By Juliet Umeh
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has commended the appointment of a Nigerian to lead MTN Nigeria, one of Nigerian’s leading telecommunications service provider.
Pantami made the commendation during a courtesy visit by the top management of MTN including the telco’s Chairman, Ernest Ndukwe, CEO-designate Karl Toriola, and Chief Corporate Services Officer, Tobechukwu Okigbo to officially introduce the CEO-designate to the Minister recently.
The MTN management’s visit was also to demonstrate the company’s commitment to the MTN Nigerianization Agenda – an initiative of the MTN Group, which is geared at increasing local participation in the company’s top management as well as promote local content.
The Telco said it currently employs over 19,000 Nigerians and contributes at least 4.5 percent to the country’s GDP, according to its 2018 financial reports.
Pantami also praised MTN Nigeria for its corporate social investment activities through the MTN Foundation, which has transformed several lives and communities. MTN Foundation has invested over 22 billion Naira in several initiatives across the country in 16 years.
The Minister reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government towards providing an enabling environment for the telecommunications sector to thrive, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the satisfaction of Nigerians.
He said: “The priority of this government is the security and welfare of its citizens and as much as we are committed to making our economy business-friendly for investors, we will always put the satisfaction of our citizens as priority”.
According to Ndukwe, plans are underway to give Nigerians more access to the MTN opportunity.
He said: “In spite of the current limitations, we are working with stakeholders to increase local ownership of MTN Nigeria and at the same time increase equity in Nigeria’s capital markets,” he added.
Also, Toriola, a graduate of Electronic and Electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University who has spent 14 years at MTN and was until recently Vice President for West and Central Africa, praised the Minister for his leadership and innovation in the telecommunications sector which has seen to the development of the National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 and the Digital Economy agenda. He restated MTN’s commitment towards complying with the policies introduced by the government and maintaining continuous partnership with relevant stakeholders for the advancement of the digital economy.
“We will key into any government policies and initiatives and are willing and open to any collaborations and partnerships that will further advance the digital economy cause,” Toriola said.