Boko Haram terrorists blamed for telecoms’ slack performance in 3rd quarter

A review of the Nigerian communications industry for the third quarter of 2012 presented by Nigeria’s minister for communications technology Omobola Johnson showed the sector suffered major setbacks, attributed to the impact of Boko Haram terrorists.

Reports last month revealed that the sect was suspected to have destroyed some 25 base stations belonging to the country’s top telecoms in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria. Experts said the damage ran into millions of dollars as the cost of a single tower can cost up to US$1 million (£627,000).

This suggests that the focus of the sector in the fourth quarter will be on ensuring the security of the various facilities and installations across the nation, especially in the crisis prone regions of northern Nigeria.

Boko Haram, an Islamic sect that believes politics in northern Nigeria is controlled by a group of corrupt, false Muslims. According to the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the sect has waged a war against these Muslims and the Federal Republic of Nigeria to create a “pure” Islamic state ruled by Islamic sharia law.

The minister did say, however, that Nigeria has recorded about 30 percent growth in its communication sector within the last 24 months, while the sector is currently contributing about 6 percent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP), making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the nation’s economy.

Also in Q3, the Nigerian government announced a US$15 million fund to finance the research, development and commercialisation of software ideas with global appeal submitted by young Nigerian software developers.

According to Omobola, the third quarter kicked off with the stern position of regulatory bodies on communications companies to improve on their quality of service.

Four companies, including MTN, Airtel, Glo and Etisalat, were compelled to pay quality of services fine worth more than a billion naira to their customers.

Omobola revealed the government’s ongoing design of a local content policy for the communications technology sector slated to take effect from January 2013.

According to the policy, SIM cards, base station transceiver station (BTS), debit, credit and other payment cards will be locally produced. This, Omobola said, is aimed at “growing the economy and reducing [the country’s] foreign dependence.”

The federal ministry for communication technology is also partnering with the departments of finance, and trade and investment to reach an agreement on import tax waivers that would serve as incentive for local communications technologies manufacturers.

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