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ATCON plans big for ComBIT 2009

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in conjunction with ALTEC Africa have concluded plans to hold the 2009 Communication and Business Information and Technology (ComBIT) Africa Exhibition.

The programme which is an annual event is scheduled to hold from November 2nd – 4th at Lagoon Conference Centre, Lagos. It  will feature a half day conference with the theme “BroadBand Access: Exploring & Exploiting Unfolding Opportunities in Africa” and three days exhibition
Announcing this to newsmen in Lagos, the National President of ATCON, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem said the continental ICT event  will attract observers from Deutche Messe, organizers of CEBIT shows in Hannover, Germany, saying it was part of ATCON’s plans towards hosting CEBIT AFRICA in Nigeria with by 2010.

Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, ATCON President
Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, ATCON President

According to  Ekuwem, ATCON and AITEC are determined to develop the event into region’s top showcase for the computing and telecommunications industries. He said the choice of AITEC as a partner by ATCON in this year’s COMBIT was based on AITEC’s solid track record of organising highly successful ICT events across Africa since 1990.
“Working with them will develop a world-class industry event that will do justice to Nigeria’s leadership role in the region’s rapidly developing ICT market.” said Ekuwem.

Through the expo, Dr. Ekuwem said the region’s ICT professionals would make effective decisions by creating a highly competitive market place through the expo,  with leading local and international suppliers to be represented at the event.

ComBIT Africa Expo is a product of strategic re-branding of NICOMM Exhibitions & Conferences organised by ATCON since 1995.
The event targets being the biggest ICT expo in Nigeria and West Africa and is currently attracting ICT trade missions from United Kingdom, United States, Hong Kong, China, India, Israel, Korea, Dubai, Taiwan, Canada, France, Germany, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon and all leading African countries.

The association also used the opportunity of the press conference, to commend President Yar’Adua for his prompt intervention on the recent 2.3 GHZ Spectrum license controversy, an action  he said had spared the country the embarrassment in court to which the issue was heading.
He therefore implored all stakeholders in the rift to put the matter behind them and pursue measures that would move the industry forward in the country.

“ We all own our people the digital dividends of easy and fast access to knowledge to boost national economic productivity.” said  Ekuwem. He  also called on all members of the industry to discontinue attempts at any form of litigation on the matter, and described  it as an ill wind that blows no one any good.

He also commented on the review of Nigerian Communication Act, emphasising the need for the amendment of the Act. He said the  need for the review of the NCC Act  was a fall out of the 2.3 GHZ controversy which would have slowed down the pace of growth in the industry in Nigeria . According to him, it has become necessary for the T’s and I’s in the NCA to be crossed and dotted while gray areas of the Act be avoided before the completion of the current board of NCC, to avoid unnecessary suspicion.

He therefore called on the National Assembly to declare a state of emergency on the much awaited public hearing on the NCA..
On the plan for final sale of NITEL by federal government, Dr. Ekuwem said  the need for a total brake away from the old regime of government intervention in the affaires of NITEL can  not be over emphasized,  but suggested that a time frame work be given to the would-be buyer within which to turn the comatose  fortune of the company around.

He warned the government against yielding to the temptation of creating a private monopoly from the proposed sale of  NITEL, a public monopoly which he said was insensitive, slow to introduce new technologies and dictated prices without commensurate high quality of service, adding that national security must be paramount in the conduct of the would -be buyer of NITEL.

In a similar vein, the ATCON boss also commended the NCC for its efforts at checking the menace of mobile phone handsets theft in Nigeria by social miscreants, through its mobile phone handset anti-theft services initiative, but advised the agency  to make the consumer registration for the service voluntary and not mandatory.

The monthly subscription by  those who are registered for the service according to him should be treated as an insurance.  While warning against the insertion  of an interface company in the exercise between the operator and the consumer, Ekuwem urged that the service should be seen as a value-added service given by the operator to so as not to create room for exploitation of the consumer.


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