By Salim Yunusa
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the MTN Group to make available top-of-the-range service to its Nigerian subscribers and at cheaper rates.
The president made the call when he received in audience members of the board of MTN Group, led by its President and Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Mupita, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.
Buhari said: “I congratulate you on your appointment as the Group President of MTN. I wish you all the best.
“Nigeria is your most lucrative market in Africa, Asia and the Middle East as well as the source of a third of the income of the entire MTN Group.
“As such, we urge you to offer top-of-the-range and affordable services to Nigerians.
“As we seek to make broadband widely available and affordable, we urge MTN to continue to support our efforts by expanding high-quality connectivity to Nigerians in un-served and under-served areas.”
The president also called on the group to support the implementation of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.
“I recently unveiled and launched the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.
“I call on MTN to support the implementation of this policy and, train and engage more Nigerians in your company.
“In particular, we will like you to continue to support our efforts by improving the quality of service and enabling a downward price review of the cost of data and other services, in view of your large market in Nigeria.
“We also urge you to step up your corporate social responsibility programmes and support research and development that will enhance your services in Nigeria.”
He assured his visitors that his administration was doing everything possible to make Nigeria investor-friendly by addressing identified challenges.
“We are implementing a number of policies and programmes to ensure that institutions like MTN have a conducive environment for doing business in Nigeria.
“Our massive jump in the Global Ease of Doing Business Ranking is proof that our efforts are yielding results.
“We have identified and addressed the key challenges that affected the growth of the digital economy sector.
“I am happy to note that the right of way charges have now been pegged at a maximum of N145/linear metre.
“I have given directives for the protection of critical national infrastructure and this has addressed the issue of vandalism of such infrastructure.
“Service providers should always appreciate the efforts of government and not undermine it,” he said.
Buhari expressed delight that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector was doing very well despite the global economic downturn.
He noted that the ICT sector was the fastest growing sector in both the fourth quarter of 2020 and the entire year 2020, based on the report by the National Bureau of Statistics.
“The sector’s 14.70 per cent double-digit growth rate played a principal role in supporting our country to exit the recession, triggered by COVID-19 pandemic.
“The growth rate of the sector exceeded four times the next fastest-growing sector of the fourth quarter of 2020, which had a growth rate of 3.42 per cent. This is truly commendable,” the president said