Telecoms investments hit $25bn
By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Engr. Eugene Juwah has said that the total investments in the Nigerian telecommunications sector stand at $25 billion.
He also disclosed that the number of subscriber base in the network has equally increased to an all time 113 million active lines.
Juwah announced this at the sent-forth dinner organised, weekend, in honour of the old board of the Commission in Abuja.
He attributed the success of the industry to democratic rule without which, he said the feat achieved by the sector would not have been possible.
“Although, the commercialisation of the sector commenced in 1992, Nigeria still could not boast of 450,000 active lines in year 2000, which was powered by a paltry $500 million investment portfolio until the coming of democracy in 1999, but the then President had to pick men and women of sterner character to turn the fortunes around,” said Juwah.
Engr. Juwah said that the occasion was long overdue as the much celebrated achievements in the sector couldn’t have been possible without the effort put together by the team being honored.
“Presently, investment in the telecoms sector stands at about $25 billion and active lines are well over 113 million and still counting. This couldn’t have been possible without the team which is seated here with us today. Once somebody has done well in this country, we should be able to appreciate that person.
The coming of democracy marked the beginning of a remarkable journey and by the time the former board was leaving in 2010, an industry celebrated globally has been firmly established. Telephone was no longer for the rich, it has become the menu on every table whether in the city or in rural dwellings,” he added.
He also announced that the SIM Card registration project would soon be completed, while the much awaited number portability project will be taking off by the end of March.
He further lamented some of the challenges facing the industry, which include multiple taxation, irregular power supply, vandalisation of infrastructure, multiple regulation and right of way for easy service deployment and expansion and appeal for understanding, describing them as legacy problems.
The NCC boss, who also attributed the growth of the sector to the legacy projects of his predecessors, and also used the occasion to announce plans by the commission to begin fourth generation regulation before the end of the year.