Minister seeks ICT investment from Finland

From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja

The minister of communications, Adebayo Shittu, has described Nigeria as an investment haven for prospective investors, at it was a peaceful and friendly country with a strong economy and a large market for any type of business to thrive.

He disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a business meeting with Finland’s minister of transportation and communication, Mrs. Anne Berner, adding that he would support anything that would add value to Nigeria.

Shittu called for collaboration and partnership that would translate to an enduring commission, if Finland could bring its wealth of experience in the telecom sector to Nigeria. He added that the cost of production in Nigeria was cheap, with the tendency of Nigerians giving preference to locally-produced goods and services.

The minister said ICT contributed more than 10 per cent of the national GDP in 2016, predicting that, with the rate ICT was gaining in Nigeria, it could contribute about 15 per cent to GDP in the next five years.

“Nigeria has a thick population that translates to a very huge market and we are leaders in West Africa and Africa as a whole.

“However, in technology, we are relying on countries, which sees us as partners.

“There is limitless opportunity in the ICT sector, e-commerce, e-education, e-health and other areas; ICT is like fresh air, every living being must rely on it, and without it life is unproductive,” he said.

In furtherance to these limitless opportunities in ICT, is the proposed ICT University, about which the minister appealed for exchange of ideas and manpower, stating that Finland has established ICT institutions.

Berner said the aim of her visit was to discuss areas of synergy in ICT between Finland and Nigeria.

She averred that Finland was ready to partner with Nigeria to build cyber-security, create new ICT services, and invest in infrastructure that would bring changes.

The Finnish minister added that the partnership would bring the two countries together in terms of trade and investments, which would create employment as well as boost the economy of the country, especially in the areas of optic fibre, 5-G initiative and ship building.

Berner also disclosed that Finland was partnering with NITDA and Galaxy Backbone, and appealed for a favourable business climate with reduced cost of production.

She wanted to see increased business activities between Nigerian companies and Finnish companies, as many of them companies were working with telecom operators in Nigeria.

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