The mobile communication industry created nearly half a million jobs in Nigeria in 2017 and contributed $21 billion to the country’s GDP, or 5.5 per cent of the total GDP, a report has stated.
The report, ”Spotlight on Nigeria: Delivering a digital future”, emanated from a research by the Global System of Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).
It was presented at an event held by the association in conjunction with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.
The event brought together leaders from the mobile industry and policymakers to discuss future regulation and how to enable the next generation of 5G connectivity.
According to the report, the digital economy also contributed $1.8 billion in tax, equivalent to 16 per cent of the Nigerian government tax revenue.
The report said mobile technology is having a direct and positive impact on the daily lives of Nigerians, “by fostering inclusive growth and enhancing the productivity and efficiency of the economy.”
“Mobile connectivity has already improved the welfare of millions of Nigerians, opening the door to new digital possibilities and powering the country’s economic development,“ said Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA.
Mr Akinwale said collaboration between industry and government would enable “the right policy environment for millions more to benefit from ultra-fast mobile broadband so that Nigeria can take full advantage of the next phase of its digital transformation.
“If policies don’t keep pace with the need of society and technological innovation, there is a risk that citizens will be left behind and productivity and competitiveness will suffer,” he said.
The report shows the growth in the adoption of digital services by government, businesses and consumers is having a positive impact on daily life in Nigeria.
It further stated that mobile technology is playing an increasingly central role in the country’s economy “and for the majority of Nigerians, mobile broadband is the first and only technology for accessing the internet, opening the door to a whole new world.
“Smartphone adoption has already risen to over 53 million connections, and 49 per cent of the population are currently connected by mobile technology, compared to less than one per cent who have a fixed-line connection.”
However, the report concluded that there is still a broad scope for Nigeria to increase its mobile penetration.
Although more Nigerians are getting access to mobile broadband, it stated that the country lags behind regional peers in 4G adoption. “Helping to accelerate adoption would enable more advanced services and create bigger societal impacts,” it stated.
In his keynote address, Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of NCC, said in our present world, telecommunication is a cardinal tool of economic development, growth and integration.
“The telecom industry is a key enabler of productivity across economies and societies, not only is it a significant contributor to economic activities of a nation, but also towards the growth of other sectors of the economy,” he said.
Mr Danbatta said the event was held to provide an avenue for “regulators, operators, investors and other relevant stakeholders to share, examine and constructively exchange ideas on the main demand areas for next generation of services, spectrum licensing reforms, and to also discuss the requirements for 5G and other emerging technologies.”
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