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Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Nigeria Makes Bold Statement At CTO
The recent election of Nigeria as the new Chair of Council and Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), has elevated Nigeria's status as a key player in the global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, especially, among nations of the commonwealth.
The election took place during the CTO's Forum and 54th Council meeting which held in Dhaka, Bangladesh early this month.
With the election, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, will assume this position on behalf of Nigeria. He took over from Director for Human Capital and Administration at the Communications Authority of Kenya, Juma Kandie. He is the immediate past first Vice-Chair.
Juwah has over 30 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications sectors, with over 20 years in top management-level positions. He was appointed as EVC in July 2010. Under his watch, THE NCC has championed the introduction of Emergency Communication Services, Mobile Number Portability, SIM card registrations and broadband access expansion in Nigeria among others.
Also elected on the eight-member Executive Committee of the CTO are : First Vice-Chair: Trinidad and Tobago, held by Chief Executive Officer, Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago; Cris Seecheran, Second Vice-Chair: Mauritius, held by Chairman, Information and Communication Technologies Authority, Mauritius; Vimalen Reddi.
Others are: Development Partners' Representative: Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Cameroon, Jean Louis Beh Mengue, while Abigail Sono of Telkom South Africa will act as International Business Development Manager. Members of the Executive Committee of the CTO are elected for one year. Kenya remains on the Executive Committee as Immediate Past Chair, together with Professor Tim Unwin as Secretary-General, both as non-elected members.
The CTO is very central to Commonwealth countries because, there, issues of technology for development are discussed; peer review programmes carried out to ensure that countries do not reinvent the wheel but learn from the experiences of member countries as they seek to take modern communications technology to their people. The resource base of the CTO is richly diverse and very supportive.
The penultimate Forum and Council Meeting was hosted in Nigeria before handing over the baton Bangladesh as the host country for the 2014 edition of the Meeting.
Speaking after the election, Juwah said:"We are delighted and honoured to be elected to this position, and we look forward to working with all members to continue to guide Management in its ICT4D efforts."
Also, the immediate past Chair, CTO, Mr Kandie said: "We are grateful for the trust members put on us over the past three years as Chair, and we look forward to playing our role on the Executive Committee to support Nigeria."
Nigeria's rich legacies at global stage
Indeed, Nigeria has become a country of note in telecoms regulatory transparency, thus enabling the country to achieve high profile growth in service deployment and investment inflow, which rank it as one of the biggest and fastest growing markets in the world.
According to available records, apart from the CTO, Nigeria has been playing significant roles at the global telecoms stage since 1961, when it joined the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and has since been actively participating in all ITU activities including the annual ITU World where it sponsors some key programmes.
Over the years, Nigeria has acquired and accumulated valuable experiences, established one of the strongest regulatory agencies in the world, developed a market that is very robust and highly competitive, and continued to engage in robust regulatory activities to the market to competition and attract the much sought after Foreign Direct Investment.
Nigeria: The shining star at CTO
Minister of Communications Technology, Dr, Omobola Johnson said Nigeria is rated as the fastest-growing telecoms markets in Africa, recording an annual growth rate of 30 per cent.
Also, Juwah, in a speech delivered at the event, apparently captured the major developments in the sector. He noted that Nigeria has adopted the Open Access Model as the country's mode of broadband deployment and in line with its National Broadband Plan approved by the Presidency early 2013.
"In February, an operator was licensed on the 2.3GHz band as a wholesale wireless broadband access provider to build a network that can provide quality data services across the country. Taking into consideration the huge population and landmass of the nation, the country has been delineated into regions as a deliberate strategy to achieve rapid rollout of infrastructure for access," the EVC said.
Also, he noted that the regulatory body under his watch was in the process of licensing Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to serve each region in meeting with the demands of Open Access Model.
In addition, Juwah told his audience that an industry consultation process has also commenced which will lead to the auctioning of spectrum on the 2.6GHz band for the facilitation of 4G services. "We hope to complete the licensing process before the end of the year," he said.
He opined that the country was aware of the importance of data in improving the overall wellbeing and transformation of her people, stressing that the Commission was working hard to ensure that the genre of technology (4G) is properly primed to attract the interest of local and international investors who will be well protected by the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.
Also, the stability of the regulatory environment is demonstrated in a highly competitive market that has attracted over $32 billion worth of investment in just over a decade and a mobile phone proliferation of 132 million active subscribers from a paltry 400, 000 lines at the beginning of this period in 2001.
He said: "This is why we have come here with a mind to learn and to solicit for more investment from the international community. We have the market. We have the population. Our appeal is for investors to take advantage of what the Nigerian market stands to offer by investing in it."
Stakeholders laud enhanced global status
Industry stakeholders have commended the NCC, saying the election of Nigeria to occupy the new role will enhance the nation's global status. According to them, the good regulatory regime engendered by the regulator and its visibility in most global and regional regulatory activities has endeared it to most countries which voted Nigeria as the new CTO chair.
President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Lanre Ajayi said the new role is a deserving one for the country. "We are delighted about the new position into which Nigeria has been elected. It is noteworthy that Nigeria is being represented by Nigeria's chief telecoms industry regulator".
He urged the NCC to utilise the position as another platform to further catapult Nigeria into higher status while enjoining the NCC to continue in the implementation of its various programmes in a manner that will benefit the industry.
Similarly, the National Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said "NCC has been meticulous in putting in place series of regulatory interventions that has put the industry on the path of consistent growth, making telecoms a key enabler of economic development" .