Buhari woos telecom investors with tax holiday, other incentives, says ease-of-doing-business improving
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to splash great incentives in the path of investors in the nation’s telecom market. He made the promise in Bangkok, Thailand at the on-going International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World conference.
The President who was represented by the minister of communication, Barr Adebayo Shittu, said Nigeria presents the highest return on investment and urged investors to take advantage of the huge market that Nigeria offers. He listed areas of investment to include deployment of broadband infrastructure, internet provision, equipment manufacturing and assembly, content development, e-applications namely e-government, e-learning etc. He said the testimony of old investors in the Nigerian market is enough to encourage new entrants.
The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, in his goodwill message said what is being celebrated as telecom revolution in Nigeria started when he and his team at the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) got the nod of former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, to invite UK-based Vodafone to Nigeria at a symbolic cost of $1 for a nationwide GSM licence. According to him, Vodafone turned down the offer, saying that Nigeria market was not profitable and would not support the kind of expansion associated with the company.
According to him, the same licence that was rejected by Vodafone for $1 was auctioned at $285 million each to MTN, Econet and others. This, according to him, attests to the resilience of the Nigerian market. He urged new investors to look to the growth of the old investors as a motivation to invest in Nigeria.
For ITU Secretary General, Houlin Zhao, Nigeria remains one of the most promising telecom markets in the world. He said the ITU would be willing to offer all necessary assistant to Nigeria to help her grow the telecom market and extend services to the rural communes.
Also speaking at the investment forum after the formal opening of the Nigeria Pavillion, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, said investment opportunities exist in abundance in broadband deployment which currently stands at 21%. He said the key nuggets of his 8-point agenda was ubiquitous deployment of broadband infrastructure and services which will trigger massive development of other sectors.