Experts Raise Concern over Telecoms Sector’s Decline

Emma Okonji

Experts in Nigeria’s financial sector and stakeholders in the telecoms industry have raised concern over the declining state of the country’s telecoms sector, warning that the decline could have far-reaching consequences for the country’s economic growth and development.

They raised the concern at a recent breakfast session hosted by the Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, while discussing the theme: “Telecoms Sector: The Fulcrum for Economic Dynamism in Nigeria.”

CEO of Financial Derivatives Company, and keynote speaker at the forum, Bismarck Rewane, emphasised the telecoms sector’s critical role in driving economic growth, innovation, and productivity across various industries.

Rewane, in his presentation titled, “Nigerian Economy on the Brink, Adapt or Collapse”, highlighted the sector’s challenges, including rising inflation, high operating costs, limited access to foreign exchange, regulatory burdens, multiple taxations, and state and local government extortion. He stressed that the challenges were threatening the sector’s growth and development, while citing MTN’s reported loss in the 2023 financial year

His comments align with telecoms operators’ push for cost-reflective tariffs, which they said was necessary due to adverse economic headwinds.

According to Rewane, the current situation is having a detrimental impact on the sector’s growth and development, warning that the revenue potential from telecoms may start falling, leading to a ripple effect on other sectors.

Other notable speakers, including Prof. Ali Bongo, that echoed Rewane’s sentiments, stressed the need for government support and deregulation to ensure the sector’s survival. They highlighted the sector’s growth potential, citing its eight per cent outperformance of GDP growth rate between 2019 and 2023.

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