Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo has said the telecoms industry remains one of the highest contributors to Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said the industry is currently contributing over 10 per cent to Nigeria's GDP, and is one of the highest consistent contributors to the country's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the past 13 years of the introduction of GSM operations in the country.
He said although the facts and figures were there to show for it, the telecoms industry still come under heavy criticism from government that is supposed to speak well of the industry for its contributions to economic growth of the country.
Adebayo who frowned to recent threat by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to sanction telecoms operators for the perceived poor service quality across networks, said government must first commend the sector and then help it to overcome the challenges causing downtime in telecoms services offerings, instead of outright criticism.
"The telecoms industry is one of the most functional public service infrastructures when compared with other social infrastructures such as power, transport, among others. The industry has provided significant support for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME) to thrive, which has helped in job creation, and most of all, an industry that is one of the highest employers of labour and of course the most contributed to national human and capital development," Adebayo said.
Citing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the telecoms sector, where core telecoms operations are outsourced to other companies to manage, Adebayo said BPO in the telecoms sector has generated a lot of employment for Nigerians, despite their small operational sizes.
"There are lots of opportunity in BPO and over the past seven years, BPO has developed capacity and human capital to support the telecoms industry in Nigeria," Adebayo said.
Citing BPO's contribution to the telecoms sector in other countries,, Adebayo said India generates $10.9 billion from offshore BPO and over $30 billion from Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
He said countries like South Africa and Philippines have emerged to take a big chunk of the share of the market.
South Africa telecoms call centre, he said, has grown and directly employs about 74,000 people, contributing over 0.9 per cent to South Africa's GDP.
He however said the contributions of telecoms to GDP in other countries, are well commended by those countries, but lamented that in Nigeria the reverse is the case, where operators are heavily criticised by government and subscribers alike.
He called on government and the good people of Nigeria to see telecoms development in Nigeria as critical to national development, and as such, commend telecoms operators in Nigeria for their contributions to GDP and national development.