovative solutions to bridge the digital divide. 

The President lauded the ongoing efforts of the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy to promote digital connectivity across the nation, particularly the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme that functions to upskill three million Nigerian youths in digital literacy and innovation through innovation incubators nationwide.

Tinubu outlined ongoing initiatives to establish broadband connectivity in all 774 local government secretariats within six months, leveraging existing infrastructure, such as NIGCOMSAT and Galaxy Backbone’s fibre optic network.

”In the area of ease of doing business, no nation can make progress without paying attention to the opportunities that are right in front of them. We have a vibrant youth population that has successfully innovated without much government support. What now happens in this era when we are providing massive support to their digital economic activities? They will do very well. You are investing in the right place at the right time.

”Considering our population and land mass, we need your investments to ensure that we are ready for a higher level of digital penetration in the telecommunications sector and the specific type of digital education that is needed in the competitive, knowledge-based global economy of the 21st century,” the President said.

Addressing concerns raised by the delegation regarding the ease of doing business in Nigeria, President Tinubu assured them of his administration’s commitment to implementing reforms that will eliminate bureaucratic constraints. 

In response to a request from the delegation for a reduction in withholding tax for telecommunications companies to stimulate investments in telecommunications and broadband infrastructure, the President said the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) would review the matter and provide a solution that is in the best interest of both the investors and the Nigerian people.

”Every citizen, whether at the corporate or individual level, fights tax. Let us work with the FIRS and see how we can slice the cake. If the country has a good path of growth, it is a greater opportunity for you to invest,” the President stated.

In his remarks, the CEO of ATC Africa reiterated the company’s readiness to invest further in Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure to meet the market’s growing demand for data, while lauding the clarity of strategy demonstrated by the administration, particularly praising the roadmap and efforts of the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani.

”Mr. President, what has struck me in Nigeria is the clarity of strategy by your administration, particularly in the ICT sector, and the administration’s 3MTT programme. In the last year, we have invested over $200 million in growing our infrastructure in Nigeria, and we are ready to do significantly more.   

”We have employed several hundred people in Nigeria and 25,000 more indirectly. We have paid about $400 million in taxes, both direct and indirect. As an American company, we are often asked about our experience in Africa and in Nigeria, and we want to stress that we are very ethical in our approach to business,” Mr. Busfy said.

POLITICS

APC Primary: Gov. Aiyedatiwa Best Man for Ondo – Adu

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A new entry into the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Muyiwa Adu, has thrown is hat in the ring in support of Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State.

Adu, a former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, who recently decamped to the APC, said that Aiyedatiwa was the best among gubernatorial aspirants seeking to contest the Nov.

20 governorship election.

Speaking at a public declaration of support for Aiyedatiwa, on Friday in Akure, the former PDP chieftain said that his decision followed wide consultation among his followers.

He urged party members to vote  en masse for Aiyedatiwa on April 20 during the APC primary election in the state.

According to him, the deputy governor who succeeded the late Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu, has a listening hear, which is a major attribute of a leader.

“ I want to tell people publicly that we  are supporting Aiyedatiwa  in the primary.

“I am a patron to about 73 associations in the state and we are all giving our support to the governor.

“As I told you that it’s  God that directed me to politics; therefore, it’s God’s directive and wide consultation that picked Aiyedatiwa for our support.

“We will follow our words with actions and Aiyedatiwa will become  our party’s candidate on  Saturday and come Nov.  16.

we will vote for him,” he stated.

Responding, Aiyedatiwa thanked Adu for having confidence in him, describing him as one of the leaders in the  party with a crowd of supporters.

“ I know that he cannot mislead you. What God told him in the secret is being revealed publicly today.

“All other aspirants have been to him to convince him and seek his support, but he has not picked any of them, but me.

“ I thank you  for this great mobilisation,” the governor said.( NAN)

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NEWS

Tinubu Mourns Ex-Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu

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President Bola Tinubu has extended his deepest condolences to the Onu family over the passing of Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, a former Minister of Science and Technology in the Buhari administration.

Chief Onu passed away on Thursday at the age of 72.

“The President mourns a luminous star in Nigeria’s political firmament.

The first civilian governor of Abia State; former minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, a principal draughtsman in the founding of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and a valiant partner in the victory of the party in the 2015 elections.
 

“Most importantly, the President celebrates the life of an accomplished scholar, first-class engineer; a man of proven integrity; defiant to indiscipline, but ever yielding to the highest standards of rectitude,” a statement by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Presidential spokesman quoted the President to have said.

The statement said Tinubu affirmed that the late Onu epitomized Nigeria in concord; in wholeness, as the late statesman believed in and defended Nigeria’s unity, advocated peace, and promoted fellowship across the Niger.

The President also condoled with the friends and associates of Chief Onu, Ebonyi and Abia State Governments, and all Nigerians grieving this gaping loss.

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POLITICS

PDP Appoints Chinda as Chairman for Ondo LG Congress, Ahead of Primaries

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has appointed Rep. Kingsley Chinda as the Chairman, Local Government Congress Electoral Committee for Ondo, ahead of Saturday’s governorship primaries.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

Ologunagba said that the constitution of the committee was approved by the National Working Committee (NEC) of the party.

“The committee members are to serve on the local government Congress Electoral Committee to conduct National Delegates Congress for the purpose of electing one national delegate per local government area in Ondo,” he said.

Ologunagba said that the congress would hold at the Collation Center of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in each of the local government areas of the state.

Ologunagba advised all the governorship aspirants, leaders, critical stakeholders and members in Ondo to take note and be guided accordingly.(NAN)

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