THE federal government has said that the Nigerian telecommunications industry attracted N1.08 trillion in foreign direct investment between 2011 and 2013. Omobola Johnson, minister of communications technology, who said this at the 2014 ministerial platform held by the ministry in Abuja, said the Information and Communication Technology, ICT, sector contributed $50 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
The minister said the communications satellite put in the orbit by the government in alliance with the China Great Wall Industry Corporation in 2011 was already on the path of privatisation. Johnson said the ministry had signed a Memoranda of Understanding, MoU, with five states for the Smart States Initiative. The states are Lagos, Cross River, Bayelsa, Ondo and the Federal Capital Territory.
By the agreements, the states have undertaken to significantly reduce charges on telecommunications operators, while the operators undertake to roll out more infrastructures to ensure efficiency and better quality of services. Other states that have indicated interest in the initiative, according to the minister, are Anambra, Delta, Gombe and Osun states.
“We are on a clear path to creating an inclusive digital economy that supports the positioning of Nigeria as a top ranked economy globally, not only in terms of GDP but in terms of innovation, productivity, efficiency, transparency and good governance. By early 2011, more than 30,000 kilometres of long haul intercity fibre was laid. As of December 2013, the telecoms had deployed a combined total of 168,124km of fibre optic cabling. In 2014, the telecoms have deployed an estimated 238,000km of additional fibre optic cabling. Telco Base Transceiver Stations expansion efforts, 2G and 3G site deployments increased from about 22,578 to 28,289 2G sites and from less than 10,000 to 15,048 3G sites between 2013 and 2014,” she said.
For the underserved communities, the minister said the Universal Service Provision Fund had helped the telecoms operators to deploy 170 base stations in 2014. According to Johnson, one cluster of 22 BTS impacted 111 rural communities with an estimated population of 664,500. Another 158 BTS sites are currently at various stages of completion and on full deployment, while estimated additional 1.6 million Nigerians in various rural communities will be provided with basic ICT services.
The minister said although the contribution of postal and courier services to the GDP was low, the industry was growing steadily and would likely grow more with continued rise in electronic commerce. “The postal sector is an amalgam of transport, logistics and distribution, and related entities that are involved in the linking of communities by movement of messages, information, goods and services. Revised GDP figures show that the contribution of the post and courier services sector to the GDP at 0.03 per cent is low. The sector is, however, growing steadily and is likely to experience more rapid growth as e-Commerce expands.”
Importation of Goods into Nigeria Drops
THE National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has said the country recorded a N359.6 billion or 5.4 percent drop in merchandise trade from N6.65 trillion to N6.29 trillion in the third quarter of 2014. The bureau attributed the decrease to a fall in the value of exports and imports in the third quarter relative to the second quarter.
For instance, while exports declined by N202.7 billion or 4.3 percent to N4.47 trillion, the country’s imports also dropped by N157 billion or 7.9 percent to N1.82 trillion.
Yemi Kale, chief executive officer, NBS, stated that regardless of this drop, the country’s balance of trade remained favourable at N2.65 trillion. “The total value of merchandise trade in third quarter 2014 stood at N6.29 trillion from the value of N6.65 trillion recorded in the previous quarter of 2014. This indicates a decrease of N359.6 billion or 5.4 percent. The decrease was a result of both a fall in the value of exports and imports in the third quarter relative to the second quarter,” he said.
— Jan. 5, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT