Investors Pump $68b Into Nigeria’s Telecoms Industry
By Dipo Olowookere
A total of $68 billion has been injected into the Nigerian economy from the telecommunications sector despite economic downturn in the country.
From this amount, about $35 billion came from foreign direct investments (FDI).
According to the immediate past Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Mr Hamadoun Toure, who was the keynote speaker at the Nigerian Telecoms Investment Forum at the just concluded ITU Telecom World 2016, Bangkok, Thailand, these figures recorded so far in Nigeria point to the fact that “the country is certainly a preferred destination for telecommunications investors in Africa”.
Mr Toure told the audience including Communications Minister, Mr Adebayo Shittu, Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar G. Danbatta, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Chief Executives of agencies under the Ministry of Communications and major telecommunications companies from Nigeria, Thailand, Senators and Members of the National Assembly among others that Nigeria is the place to invest because the population is large, there is political stability and a very robust telecommunications regulatory regime.
He explained that within 15 years when Nigeria opened its telecoms sector to the global community, investments have grown in leaps and from a paltry 400,000 connected lines in 2001, the country now has over 150m connected lines and a teledensity of 107 percent.
“The next growth for voice communication is in Quality of Service
“The new oil in Nigeria is ICT and data transmission is the way to go,” he said.
Mr Toure was particularly excited that while he served as Secretary General of ITU, Nigeria occupied the number one position as the fastest growing telecoms sector for five consecutive years.
He told current and potential investors that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has done a very good job with the way it has managed regulatory activities transparently and by the fact that law makers from Nigeria were also part of the audience he spoke to at the venue, underscored the importance Nigeria attaches to this sector.
He said he is more Nigerian than his native Mali because Nigeria has always led the way, adding “Nigeria should share its experience with other African countries”.
While assuring existing and potential investors in Nigeria of Government support and protection at all times, Mr Shittu, who spoke on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, said since Nigeria was now navigating from resource based to knowledge based economy, “we want to encourage you (the investors) to renew your confidence in our country”. “Feel free to come to Nigeria and if visa is an issue let us know. Our doors are open and the ease of doing business in Nigeria is being improved upon”
Governor El-Rufai, who served as panellist at the forum alongside Mr Danbatta, EVC of NCC, Ms Funke Opeke of MainOne Cable, Mr Ibrahim Dikko of Etisalat said technology as an enabler has helped Kaduna State to reduce land fraud and tax payments are now done online thus reducing incidents of leakages.
Mr El-Rufai, a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory told the audience that Kaduna will soon launch Smart Kaduna initiative and has contacted a major Smart phone manufacturer to introduce pocket-friendly smart phones to Kaduna to boost the smart Kaduna Initiative.
NCC boss, Mr Danbatta told the audience that the regulator has begun digital transformation through the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2013 – 2018).
The NCC boss explained that since broadband is the catalyst for social and economic transformation, saying “we have come to let the global community know that investments are welcome in this area.”
He said the target is 30 percent by 2018 according to the NBP 2013 – 2018.
Although Nigeria has hit 21 percent so far, investments will be needed for 3G, 4G and to take services to underserved and unserved regions of Nigeria, “and we need to deploy infrastructure to those areas that have no services, we understand that and the strategy to address them hence we came out with the 8-point agenda to address this.”
Mr Danbatta told the audience that Nigeria has a very flexible regulatory environment and “we are fare, firm and forthright in our activities.”
CEO of MainOne Cable Company, Ms Funke Opeke, said MainOne Cable has keyed into the National Broadband Plan and hence investments in the Infrastructure Company (Infraco) licence for Lagos to take broadband services to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Corporate organisations through metropolitan fibre optic links.
“We are building over 1,000km of fibre optic in Lagos and this is part of the building block to encourage broadband penetration,” Mr Dikko, whose company, Etisalat, has over 20 million subscriber base said, adding that Etisalat was encouraged to invest in Nigeria because “laws are very clear, policy is good because the NCC hears us out all the time.”
In his contribution, Vice President, New Consumers at MasterCard, Mr Anand Menon praised Nigeria’s ICT sector for creating an enabling environment for business to grow.
“We at MasterCard believe in Nigeria,” Mr Menon submitted.
Osun to Access $618m Creative, Digital Fund
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Osun state government has moved to launch a support desk for tech innovators and entrepreneurs in the state to access the recently launched $618 million fund by the federal government and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Governor Ademola Adeleke, who directed the establishment of the fund, expressed the readiness of his government to tap into the opportunities in furtherance of the digital economy agenda of his administration.
The governor, whose position was recently affirmed by the Appeal Court, said his administration has created enabling environment for the Osun state tech ecosystem, citing the recent domestication of Nigeria’s Startup Act, the flag off of the state’s broadband fibre optic project, and the establishment of a Digital Advisory Board.
He said, “I am delighted to appreciate the African Development Bank, which has set up a $618 million fund to support the technology and creative sector in Nigeria. This is a great initiative spearheaded by Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, the Nigerian President of the African Development Bank, in partnership with our Federal Government, I would like to commend him for his visionary leadership and dedication to the development of our country.”
He added, “I am confident that this fund will go a long way in supporting innovation, job creation, and economic growth in our country.
“As the Governor of Osun State, I am pleased to announce that the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology has been instructed to set up a desk to assist all technology and creative sector entrepreneurs in Osun State in applying and accessing this fund. The desk will provide comprehensive guidance and support to all interested applicants, ensuring that the application process is seamless and efficient.
“We are also exploring partnerships with the African Development Bank to support programs in the technology and creative sector in our state. We will be reaching out to the bank soon to discuss how we can collaborate and leverage this fund and other opportunities to create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in Osun State.
“I commend the African Development Bank for domiciling the fund in the Bank of Industry to prevent it from being politicized. This is a great step towards ensuring that the fund is used for its intended purpose and will benefit the technology and creative sector in Nigeria.
“I encourage all technology and creative sector entrepreneurs in Osun State to engage directly with the Ministry and register as a stakeholder operating within the state. This is a significant opportunity for our entrepreneurs to grow their businesses while also contributing to the growth and development of our state”, he stated.
He called on residents to harness the potential of the technology and creative sector and create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in Osun.
NIMASA, NCC Collaborate to Create Submarine Cable Regulation in Nigeria
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are collaborating to develop a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for Submarine Cables and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.
Submarine and cable operators in Nigeria have been notified of the soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Speaking at a pre-audit meeting of both organs of government in Lagos on submarine cable regulation, the Director General of NIMASA, Mr Bashir Jamoh, noted that the agency was committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.
He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.
According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters. Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.”
“NIMASA is developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of UNCLOS; which we have ratified, and NIMASA will be the agency responsible for its implementation.
“We do not just implement laws; we consult. Where the responsibility of an Agency stops, that is where the responsibilities of another agency start. Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country, and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this,” he said.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Mr Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.
Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Mr Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.
NIMASA and the NCC also agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.
How Data Protection Policy In Nigeria Is Evolving To Secure Customers
By Otori Emmanuel
Technology advancement has increased the value of data, and many businesses are willing to invest in it. These data are obtained from customers directly or indirectly. When data is directly gathered, customers are often asked for their consent, and they typically provide it. In contrast, information that is gained inadvertently may be gathered through tracking or linkages to sources that already have the consumers’ data. Businesses use this strategy to improve their products and for research purposes.
To prevent unauthorized access, disclosure, or misuse of user’s personal information, data privacy and data protection policies are in effect. The right of people to decide how their personal information is gathered, utilized, and shared is referred to as data privacy. It involves making sure that people are informed about the information being collected on them, how it is being used, and with whom it is shared. Data protection policies, on the other hand, are protocols set up to safeguard private data against exploitation or unauthorized access. They require putting technical and organizational mechanisms in place to safeguard the privacy, usability, and authenticity of user data and also to prevent its loss, destruction, or alteration.
Data protection policies usually include instructions for the collection, processing, storage, and disposal of data. They also include safeguards for personal data security, such as encryption, access restrictions, and regular backups. Data privacy and protection regulations are crucial in the contemporary digital age, as personal data is captured, processed, and exchanged more frequently than at any time before.
User Data Protection in Nigeria
The Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was decreed in 2019 with the aim to ensure that individuals have control over their personal data and that it is processed fairly and legally. The NDPR mandates that businesses processing personal data get the individual’s consent before processing their information. Additionally, they must take the necessary security precautions to safeguard personal data against theft, loss, and unauthorized access.
Nigeria has established the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in addition to the NDPR to handle issues with data privacy and cybersecurity. The NITDA is in charge of enforcing the NDPR and ensuring that businesses abide by the data protection laws. Moreover, the NITDA has created frameworks and recommendations to offer firms advice on how to put in place reliable cybersecurity and data protection buffers. These rules address subjects like privacy notices, effect analyses of data protection, and breach reporting.
In accordance with the NDPR, businesses must acquire consent from people before collecting their personal data and have strong security measures in place to safeguard it. Businesses must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) as part of the NDPR, who is responsible for ensuring that the law is upheld. Other laws in Nigeria, in addition to the NDPR, that deal with data protection are the Freedom of Information Act of 2011 and the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act of 2015. These laws strengthen the protection of personal information while also outlining the consequences of data protection laws infractions.
With a focus on safeguarding customer personal information and ensuring that businesses are held accountable for any violations by these laws, Nigeria’s data protection regulations are continuously improving.
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