The potential of Broadband as an enabler for creating employment increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was again brought to the fore by MainOne’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Funke Opeke at the just concluded Commonwealth Broadband Forum in Abuja. The Forum was an initiative of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization and Nigerian Communications Commission in Abuja, Nigeria. The two-day conference, themed, Broadband for All: From Access to Inclusion, brought together thought leaders in telecommunications across Commonwealth countries to discuss Broadband Access issues.
Speaking during the session, Ms. Opeke, who was represented by Mr. Temitope Osunrinde, examined the role of a national broadband policy in driving the nation’s GDP. Mr. Osunrinde mentioned that post rebasing of national GDP, the contribution of the ICT industry in Nigeria had risen from 5.6% to 8.69%. He also referenced the contributions of ICT to the growth of the Services Industry, which showed a post rebased GDP percentage growth from 29.04% to a whopping 51.59%
Osunrinde noted that the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology and the Nigerian Communications Commission had made significant achievements with the National Broadband agenda specifically with licensing of Infrastructure and Spectrum Companies, the Nigerian Research and Education Network and the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF). He stressed the need for sustaining the policy initiatives introduced to promote open access and manage spectrum more effectively to continue to drive economic growth.
In his words “Nigeria needs to move up the value chain beyond dependence on natural resources, and into the labor-intensive service economies and implementation of the Nation’s Broadband policy will enable this”.
In a separate panel session, MainOne’s Regulatory Manager, Oluwakemi Adeyanju joined regulatory officials from South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria to discuss the role of regulation in achieving innovation in Infrastructure, Services and Applications across Commonwealth countries. She highlighted the need for proactive regulation in meeting current and future needs of the ICT industry, specifically mentioning new service areas of e-Commerce and Cloud Services.