Foreign investments

FG urged to create basic data infrastructure to attract foreign investment

Emma Okonji

The COO of MDXI, MainOne’s data center business, Mr. Gbenga Adegbiji, has called on the federal government to review its policies and create basic infrastructure for data center operations across the Nigeria, to attract foreign investment in information and communications technology. (TIC).

Adegbiji, who gave the advice during an interview with THISDAY, said: “Investors don’t invest based on what a government tells them, but they invest based on what they see, what has to do with indices and growth figures.They look at the demographic ratio and the growth of the economy, including the security of investments in the country, before they can invest in the country.

“Attracting foreign investment goes beyond what the Nigerian government is currently doing by simply visiting these investors in their country to entice them to invest in Nigeria. They will surely come to invest if they see the need to invest in Nigeria, and a good example is the recent acquisition of MainOne by Equinix as MainOne has over the years positioned its operations at an attractive level for any overseas investor. Investments are made based on the numbers, the predictable return on investment and the risk associated with a particular country.

According to him, for any investor willing to come to Nigeria to invest, there must be basic infrastructure on the ground. Citing the lack of adequate electricity supply, which is a basic infrastructure for the operation of the data center, Adegbiji said that the absence of such basic infrastructure would make it difficult for investors to consider Nigeria as a destination. ‘investment.

“Adequate and stable electricity supply is essential for the operation of data centers, as data centers consume a lot of electricity and any data center operator will examine the stability of a country’s electricity supply before s venture to invest in this country. If the power is achieved, operators will be able to perform up to 60% of their operations in data centers,” Adegbiji said.

He therefore advised the government to review its electricity policy and ensure a stable power supply for businesses, in order to attract investors to Nigeria’s tech space.

He said that apart from electrical infrastructure, the government should also look at the area of ​​deployment of fiber optic cables across the country, adding that a situation where Nigeria has huge broadband capacity on the coasts of the country , since the landing of several undersea cables, without proportionate distribution of fiber optic cables in the hinterland, will continue to deprive hinterland Nigerians of access to the country’s ubiquitous broadband capabilities . He further said that fiber will remain a critical resource of any data center, and connectivity and power should be considered by the government to drive development in Nigeria’s tech space.

Adegbiji said he would look forward to a situation where business owners and students in the north of the country would have the same broadband access as business owners and students in the south of the country, adding that government policies should encourage the laying of fiber optic cables across the country to enable easy access to the Internet and broadband connectivity.

He called on the government to start licensing companies that would invest in microgrids, to generate enough electricity, as data is Nigeria’s next oil.

He also advised the government to consider tax incentives for data center operators as almost everything needed for data center operations is imported.

“If data center operators have to pay a 40% tax on every piece of equipment imported into Nigeria, that means data center operators in Nigeria will never be able to compete with other data center operators in the country. outside the country, due to the high cost of tax on each import of equipment into Nigeria.Government should help develop the operation of data centers in a cost-effective manner, which will further drive technology adoption and transformation digital in Nigeria,” Adegbiji said.