Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, has stressed that telecom firms in Nigeria can successfully list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of the country, barring challenges confronting operators in the sector.
According to him, an enabling business environment, policies that promote ease of doing business and market forces in line with best practices are key factors that can encourage telcos to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Mr. Ogunsanya made this submission while delivering his presentation entitled “Creating an Enabling Environment for Public Listing of the Economy’s Commanding Heights: The Case for Telecoms Sector“ at the 2017 Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) Annual National Workshop held in Abuja.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Ogunsanya noted that following the liberalisation of the telecoms sector in 2001, the nation has benefitted in terms of employment creation, attraction of foreign direct investments and socio-economic development.
He said: “The sector currently accounts for 10 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and therefore makes it a critical national infrastructure. In addition, connectivity among Nigerians has been enhanced with the 145,350,702 active lines as at May 2017, investments in the sector as at Q1 2017 stood at $68billion with FDI contribution amounting to $35billion, while over 10,000 direct jobs and 1.3million indirect jobs have been created.”
He stressed that telcos are committed to providing qualitative world class telecommunications services and in turn contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. However, operators are still facing challenges which stifle growth and inhibit services delivery.
Mr. Ogunsanya, therefore, urged government to address lingering industry issues such as multiple taxation, prohibitive right-of-way fees, broadband spectrum pricing/ availability among others.
Speaking further, the Airtel CEO noted that high interest rates are a major draw-back on use of debt financing, the fluctuation of foreign exchange rate has adversely impacted use of debt financing, while adverse market conditions occasioned by recession have adversely impacted viability of public equity alternatives.
The CIS Annual Workshop themed “Transition from Recession to Global Economic Power: A Working Template for Nigeria” was a convergence of stakeholders in the nation’s financial services sector.
Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema; Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mallam Mounir Gwarzo, Minister of Finance, Hon. Kemi Adeosun were among top government functionaries, captains of industry and dignitaries that attended the event.
The workshop was organised in conjunction with the Nigerian Capital Market Institute, a training affiliate of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the apex regulator of the Nigerian Capital Market.