(Ecofin Agency) – Telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria, meeting under the auspices of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), have presented themselves to the federal government as the solution to the financial crisis in which drop in oil prices have led the country. During the 2016 edition of the Nigeria International Technology Exhibition and Conference (NITEC), held last week in Lagos, Olusola Teniola (photo), President of ATCON, challenged the state on the urgency of a diversification of the economy. He stressed that a quality investment in ICT and Telecoms would enable the country in the long run to break its economic dependence on oil.
For the president of ATCON, whose remarks were reported by This Day newspaper, ““It is surprising that the federal government does not give priority to the ICT sector when planning, despite its huge contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). If more than 70 per cent of ICT components are currently being imported from abroad, then the sector will just be struggling to survive without government support (…) To stem the imbalance in the supply and demand of foreign exchange, what the federal government needs to consider is to encourage the establishment of companies that manufacture these components or assemble them in Nigeria with some incentives and for government to further sponsor ICT parks in the country.”
Beyond funding, appropriate policies are equally needed to boost the development of national ICT and Telecoms for it creates enough wealth for the country, says Olusola Teniola. Otherwise, the current global oil crisis, which will take time to fade, may force the country to resort to further borrowing to finance its budget.