Mr Micheal Ikpoki, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria wants government to start nurturing enterprising young stars in Ikeja Computer Village, the largest ICT market cluster in West Africa in order to stimulate growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
Mr Ikpoki reckons that Ikeja Computer Village is full of creative software developers and various services capable of contributing over 25 percent to the country’s GDP by 2025, if properly harnessed.
Mr Ikpoki, represented by Oyeronke Oyetunde, General Manager, Regulatory Affairs at MTN Nigeria, who also doubles as President of Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) says that, “Computer Village needs to be nurtured and encouraged not just here in Lagos state but spread it around the country.’’
Ikeja Computer Village in Lagos, Nigeria
According to her, “there is more we can do at Computer Village. It could be the beginning of our ICT park. We need to start thinking in that direction”, in a message to the technology forum organized by ICT Watch Network and Financial Technology magazine.
‘’At MTN we meet a lot of enterprising young stars who develop a lot of software, I know that the previous minister (Dr Omobola Johnson) has worked on this area, I think it is something for us to develop’’
‘’I think we should emulate what the Indians have done in their software tech hub’’, she says adding that “for us at MTN we would continue to be seen as catalyst of access to the internet and ICT services in Nigeria.’
The well attended event which was declared open by Lagos state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who pointed out that the telecoms sector within a period of less than 15 years has grown from 400,000 telephone subscribers to over 150 million active subscribers.
According to Ambode, ‘’This remarkable success story has continued to be a reference point by advocates of deregulation policy, suggesting the application of same policy template in other critical sectors to ensure efficient, reliable, and prompt service delivery’’.
Ambode who was represented by Mrs Gbemi Kayode Bolarinwa Head of Training Department, Ministry of Science and Technology Lagos State said ‘’There is no doubt that the industry’s potentials have not been optimally utilized. The telecom sector’s contribution to the GDP which ranged from 7.4% – 8.9% between 2010 and 1st quarter of 2015 is certainly not a true reflection of the capacity of the industry’’.
‘’ I have no doubt that this Performance, though impressive, can be significantly improved if we are able to address the challenges that have impeded the realization of the industry’s full potentials’’.
According to him ‘’The essence of this forum, I believe, is to identify these challenges and make appropriate recommendations that will make possible the desired contribution of 25% by the telecoms industry to the GDP by 2025’’.
‘’Apart from regulatory issues, some of these challenges revolve around inadequate infrastructure especially power supply, and incentives that would encourage investment in critical areas including broadband infrastructure among others”.
He however pledged the commitment of his administration to leave no stone unturn in taking necessary steps in implementing policies to foster the growth of both ICT sector and other key sectors in the state.
‘’The present administration is well aware of these challenges and committed to addressing them. The focus of our government in Lagos State is to implement policies and put in place incentives that will make our State a choice destination for both local and foreign investments in critical sectors of the economy.
”The telecoms sector will benefit tremendously from these efforts in terms of enhanced capacity to provide more reliable and efficient service including improved internet connectivity”, he adds.