States Need To Invest In ICT Parks To Drive Digital Skills Acquisition- Karl Toriola

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Karl Toriola, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria has called on states in Nigeria to invest in ICT parks and create economic clusters to stimulate sub-national collaboration and accelerate advancement in the ICT sector in the country. He made this call as a panelist on the topic “Collaboration for Sustainable Economic Development” at the 29th Nigerian Economic Summit.

Speaking specifically to possibilities between the telecoms industry and states, Toriola advocated closer partnership to ensure the development of digital skills. “I am waiting for the first state to create an ICT park. And it’s not an ICT park where you put a few data centers; I am talking about a complete environment where you allow limitless fiber to be rolled to cover those kinds of locations, and where you allow leading technologies, with power and other infrastructure”

“Whether you look at it from an international level, or regional or state level, capital will always flow to where the best return is. States should create clusters around agriculture, around mining, which gives an enabling environment and confidence to investors to come and invest in those areas knowing that it’s not just the specific location they are operating in, but border states.”

Highlighting the role of strong institutions and policy consistency in economic development, Toriola commended the Nigerian Communications Commission for providing a strong regulatory framework to support the growth of the telecoms industry in Nigeria.

“The success of MTN and the telecommunications industry in Nigeria can be accounted for by clarity of policy and good institution building in our primary regulator. However, we have also seen that at the sub-national levels, we see some level of inconsistencies of policies, multiple taxation, and inflation have become the major challenges companies are facing”. 

Other panelists including H.E. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, Governor of Kwara State and Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nasarawa State also advocated for stronger collaborations between states to accelerate development in Nigeria.

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