Getting Oyo state’s share of the telecoms gold

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IBPulse just got a document showing the number of telecoms subscribers in each Nigerian state and I can say that Oyo state is not doing badly at the fourth position. What does this mean for the state?

Any serious government in Nigeria or elsewhere must take the tech industry more seriously than anywhere else because of the fact that it represents the future of economic dynamics. In Nigeria, even though the country’s tech ecosystem is yet to be fully developed and cannot yet compete favorably with the Silicon Valley, the sector was the second highest contributor to the GDP after earnings from oil.

Within the tech ecosystem, the telecoms space seems to be the most matured since it is raking in billions of dollars as revenue every month. This brings me to the figures that I said I got today (Friday). It is the quarterly report on Nigerian Telecommunications Sector Q1 2016 released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The report showed the total number of active voice and internet subscribers in the 36 states of the country including the FCT at the end of the first quarter 2016 disaggregated by States.

According to the Statistical body, Lagos State accounted for the largest share of active voice subscribers with 19.04 million (12.8%) of the total, followed by Ogun State with 8.53 million subscribers (5.7%), Kano State with 7.81 million (5.25%), Oyo State with 7.53 million subscribers (5.06%), then FCT and Rivers State with 6.03 million (4.05%) and 5.84 million (3.93%) respectively. In other words Oyo state has more mobile users than Abuja and Rivers, this also suggests that the networks make more money in Oyo state than these and several other states. Is this being converted to revenues for the state?

Unfortunately, Oyo state government is not making public what it is generating, we are only hearing about their IGR initiatives – especially the ridiculous ones such as the extensively rejected entertainment tax. Despite this, it is worthy to note that states such as Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and several others that don’t even have as many mobile subscribers as Oyo state are generating lots of revenues from the telecoms space.

I believe the government can make more money from telecoms than the ‘chicken change’ it is hoping to raise from show organizers but does the governor has the tech savvy people to restructure its telecoms policy and tech taxation structure without being outsmarted by the international experts working with the various operators? This makes me feel like bringing up the subject of no commissioners yet in Oyo state but I won’t since that has already been well covered by IBPulse.

The twenty first century is tech driven and it is only states and governments that had already positioned themselves to be make best use of the tech sector would benefit immensely. Others will continue to act lazily by asking the already frustrated citizens to pay through their noses and the result will continue to be resistance.

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