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Tinubu directs MDAs to prioritise investments in Telecoms/Broadband infrastructure for business efficiency, productivity

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in a Meeting with Dr. 'Bosun Tijani, Honourable Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, ATC Nigeria Team, and Other Top Officials in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, FCT Photo: State House

*President Bola Ahmed Tinubu lauds and rallies the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, its agencies, other governement Ministries, Departments and Agencies to ensure that Nigeria is ready for ‘a higher level of digital penetration in the telecommunications sector’, and specific type of digital education needed in the competitive, knowledge-based global economy of the 21st Century

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In line with the Nigeria Digital Economy agenda, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy (FMCIDE), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and Federal Ministry of Environment to align regulations and tax frameworks to facilitate investment expansion in telecommunications and Broadband infrastructure nationwide.

ConsumerConnect reports President Tinubu issued the directive at a meeting with a delegation from American Tower Corporation (ATC) Nigeria Thursday, March 15, 2024, in the State House, Abuja, FCT.

The Nigerian leader also expressed apparent dissatisfaction with the bureaucratic pace in permit issuance processing for companies operating in the digital infrastructure sector of the economy.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, also stated Mr. Marek Busfy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ATC Africa, while speaking at the forum in the State House, expressed ATC Nigeria’s commitment to expanding its investments in the country.

It is equally noted that the company’s investments has already surpassed $2.19 billion since 2015, when it commenced operations in the West African country’s digital ecosystem.

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

Responding to Busfy’s assurance of scaling up its investments in Nigeria,

Responding, President Tinubu commended ATC Nigeria for its significant contributions and investments in the country’s ICT sector.

The President also highlighted the strategic importance of innovative solutions to bridge the digital divide in the ecosystem.

Commendation for FMCIDE, associated agencies for deepening digital connectivity in Nigeria

In acknowledging the Ministry and its agencies, including the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), NITDA, and others in developing the digital ecosystem, President Tinubu commended the ongoing efforts of the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy at promoting digital connectivity across Nigeria, especially the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme.

The digital skills programme has been designed to upskill three million Nigerian youths in digital literacy and innovation through innovation incubators across the country.

He also outlined ongoing initiatives to establish Broadband connectivity in all 774 Local Government Council (LGC) secretariats within six months, leveraging existing infrastructure, such as NigComSat and Galaxy Backbone’s fibre optic network.

Tinubu stated: “In the area of Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), 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.”

The President highlighted how ATC Nigeria’s investments could add more value to attain the next level, stating “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.”

Tinubu said: “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.”

On EoDB, tax reduction for Telco’  investments in Broadband infrastructure

Addressing specific concerns raised by the ATC Nigeria delegation regarding the EoDB in the country, President Tinubu assured the industry stakeholders of his administration’s commitment to implementing reforms that would eliminate bureaucratic constraints.

Also, in regard to a reduction in Withholding Tax (WHT) for telecommunications companies to stimulate investments in telecoms and Broadband infrastructure, the Nigerian  President said the FIRS would review the matter and “provide a solution that is in the best interest of both the investors and the Nigerian people.”

Tinubu asserted that “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.”

Mr. Busfy, ATC Africa Chief, as well reiterated the company’s readiness to invest further in Nigeria’s Telecoms/ICT infrastructure to meet the market’s growing demand for data.

He also applauded “the clarity of strategy” demonstrated by the administration, particularly praising the roadmap and efforts of Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, Honourable Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy.

Busfy stated: “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.”

The Chief Executive of ATC Africa noted: “We have employed several hundreds of people in Nigeria and 25,000 more indirectly.

“We have paid about $400 million in taxes, both direct and indirect.”

Busfy added: “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.

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