A two-day sensitisatiom workshop, for the communications Industry, on the implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area, (AfCFTA), initiative, with the theme; ‘Improving Nigeria’s Communication Industry Competitiveness For The AfCFTA Initiative’, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, in collaboration with the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, NOTN, commenced on November 13, 2019 and will end on November 14, 2019, at Four Points By Sheraton, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Delivering his opening speech on the first day of the Workshop, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC/CEO, NCC, who was represented by Mohammed Babajika, Director, Licensing and Authorisation, NCC, noted the importance and relevance of the Nigerian communications industry, to the implementation of the the AfCFTA Agreement, which President Muhammadu Buhari signed on behalf of Nigeria, on July 7, 2019. The main thrust of the AfCFTA Agreement is, to ease trade within and among the countries, on the African continent.
“We want to ensure that, we leverage on the relevant provisions of the AfCFTA Agreement, to the advantage of the Nigeria’s Communication industry, which is the sector expected, to facilitate and drive the digital economic revolution in the country”, Danbatta explained. He, therefore, called for active participation of the delegates, during the plenary and break-out sessions, at the workshop.
Speaking in the same vein, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, noted that, with the AfCFTA Agreement gong on stream, implies that the Nigerian Communications industry, now has to cater for more people that will be needing access to communication.
“At the Nigerian Communications Commission, we recognise that the Continental Free Trade Area arrangement, means that, we now have access, to extend Communications services, to 1.2 billion people, across the African continent. With a larger proportion of this population, made up of young people, whose hunger for data and mobile services, continues to grow, there is no limit to achievement, by innovative operators/investors, in terms of business opportunities”, Senator Durojaiye stressed.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Governor, who was represented by Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, stated in his speech as the Chief Host of the event that, the expected benefits, to be derived from the AfCFTA Agreement, will only remain a mirage, if the key sectors of our economy are not repositioned to be competitive.
“It is a new hope of boosting Intra-African trade, across African countries, with a combined population of the people, however, it is important for us to know that, the anticipated benefits, will only remain a mirage, if we fail to prepare adequately, by repositioning the key sectors of our economy, to be competitive and able to take optimum advantage of the opportunities presented by new markets”, Governor Sanwo-Olu noted.
Isiaka Ibrahim, Honorable Member of the House of Representatives and Member of the House of Representatives Committee on Communications, also, gave a goodwill message, to the plenary session of the event, on behalf of the National Assembly. He urged participants to come forward with areas of the National Communications Act, 2003, which they feel needs amendment, for the National Assembly to make better laws for the Communication sector.
Liman V. Liman, Acting Director-General, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, gave a presentation titled; ‘An Overview of Telecommunications In the AfCFTA – A Synopsis’. In his paper, Liman, gave an overview of the state of telecommunications in Africa, made a case for liberalisation of telecommunications in Africa, as well as, explained the Pan-African Regulatory and Liberalisation Framework under the AfCFTA.
Liman, thereafter, showcased a liberalised telecommunications sector, as a contributor to economic development in Africa and the Challenges presented, by telecommunication liberalisation under the AfCFTA, so that, the sector will brace up for these, make adequate plans to resolving them.
The Workshop was attended by stakeholders in the public and private sectors of the economy, as well as the media.
Featured Image: (L-R) Prof. Millionaire Abowei, NCC Commissioner, Liman V. Liman, Acting Director-General, NOTN, Mohammed Babajika, Director, Licensing and Authorisation, NCC, representing Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC/CEO, NCC, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chairman of the Board, NCC, Hakeem Popoola Fahm, Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Salman Abdulazeez, NCC Commissioner and Clem Baiye, NCC Commissioner, at the sensitisation workshop, for the communications Industry, on the implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area, (AfCFTA), initiative, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, in collaboration with the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, NOTN, from November 13-14, 2019 at Four Points By Sheraton, Victoria Island, Lagos.
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