By Providence Obuh & Busayo Samuel
National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA) has recommended the deployment and implementation of “dual purpose communication satellite” as a drivers of mass economy to diversify economy. Dual purpose communication satellite is a strategy for improving mass economy through commercialisation with regards to national security.
To enable sustained implementation and return on investment, Director General, NASRDA, Prof. Seidu Mohammed, further recommended the adoption of Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a source of funding for the communication satellite, saying, “A complete nationwide fiber optic coverage is very costly, not feasible and some are being vandalised.
Introduction of Communication satellite services is the only way to have total coverage within Nigeria and beyond. Satellite systems also support disaster management, precision agriculture, tele-medicine, tele-education, e-commerce and tele-conferencing. The satellite industry is a channel for job creation and spin-off technology development.” he said.
Mohammed who said these at the Credit Professionals Luncheon in Lagos, said PPP is identified as the way forward because it would enable adequate funding and efficient management of the programme and also make it commercially viable with good return on investment. He added, “By 2020 $200 billion will be available for African countries to tap into and for Nigeria to tap into it, we must be able to develop our broadband satellite, a dual purpose communication satellite.”
Mohammed argued that the communication satellites remain an efficient backbone of ICT, providing wider coverage to remote areas, supporting broadband and internet-based services which are drivers of socio-economic growth. To buttress his point, he said Telephony and wide-range communication services are also supported by communication satellite and that satellite communication systems enable surveillance, defence and security and secured military communication.
According to him, “Lack of sustained government support and institutional collaboration, insufficient public awareness and reach-out, limited knowledge and appreciation of how much revenue can be generated from communication satellite, lack of enabling environment for private sector participation, inadequate participation of government in trans-African space programme, (ARMS, RASCOM, African GNSS, ATU & ITU ), lack of the required investment for orbital slots acquisition, as well as lack of private sector participation, among others, have continued to be a major setback to the growth of satellite communication in the country,” he said.
Earlier, Registrar, Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria (ICA), Professor Chris Onalo, said that the emergence of strong communication sector in Nigeria has led to massive jobs and wealth creation, pointing out that with adequate investment in the satellite industry, the sector would provide jobs, enhance internet and telephone services with a positive multiplier effect on the economy.
Onalo added that the sector has contributed a great deal to the emancipation of the country, calling on investors in public and private sectors to support communication satellite with required funding so as to be a major source of revenue generation for the economy.