ICT Expert Warns FG against Unemployment, Youth Restiveness in 2018

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Olusola Teniola
President of ATCON, Mr. Olusola Teniola

Emma Okonji

Citing global technology trends around Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and e-Commerce that are largely driven by broadband, information and communications technology (ICT) expert has called on the federal government to expedite action in providing a robust broadband access for all Nigerians in 2018, or risk increased unemployment and youth restiveness.

President of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Olusola Teniola who gave the warning during an interview with THISDAY, said new technology trends like AI, IOT and eCommerce, which ride on broadband, would drive global economies in 2018 and beyond, but expressed his worries that Nigeria still lag behind in broadband access that could have enabled her to key into global development.

According to him, issues that impede broadband penetration since 2012, are still with us in 2017, and unless the issues are addressed in 2018, Nigeria will continue to miss out in global developments that are driven by broadband and Internet access.

In resolving the issues around broadband deployment, Teniola said the federal government must be willing to understand the importance of ICT development, its growth trajectory and trend, and be willing to create the enabling environment that would allow foreign investors to invest in the country’s broadband plan.

He said government could achieve this by removing every obstacle on Right of Way (RoW) approval, that would allow private investors to build a national backbone infrastructure firm the country. He explained that the backbone infrastructure would be able to transmit the huge broadband capacities from the sea shores of the country to the hinterlands, since the federal government lacks the willpower to provide such critical infrastructure.

He expressed the concern that broadband capacities from the five undersea cable operators like MainOne, Glo 1, MTN WACS, Ace, and SAT 3, are currently being under utilised because of the absence of a national backbone infrastructure to transmit the broadband capacities to the hinterlands where demand for broadband internet access is high.

Teniola warned that except these issues are addressed, by creating enough broadband access at affordable rate, Nigeria would likely experience increased youth unemployment and restiveness in 2018.

He equally expressed his concerns over what he described as weak implementation of the country’s National Broadband Plan, which seeks to achieve 30 per cent broadband penetration in 2018, from its current 21 per cent penetration level.

“Achieving 30 per cent broadband penetration in 2018 is even a low target, compared to the many uses of broadband across all sectors of the Nigerian economy. But even at that, the weak implementation strategies robbed Nigeria of achieving the target because 2018 is around the corner,” Teniola said.

“We need a robust broadband penetration to catch up with the global trend on AI, IoT and eCommerce in 2018 and government must live up to this expectation by creating the enabling environment that will speed up broadband penetration,” he added.


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