ABOUT 65 Nigerian telcos have closed shop in recent times due to the prevailing harsh business environment in the country.
President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Titi Omo-Ettu, says the Nigerian government and international analysts believe the sector is healthy due to the increase in subscribers, currently in excess of 90 million mobile subscribers, but this is not the case.
Omo-Ettu advocates for local content initiatives that will boost the survival strategies of mostly local players in the industry.
It is generally believed that a high subscriber base translates to high revenues, “this is very misleading and this poses serious danger to the growth of the economy” says Omo Ettu.
“We need to change that orientation and move the emphasis from the number of mobile lines, to the number of users.” says Omo-Ettu.
Local operators key challenges
Speaking against the backdrop of the challenges facing local operators in the industry, Mr. Ranti Omole, Managing Director, Radial Circle, believes that government should invest more in the local telecoms sector. “Small and Medium-scale Enterprises contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Products of countries,” says Omole.
Omole stressed that the Nigerian environment was too open to foreign companies, which has not been reciprocated in countries such as South Africa and the United Kingdom, “Nigerian companies don’t have it easy outside as others do here,” says Omole.
Main One Cable company faces major challenges in its bid to obtain a licence in South Africa for instance.
Wale Ajisebutu, 21st Century Technology MD bemoaned the fate of indigenous players in the sector, stressing that urgent measures should be put in place to avoid the collapse of the industry.
“The country needs a digital economy,” says Ajisebutu “Other sectors can only thrive with a functional ICT sector because it is the catalyst that will drive the growth of this economy.”
MainOne Cable MD, Ms. Funke Opeke advocated for increased subsidy and open access for service providers, stressing that inhibitors to ICT growth including multiple taxation should be resolved without delay.
By: Staff Writer