The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.

The Emir of Kano and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said that the high cost of internet in the country is caused by bureaucracy and taxation.

Sanusi, who was speaking at the 2018 US-Nigeria Investment Summit in Washington DC at the weekend called for more investment in Nigeria’s technology industry.

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The former CBN governor stressed the importance of investing more in technology not just as a means of growing the economy but also as a way of addressing the financial inclusion challenge of the country.

Nigeria which is aiming to achieve an 80 per cent financial inclusion target by 2020, presently has just above 40 per cent of its adult population included in the financial system.

While noting that Nigeria has one of the highest penetration of mobile phones in the world, Emir Sanusi said, “We just use telephones to make calls and to send text messages. We are not using it for financial inclusion or education, we are not using it to deliver services or create networks.

“The basic foundations of all the hard work has been done, we have cables coming all the way from Lisbon to Lagos, we’ve had those since the 1990s but it costs us more to get internet from Lagos to Ilorin or Lagos to Kano than it took us to get from Lisbon to Lagos because, we’ve got issue of Right of Ways (RoW), taxation and bureaucracy”, he said.

Calling for a diversification of the country’s revenue away from oil, he said “when we project the Nigerian economy as an undiversified economy, we are focusing on the export market.

“In terms of the foreign accounts, we do have a huge concentration obviously from oil and we need to diversify that. It’s natural that if you rely on one export earning, you’ll be more vulnerable and you’ll get affected by shocks.

“A focus on the lack of diversification in the export sector, I think has taken attention away from the fact that the domestic market is diversified.