ATCON backs call for telecoms industry infrastructure bank
Mr. Ogungboye Muyiwa, managing director and chief executive officer, eStream Networks has called for the establishment of a Telecommunication Infrastructural (Development) Bank to offer players special facilities to deepen service expansions.
Mr. Muyiwa is not alone, as Mr. Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), has thrown weight behind the call, saying that the industry has attained special status following the increasing relevance of ICT in everyday lives.
Speaking to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek in Lagos, Mr. Muyiwa said that if approved, the Infrastructural development bank should be able to cater for the loan facilities for the industry’s which are not realizable under the present commercial banks’ interest rates.
“Part of my advocacy is what I call Telecoms Infrastructural Bank (TIB), where locals can access loans at single digit; not expensive digits. There will be certain criteria to access the fund. We will be glad to meet the terms and conditions, but a situation where a commercial bank is charging 30% and foreign companies are coming with funds at 2-3% from their countries of origin, of course they will gain the whole market.
“It is very tasking to compete with these people and Government is making it more difficult by not listening to us. They cite the market being deregulated as excuse, but forgetting that in every economy you must protect ‘your-own’”, he told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek.
Nodding in agreement, Teniola, ATCON president, said, “The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports, the ICT industry contributes 9% to the nation’s GDP. It’s on the lips of everyone that our lives now depend on ICT. It is now very rare for one to leave the house without your phones.
“The fact that ICT is such a critical part of the economy you would thought it needs a bank to integrate and sustain it. There have been calls in the past for an ICT Bank to be created. We must understand that the period we are is infrastructure development based which is capital intensive by its nature and needs longer tenure. Unfortunately, the facilities given by the commercial banks in Nigeria are short term. Anything from 0-3years is not enough for the industry.