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Tariff Increase Advocacy Gains Momentum as GSMA Report Reveals Industry Insights

GSMA
GSMA

While the advocacy for tariff increase remains under deliberations, revelations in the latest Groupe Spécial Mobile Association (GSMA) digital economy report have watered the ground for an increased tariff increase advocacy. The report, offering a deep dive into the sector’s dynamics, provides compelling arguments for adjusting tariffs to ensure sustainability and growth.

Highlighted in the report is the telecom sector’s significant contribution to Nigeria’s GDP. In 2023 alone, it accounted for 8% of the nation’s total GDP, a figure that swelled to 13.5% when considering the broader ICT ecosystem. The mobile industry’s overall contribution to GDP was estimated at a staggering 20 trillion NGN, with substantial tax revenues of 2.8 trillion NGN.

The sector’s potential to drive digitalisation across various domains is of paramount importance. The report projects a significant boost in GDP across sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, transport, trade, and government, translating into nearly 2 million jobs and an additional NGN 1.6 trillion in tax revenues by 2028.

The promise of 5G networks is poised to revolutionise operations, particularly in critical sectors like oil and mining, with real-time data transmission and remote monitoring enhancing efficiency. Digitalisation, especially in manufacturing and trade, holds immense potential for value addition and job creation, promising billions in additional tax revenues.

Despite Nigeria’s noteworthy internet usage figures, with 29% of the population regularly online, the sector faces challenges. The country boasts the lowest-cost data baskets in Africa, yet maintaining competitive mobile data network speeds remains essential. With an average speed of 21Mbps, Nigeria’s performance is comparable to neighbouring countries, underscoring the need for sustained investments.

However, sustaining this growth requires recognizing the capital-intensive nature of the telecom sector. Operators must continually invest in network maintenance and expansion, necessitating a conducive regulatory environment that ensures fair returns on investments.

Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, commenting during the report launch, said, “We raised several issues on the state of affairs of the telecom industry, and among the challenges articulated is the return on investment, stability of the infrastructure and the need for pricing rights.

“As an ecosystem, tariff hike is one of the sensitive issues affecting the telecom sector and has to be addressed by all stakeholders. We need to look at the state of affairs of the industry and examine holistically.

“There are ongoing obligations to our end users including infrastructure security. Tariff increase is a solution to solve multiple challenges of the telecom industry.“

The GSMA report positions the ongoing tariff adjustment deliberations as a strategic move to secure the sector’s long-term viability. With Nigeria’s digital future at stake, finding a balance between affordability for consumers and sustainability for operators is paramount to ensure continued growth and innovation in the telecom landscape.

 

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