The Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria have urged the Federal Government to remove all impediments to accessing and adopting new technologies.
The ATCON President, Olusola Teniola, made the appeal in an interview in Lagos on the backdrop of the World Telecommunications and Information Society Day.
Teniola said that access to new technologies would enable Nigerians, especially the youth, to improve their lives.
World Telecommunications and Information Society Day is celebrated on May 17 annually.
The 2018 WTISD had the theme: “Enabling the Positive Use of Artificial Intelligence for All’’.
The theme focuses on the potential of Artificial Intelligence to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Teniola said that the Federal Government should make it easy for the youth to have access to technologies such as AI, robotics, machine learning, big data and others to facilitate their development.
He said: “In adopting these technologies which will improve our productivity, government need to remove all impediments to the success of the industry.
“Currently, we are faced with 38 taxes and levies, and recently, there is a cyber-security tax that government wants to impose on any electronic transactions. It is called cyber security levy.
“We strongly resist and denounce this. The tax should not be introduced at this time in the industry’s development, with the country coming out from recession.’’
The ATCON president, however, noted that the country had made some giant strides in telecommunications is spite of many challenges.
He said: “In terms of the political terrain, we have been able to have a stable and democratic government supported by electronic voting and a stable communication network that enabled that to happen.
“For the social and economic benefits, the country’s Gross Domestic Product is one of the largest in Africa and has created more than 300,000 jobs.
“We have an industry that represents nine per cent of the total GDP which boasts of 450 million subscribers, and the services rendered by providers has the potential to still grow to at least 120 million dollars bond of investors by 2025.
“All these will be achieved through broadband penetration that will enable further growth of the industry.’’
He said that the industry had challenges in deepening broadband penetration as defined by the International Telecommunication Union.
The ATCON boss said that broadband penetration in Nigeria was still at 22 per cent.
According to him, inability to move broadband penetration to 39 per cent is because telecom operators are still utilising old investments on their network.
Teniola said that operating all services such as financial services, social media transactions, voice messages, text messages and video streaming had put pressure on old investments.
He said that the industry operators desired government removal of all obstacles to more investments, enlargement of their capacities and general progress of the industry.
He added: “Also, due to our 100 per cent concentration on importation of software and hardware, we need the issue of foreign exchange to be resolved.’’