ATCON organises forum to address telecom/ICT stakeholders’ needs in Nigeria’s digital economy

*Regulators, operators to rub minds on effective telecoms and ICT service delivery to consumers

*Advocates investment-friendly regulations in industry for development of digital economy

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has concluded plans to organise a sectoral virtual forum Thursday, August 6, 2020, at 10a.m. on Zoom, and live on Facebook as well as other social media platforms.

The forum, which has the theme, “Meeting the Interests of Government, Consumers and Telecom & ICT Companies in the Era of COVID-19 and Post Covid-19 Pandemic for Digital Economy Development”, is being scheduled to address the needs of telecoms and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) consumers during the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 pandemic cum digital economy periods in the country.

Mr. Ajibola, Olude, Executive Secretary of ATCON, who disclosed this in a statement made available to ConsumerConnect, said the principal goal of the conference is to enable the industry to meet a new target of 70 percent broadband penetration in the country.

The important sectoral forum is to converge the industry regulator’s interests in ensuring a competitive telecoms market while fast-tracking the development of the industry.

It is also expected to highlight the need for the operator to create an enabling environment for businesses and protection of investment as well as satisfaction of the consumers’ interests with top quality services, affordability, and access for the development of digital economy, said the statement.

According to Olude, the ATCON virtual provides a veritable platform for governments, consumers (corporate and personal) and telecommunications and ICT companies to rub minds on how improving consumer experience in terms of effective delivery of telecom, ICT services and products in the country.

The centrality of consumers to the projected growth of the Nigerian telecoms and ICT sector cannot be overlooked in the area of the needed investment to accelerate the progress of our sector, stated the Association.

The statement further indicated that the emergence of digital economy in Nigeria coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, many economic transactions would be done digitally going forward.

“In actualising this dream of giving Nigerian telecom and ICT consumers a place in the heart of governments and telecoms and ICT companies, all hands must be on deck in that governments must make laws that encourage further investment in the sector.

“Telecommunications and ICT companies must make consumer satisfaction their priority and the consumers must support the telecom and ICT companies by requesting government to relax its exorbitant taxes, levies, and telecoms and ICT companies must be able to buy Forex directly from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” ATCON said.

The body also recalled that Nigeria’s telecom sector has witnessed two major important developments, including President Muhammadu Buhari’s renaming the supervising telecoms and ICT sector as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, while expanding the Ministry’s mandate to capture the goals of digitalisation of the Nigerian economy in line with the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) amid the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These two important developments will form the basis of the continued development of the telecoms and ICT sector in the next few years, said the Association.

The anticipated growth and development of this sector, according to the Association, is hinged on the role of government in terms of regulation and policy directions, the telecom and ICT companies, and finally the consumers.

ATCON restated its commitment to continuous progress of the Nigerian telecom and ICT sector plans to use this sectoral forum to proffer lasting solutions as well as galvanise support from the government, telecom companies and the consumers towards increasing the contributions of the sector geometrically to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by examining some of the challenges of these catalysts of development with a view to solving them.

Registration for the ATCON Sectoral Virtual Forum is available at: https://forms.gle/JVnFApRMF71MSnPf8.

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