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Envoy wants telecoms firms listed at stock exchange

Bala gave the advice in Bangkok at the opening of the Nigeria Pavilion at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World Conference, taking place in Bangkok, Thailand.

Oscar Onyema, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Lagos, Nigeria February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

The Nigerian Ambassador to Thailand, Mr Kabiru Bala, on Wednesday suggested that telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria should be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Bala gave the advice in Bangkok at the opening of the Nigeria Pavilion at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World Conference, taking place in Bangkok, Thailand.

He argued that the Nigerian telecommunications sector had churned out successful entrepreneurs, who should join forces with government to boost investments in Nigeria.

”MTN, Etisalat, Globacom, Airtel were not in the country as at the year 2000 and it was the relentless efforts of those at the helm of affairs and the Bureau of Public Enterprise that brought about what we have today.

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”But if you look at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, you don’t see these companies that are doing well in Nigeria listed on the stock exchange.

”I don’t know whether it is possible to get these companies to list, and if they do, I think we should be able to get a lot of investments both local and international and people will be part owners of these companies.”

Bala said that President Muhammadu Buhari had given him mandate to do all he could to bring investors to Nigeria in two major areas, agriculture and solid mineral.

”For me, I added one point and that is telecommunications because of the potential of that sector.

”Our country largely depends on oil for foreign exchange and what we see now is that the price of oil is going down hence, we need to look out for the new oil.

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”And I think that new oil is the telecommunications sector because we have a lot of opportunities in this sector in Nigeria.”

The envoy also said that news on Nigerians in Thailand were not good, noting however, that the opening of the Nigeria Pavilion at the ITU event was a way to showcase the good sides of Nigeria.

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Nasiru El-Rufai, said the opportunities in the ICT industry were limitless but that prospective investors might not see the opportunities just through data.

El-Rufai said that telecommunications services, especially mobile telephony had become ubiquitous, as almost everyone in Nigeria make use of telecommunications.

Broadband is the next big thing after electricity in Nigeria and investors have to take advantage of this,” he said.

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The Secretary-General of the ITU, Mr Houlin Zhao, said that African governments had to promote investments in ICTs for the growth of their economies.

Zhao said that Africa had to work harder to promote its images through ICT as it could boost every aspect of the economy.

”I invite our Africa leaders to promote ICT for the development of the economy. Africa has to support the Smart Africa Project,” he said.

A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent at the conference reports that the theme of the event is: “Collaborating in the Digital Economy’’.

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