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PRESIDENT TINUBU DIRECTS FMOCIDE, FIRS AND FMOE TO SET-UP  FRAMEWORKS TO FACILITATE INVESTMENT EXPANSION IN ICT     

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PRESIDENT TINUBU DIRECTS FMOCIDE, FIRS AND FMOE TO SET-UP  FRAMEWORKS TO FACILITATE INVESTMENT EXPANSION IN ICT                                                                       14-03-24

By Sadiq Aminu                                                       President Bola Tinubu has directed the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and the Federal Ministry of Environment to align regulations and tax frameworks to facilitate investment expansion in telecommunications and broadband infrastructure nationwide.

The President, who issued the directive at a meeting with a delegation from American Tower Corporation, ATC, annex in Nigeria at the State House in Abuja, expressed dissatisfaction with the bureaucratic pace in permit issuance processing for companies operating in the digital infrastructure sector.

He commended ATC Nigeria for its significant contributions and investments in the country’s ICT sector, highlighting the importance of innovative solutions to bridge the digital divide.

The President lauded the ongoing efforts of the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy to promote digital connectivity across the nation, particularly the 3 Million Technical Talent, 3MTT, programme that functions to upskill three million Nigerian youths in digital literacy and innovation through innovation incubators nationwide.

He outlined ongoing initiatives to establish broadband connectivity in the 774 local government secretariats within six months, leveraging existing infrastructure, such as NIGCOMSAT and Galaxy Backbone’s fibre optic network.

”In the area of ease of doing business, no nation can make progress without paying attention to the opportunities that are right in front of them. We have a vibrant youth population that has successfully innovated without much government support. What now happens in this era when we are providing massive support to their digital economic activities? They will do very well. You are investing in the right place at the right time.

”Considering our population and land mass, we need your investments to ensure that we are ready for a higher level of digital penetration in the telecommunications sector and the specific type of digital education that is needed in the competitive, knowledge-based global economy of the 21st century,” the President said.

Addressing concerns raised by the delegation regarding the ease of doing business in Nigeria, President Tinubu assured them of his administration’s commitment to implementing reforms that would eliminate bureaucratic constraints.

In response to a request from the delegation for a reduction in withholding tax for telecommunications companies to stimulate investments in telecommunications and broadband infrastructure, the President said the FIRS would review the matter and provide a solution that would be in the best interest of both the investors and the Nigerian people.

”Every citizen, whether at the corporate or individual level, fights tax. Let us work with the FIRS and see how we can slice the cake. If the country has a good path of growth, it is a greater opportunity for you to invest,” the President stated.

The Chief Executive Officer of ATC Africa, Mr. Marek Busfy had expressed ATC Nigeria’s commitment to expanding its investments in the country, which have already surpassed $2.19 billion since its commencement of Nigerian operations in 2015.

Busfy also emphasised ATC’s commitment to delivering value to subscribers while reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with its operations.

He reiterated the company’s readiness to invest further in Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure to meet the market’s growing demand for data, while lauding the clarity of strategy demonstrated by the administration, particularly praising the roadmap and efforts of the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani.

”Mr. President, what has struck me in Nigeria is the clarity of strategy by your administration, particularly in the ICT sector, and the administration’s 3MTT programme. In the last year, we have invested over $200 million in growing our infrastructure in Nigeria, and we are ready to do significantly more.

”We have employed several hundred people in Nigeria and 25,000 more indirectly. We have paid about $400 million in taxes, both direct and indirect. As an American company, we are often asked about our experience in Africa and in Nigeria, and we want to stress that we are very ethical in our approach to business,” Mr. Busfy said.

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