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10% GDP A Bargaining Chip For More Forex Access- Airtel CEO Ogunsanya

Staff Writer:
Federal Government should grant Nigeria Telecoms industry more access to foreign exchange as the subsector contributes over 10% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the nation’s economy, according to Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya.
He was speaking in Lagos on Friday during a special and high-powered reception in honour of NCC CEO, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta.
He told Danbatta that, as the head of telecoms apex regulator, “you are sitting on the industry that contribute 10% GDP. Use it as bargaining chip with government for more foreign exchange access for telecoms.”
He argued that every equipment that powers the industry is imported and to import operators require hard currency. Ogunsanya added that the subsector that is a major driver of the economy is plagued with scarcity of foreign currency.
He challenged NCC Chief to use his position to influence the authorities to grant telecoms service providers more foreign currency.
In our earlier report, CEO/ founder of Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), Austin Okere said during an interview said a lot of companies in IT are going down because of the forex market with consequent job loss.
“The forex market is presently a disaster for all of us. Every time we find ourselves in this forex situation, Nigerian businesses bear the brunt.”
Okere detailed that “businesses are dying because you find a company that has for instance a $10 million trade bill, and by the time the company signed a contract with its foreign partner, the dollar was N178. Now, the dollar has moved to above N300, they still have to repatriate to their foreign partner because if the local company doesn’t repatriate, the foreign partner will not supply again or they will take the local company to court. So, either way, it is the local companies that are going to suffer the exchange loss, not the customer nor the foreign supplier. This is not only happening in the IT sector, but also in other sectors because we are all importing raw materials and machineries, which must be paid at the new exchange rate. A lot of companies are going to die because of the forex market; and it is going to be very painful because it means a lot of jobs will go too.”

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