Gitex has broadened my approach to ICT services
Mr. JOHN AKINRATA is the Chief Executive Officer of Antennapro Technology Limited, an Abuja based Information Communication and Technology / InfoTech Company. In this interview with IT Edge News MARTIN EKPEKE during GITEX Technology week in Dubai, UAE, he shares his GITEX’s experiences and what he thinks the Nigerian government should do to get internet to every Nigerian.
Can you tell us about Antennapro Technology Limited?
Antennapro Technology Limited is a full ICT company duly registered with CAC and other relevant bodies in Nigeria. The primary aim of the company is to provide ICT support services for Nigerians and build infrastructures so that Nigerians can have access to good internet services, and other ICT support services to enable them effectively carry out their businesses at as swift as possible.Antennapro Technology Limited’s strenght lies in the intellectual capital of our people and as a team of professionals, we are commited to fashion long term relationship with our clients by providing them with the support and expertise to maintain, grow and derive the maximum benefit from their ICT infastructure which supports the every form of solution we provide to our clients, also to provide creative solutions with absolute commitment to quality of services. Also we have deep working relationship with the most efficient and technologically sound enterprises to strengthen our core network and help us achieve excellence in all that we do.
You have come to GITEX for the past few days, how can you describe the experience?
My coming to Gitex is extremely beautiful. I have gotten so much exposure, contacts and the things that I saw on ground relating to technology have expanded my broad understanding. I have seen new solutions; I have seen improvement in the apps industry, the software industry and telecom. I think going back to Nigeria; I am going to do more things in Nigeria.
Despite the landing of some submarine cables in Lagos, the internet is still not good enough. How are you breaking even despite these challenges bearing in mind your operation is mostly in Abuja?
Well! The internet we provide in Abuja, like we always say everybody has its own target clients. We actually have our own target clients, and we know what our clients are interested in. Based on that fact, we have been able to provide suitable tailored services for our target clients. Though, the market is quite competitive, a lot of Nigerians now want cheap and fast internet services, but the truth of the matter is that internet in Nigeria is not cheap yet. The government has not really put infrastructures on the ground to make internet cheap. Though we have the speed on the submarine cables, despite these feats, the availability of broadband is still low, with less than 10 per cent utilization of the capacity on our Nigeria submarine cable. This is because there is no infrastructure on ground to carry the bandwidth to the lastmiles so definitely all the providers are struggling with no infrastructure which makes the internet expensive for Nigerians.
The Internet is a solution that can address so many things; what policies will you want the government to put in place so that everybody can have internet?
I believe that internet and other ICT solutions are necessity in our modern day world. Government should see Internet and ICT as a life line that fast track development hence they should ensure that it is accessible to all sectors whether education, healthcare and water. Nigeria should have been covered with full internet infrastructures so that any recognized private body that wants to become a service provider can ride on this to offer internet at a cheaper rate. The little progress made in the industry today can be credited to private bodies. In other countries that I have been to, I discovered that government regulates the prices of some things there. Let government put the infrastructures on ground, let relevant bodies that are working with government in terms of ICT and telecom put the infrastructures in place. That way, I think the internet services or ICT solution in Nigeria will be more efficient and cheap to the end-users.
As a young entrepreneur in the Nigerian environment, what frustrates your efforts?
One of the things that frustrate my efforts is the lack of infrastructures that I have mentioned. Secondly, taxation especially for us in this industry; we pay double taxes. Thirdly, people in Nigeria are not showing keen interest in some Nigerian products, because the enabling environment for them to get these products is not clear. These are the things that have given me set back in the industry.
What is your message from Gitex to others back home?
With what I have seen so far my message to Nigerians and my generation is that, knowledge is not what you can get and keep quiet on, knowledge is what you get and run with. So going back to Nigeria, I am going to talk to four major groups of entrepreneurs. The ICT guys in the area of applications software and hardware. By now, we are supposed to have entrepreneurs in Nigeria developing our own kind of phones that will be proudly made in Nigeria from the board to the screen to the applications that are running on it. The government of Nigeria should also help us to promote apps development, customize all our operations in Nigeria into one bundle under a particular app whereby if I want to pay some bill, I don’t need to be running around and all of these can best be achieved when we have good and fast internet solution for our young entrepreneurs. I am going to Nigeria and share with more entrepreneurs and breathe into them what I have seen in Gitex so that by next Gitex, we will be coming to show the world what Nigerians can do and have done. We want to take over the world in term of apps and not just cloning because what I have seen so far among the ICT companies in Nigeria is cloning. We should sit down and develop a well designed proudly made in Nigeria software. Most of the people developing and designing these things all over the world are Nigerians.