I welcome you to this meeting, the objective of which is to bounce ideas amongst ourselves and with our Regulator.
It is also an opportunity to, once again, congratulate Dr Eugene Juwah on his worthy appointment.
This meeting also presents us with the platform not only to refocus our industry, but to be able to put the necessary reforms in place within specific time frame.
In the 17 years of our Association’s life, and indeed of the Commission, our membership rose and dwindled to 145 and 80 respectively. 65, an awesome 45% actually went under due to the vicissitudes of the business environment. Internet Service Providers top the sub sector lists.
In the same period, telephone lines rose from 400,000 fixed lines to 90 million mobile phones (SIM cards really) and 1 million fixed lines. We hope, in the very near future, to know how many ‘users’ our industry actually serves. It is educated ‘guestimate’ that we need to look towards serving in excess of 100 million people.
We need to inject a dose of reality into what we do and avoid unnecessary complacency and seeing things through rose-tinted lenses – something which poses a real threat to development and to our businesses.
My EVC sir, we congratulate you on your recent pronouncements and moves in which you have laid out a 5-year plan and your improved communication with Nigerians. I heard a local radio announcement on SIM Card registration procedure in Ibadan yesterday and it was in Yoruba language. I said to myself that the Commission has continued to be a listening one. We note, with satisfaction, that not only have you accepted the major components of the issues we have engaged with you since you came into office, infact you have within limits of the speed permissible in a bureaucracy implemented some.
Our industry’s achievements in the last decade have been significant but we must look to the next even with greater hope, optimism and determination to reach and truly empower all Nigerians. The Nigerian environment is known with false starts but we are glad that the telecom industry has recorded many sustained efforts over the years.
And to my members and colleagues I thank you for the manner you have responded to issues which affect your businesses. It has been mature, responsive and encouraging to us to do more.
I hope we have a constructive and productive meeting with our Regulator.