SEGUN Ogunsanya, managing director, Airtel Nigeria, has said that the Nigerian telecoms market offers multiple growth opportunities to the country’s economy. He stated that with 78 percent mobile penetration as at December 2014, there was massive untapped market potential just as he also opined that broadband adoption is set to rise as demand for more stable internet grows from the residential and business segments.
Ogunsanya, who spoke at the Businessday CEOs’ Forum held in Lagos, disclosed that 47 million subscriptions are expected between December 2014 and December, 2019, saying this demonstrates massive untapped market potential and continued strong total telecoms revenue growth driven essentially by mobile data. He noted that strong growth was expected from mobile financial services over the forecasting period and operators should ensure they are able to offer products to the large unbanked population of Nigeria, whilst growing demand for mobile apps and e-commerce will have a positive knock-on effect on mobile operators.
According to him, Nigeria offers exciting opportunities for telecoms investors as a large population with rising incomes positions the country as one of the most attractive destinations for investment on the African continent. Ogunsanya further opined that Nigeria has massive bandwidth capacity from the four undersea cables that has yet to be exploited and this will provide opportunities to domestic and international investors to take advantage of the growing broadband and data industry.
He, however, noted that key issues must be urgently resolved for the Nigerian telecoms industry to reach its full market potential. He listed these issues to include spectrum availability and adequacy, government commitment to the National Broadband Plan, tackling the monster of multiple-taxation, reliable and cost-effective power supply, protection of telecoms infrastructure from vandalism and resolving restrictions on telecoms activity in mobile money.
Speaking on spectrum availability, the Airtel CEO stated that due to explosive growth in mobile data traffic, operators require more spectrums to support this growth. Although he commended the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, for making inroads towards spectrum availability and adequacy, he noted that there is an urgent need to expedite the release / award of frequency to operators as this will facilitate industry development.
Ogunsanya also decried the incident of multiple-taxation, disclosing that revenue loss from idle or shut down base stations represent the main source of negative impact of multiple taxation and network vandalism for the industry. He said two percent to three percent of Nigeria’s sites are affected by arbitrary shutdown and vandalism at any given point in time. According to him, it was estimated that increased operating costs and lost revenue costs around N9billion each year to the telecoms industry or about N20billion if most of the arbitrary fees in some key states are upheld. He, therefore, called on the government to unify taxes under one code and also bring to book vandals who deliberately destroy telecoms infrastructure.
Lagos Govt. Unveils New Taxi System
THE Lagos State government has unveiled a new taxi system and the initiative will end the present haphazard taxi operations that had contributed to insecurity of life and property in the state. The state government put the market value of commercial taxi operations in the state at a whopping sum of N20 billion, which it said, would boost its tourism industry with the new taxi operational mechanism in place to bring order to the system.
Governor Babatunde Fashola of the state said aside from its potentials to address security challenges associated with taxi operations in the state, the new system has great economic advantage. He added that the state government had approved the flat rate for the cost of the new taxi license, which he said, had been issued free of charge for 14,000 operators comprising those who had been operating with unpainted vehicles. He said the license will cost N100,000 per head.
The governor said the new system would bring dignity to taxi operation and eradicate impression that taxi jobs “are for the dropouts or the dejected in the society,” arguing that it was purely a business for core professionals. According to him, the state government designed the new system to enable taxi operators create wealth; build well-regulated operational environment and provide insurance coverage for both commuters and operators. “The state government is giving the taxi operators business they can pass to the next generation. The licence can be sold, transferred, leased and used as collateral security to obtain credit facilities from banks,” he said.
Governor Fashola also explained that the new regime would guarantee consumer protection, even as he noted that the system offers insurance coverage for passengers and operators. So, it protects the interests of passengers much better. The governor equally said the system had helped the state build a robust database for all taxi operators in the state, thereby putting the total number of 12,617 taxi drivers and 10,882 taxi cabs currently operating legitimately in the state.
He enjoined the taxi operators that there should not be illegal taxi operators in the state roads again, citing security implications and economic sabotage illegal taxi operations could bring upon the state and its residents if allowed. He explained that the state’s taxi business “has a market value ranging between N20 billion and N28 billion. Already, improper regulation is affecting the state’s tourism industry. Without good transport system, Lagos will not be tourist destination of our dream. That is why we are building strategic infrastructure.” Fashola revealed that the government had approved any vehicle not above 12 years from the date of manufacturing to be allowed for taxi operation in the state.
— May 11, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT