FG’s harassment of MTN will discourage foreign investment- Bismarck Rewane

One of Nigeria’s frontline economic analysts, Bismarck Rewane has warned about the implication of the continued ‘harassment’ of Nigeria’s leading telecommunication provider, MTN Nigeria by the Federal Government, adding that this could discourage inflow of foreign investments into the country.

He said this as the Guest Speaker at the Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN) 2017 Business Outlook session which held yesterday at the Renaissance Hotel, GRA Ikeja.

“Since we are harassing MTN, nobody is going to invest. Hounding of MTN is not a good thing, because it is sending a negative signal. We need to ensure that we send the right signal to encourage investment rather than to discourage investors,” Rewane who is MD/CEO, Financial Derivatives Company Ltd said.

He made the comment as he spoke about the state of the Nigerian economy which was the major focus of his lecture, titled Economic Recession and Business Growth. He noted that MTN, despite its troubles have made huge contribution to the Nigerian economy, especially in the areas of advertising spend and taxes.
He disclosed that the ICT industry remains very vibrant, despite the contraction in the nation’s economy, as it contributed 12.6 percent to the nation’s GDP and recorded a growth of 1.32 percent in Q2. In Q1, the sector expanded by 4.7 percent.

Rewane affirmed that the Q3 report of the Nigerian economy which is expected to be out in the coming days may not hold any goodnews for the country. However he projected that growth will return within the next 16 to 18months.

In his assessment of the current state of the economy, the Financial Derivatives boss said there were early signs of recovery, but he warned that symptoms of recovery is not actual recovery. “At the moment, the economy is bedridden, but by second quarter of 2017, we should be able to help ourselves to the washroom,” he said.

He nevertheless he warned that investment in infrastructure and agriculture alone will not drive growth, adding that the country needed strong economic policies that will encourage private sector investment and boost employment. “You can still use policy to stimulate growth and build infrastructure at the same time,” he said.

The event was attended by CEOs, Business Leaders, Functional Directors and Senior Managers whose functions require the making and implementation of business development decisions that influence business growth and profitability in the immediate and long term.

MTN’s was slammed a N1.04 trillion (about $5.2 billion) fine in October last year for failure to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers’ SIM cards from its network in defiance of NCC’s regulation. The fine was later reduced to N330 billion after the intervention of the South African President Jacob Zuma and other stakeholders.The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu later said Federal Executive Council, FEC, decided to reduce the penalty against the telecommunications giant after realising the negative impact the burden could have on the nation, its people and the economy.


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