ICT: Sustain deployment of digital infrastructure, tackle multiple taxation — Experts tell FG


By Ariemu Ogaga

Experts have expressed that continued deployment of digital infrastructure, tackling of multiple taxation, and solving telecommunications infrastructure vadanlism are crucial to sustain existing growth in the Information, Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

Past President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr Olusola Teniola and President ATCON, Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani stated this in separate interviews with Nigerian NewsDirect on Monday.

According to Teniola, “What is sensed and what is probable in 2022 is a continuation of what had already begun in terms of deployment of digital infrastructure and with the auctioning of spectrum for deployment of 5G technology. It presents an opportunity for the adoption of low latency innovative digital services alongside increased scale of 4G technology delivering the expected meaningful Internet access to both Urban and Rural communities.

“With attention of the FG to improve financial inclusion and the timely approval in principle of PSB licences, a focus on Digital Financial Services should accelerate deployment of Digital Infrastructure alongside innovative Innovative Digital Regulation.

“Early emergent adoption of AI/ML and Big Data will improve Customer Experience and create an ecosystem that facilitates more youth engagement and contribution towards the development of Smart Cities and immersive solutions for the Metaverse and/or Web 3.0,” he said.

On his part,  Engr Ikechukwu Nnamani said FG must address the issue of multiple taxation, high cost of right of way fees, vandalism of telecom infrastructure, as well as lack of proper funding structure for telecom projects in the First quarter of 2022.

According to him, “It must be appreciated that the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us and having a negative impact on the economy and life in general.

“A lot of the projects scheduled for implementation in 2021 could not take place as a result of disruption from COVID-19. However the telecom and ICT space remained resilient and as noted contributed significantly to the GDP of Nigeria. But the impact is actually more felt by the citizens who were able to use telecom and ICT infrastructure to maintain as much quality of life as possible in a safe way.

“From business transaction, education, entertainment, and governance telecom and ICT helped keep the country going and in a safe way from the impact of the Pandemic.

“For 2022 we expect the same to continue. With expectations that the Pandemic will be greatly curtailed by the end of 1st quarter 2022 we anticipate a rapid expansion of telecom and ICT infrastructure in the country. With the plan to roll out 5G services in full gear, implementation of several hyperscale datacenters, roll out of fiber transmission infrastructure across the country, provision of financial technology services to both the banked and unbanked, we expect a very active telecom and ICT space in 2022.

“Government has a crucial role to play if the objectives of the private sector is to be met and surpassed. The unending challenges of multiple taxation, high cost of right of way fees, vandalism of telecom infrastructure, lack of proper funding structure for telecom projects, etc need to be adequately addressed by the 1st quarter of 2022,” he stated.