By Onome Amuge
Africa and Nigeria communication giants, MTN Nigeria Communications, is targeting rural connectivity expansion in its N600 billion capital expenditure vote it plans to execute over the next three years across its network in Nigeria.
The vote comes on the heels of its celebration of 20 years of operating in the country having taken a gamble on Nigeria and obtained its licence before rolling out its operations in 2001 following Nigeria’s massive privatisation of its telecommunication sector by the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.
Ernest Ndukwe, chairman of MTN Nigeria Communications, confirmed that the expenditure outlay would largely be deployed to specifically expand its rural connectivity to reach underserved areas in the country, hence providing an opportunity for development of the economy.
He noted that the country’s leading telecommunications service plans to connect approximately 1000 rural communities to its network in 2021 with an additional 2000 communities in 2022.
“We are optimistic about what the future holds for Nigeria’s digital economy and we look forward to building it together with all stakeholders,” he pledged.
Karl Toriola, chief executive officer of the company, reiterated MTN’s planned participation in the restoration and rehabilitation of the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway through the Federal Government’s Road Infrastructure Tax Credit ((RITC) Scheme. He described the development as a response to government’s drive towards public-private partnership in the rehabilitation of critical road infrastructure in Nigeria, Toriola said
According to Toriola, MTN Nigeria is a Nigerian entity and would continue to engage in activities that would promote the development of the Nigerian economy, through partnerships and long-term value business,” he added.
The MTN Nigeria CEO further noted that the firm has initiated plans for the construction of a purpose-built, state-of-the-art head office in Lagos, adding that it will be selling down 14 percent of MTN shares to over two million Nigerian retail investors.
As part of the 20th anniversary celebration, MTN gave out 20 new Honda HRVS as car gifts to selected customers across the country who purchased SIM cards from inception in 2001.
Ugonwa Nwoye, chief customer relations officer at MTN Nigeria, said the company, which launched its services on August 8,2001, decided to honour its customers for their significant roles in the 20 years journey of the company.
He explained that the customer is key to the company’s business,noting that the company also invests in its network to ensure they receive quality service
“We support our customers to ensure that they receive quality service that will keep them active on the network during communication.
Nwoye added that MTN has empowered millions people directly and indirectly, which cut across MTN staff, site engineers, airtime vendors, service providers among others.
On his part, Mohammed Yusuf, chief technical officer, said the telecommunications firm would continue to work with state governments and state government agencies to address the issue of Right of Way (RoW) charges, to enable MTN to establish more of its services, including broadband and 5G services.