Telcos Warn of Forex Scarcity’s Impact on Job Creation

Telcos Warn of Forex Scarcity’s Impact on Job Creation

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has raised concerns about the potential impact of forex scarcity on job creation within the telecommunications sector.

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During an industry interactive session with the new Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Aminu Maida, ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo emphasized the critical need for access to foreign exchange (FX) to facilitate job creation initiatives.

Addressing the Federal Government’s goal of creating two million digital jobs by 2025, Adebayo stressed the importance of being prioritized for FX access. He highlighted that the ability to pay FX obligations and purchase applications could be jeopardized by scarcity, potentially hindering the envisioned job creation.

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Telecom services heavily depend on foreign inputs, making access to FX a crucial aspect of sustaining operations in the sector. Telcos have previously requested a special forex window to address their FX needs, suggesting intervention measures from stakeholders such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

During discussions with the House Committee on Communications, telcos urged collaboration with relevant stakeholders to implement support measures for the telecommunications sector, including the establishment of a special forex window and long-term, low-interest infrastructure funding schemes.

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Financial statements from major telecom operators, including MTN Nigeria and Airtel, highlighted the adverse effects of forex scarcity on their businesses. Both companies expressed challenges in fully benefiting from cash generation and making timely foreign currency payments to international suppliers.

In addition to forex concerns, telcos reiterated the necessity for a price review, emphasizing the current pricing regime’s unsustainability for the industry. Adebayo urged a frank conversation to explore mechanisms for a vital price review that would ensure the sector’s long-term viability.

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