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News : Airtel Allays Job Loss Fears Over Tower Sales
Feb. 17, 2014 -- Airtel Nigeria has dismissed fears that the selling off of telecoms towers by telcos in the country will lead to job losses, sending thousands of workers out of employment.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Segun Ogunsanya, who spoke to ICT editors in Ikoyi, Lagos, said: "Yes, indeed there are plans by operators to sell off, not necessarily outsource, the towers. It is the trend globally, and …it is meant to allow operators concentrate on their core competences and allow those who are better equipped professionally to manage the towers to do so. The telcos had already outsourced their network operations to providers like Ericsson and Huawei, who in turn outsourced maintenance services like fuelling, cleaning and security to local companies known in industry parlance as ISMs.
"It is evident that the eco-system of telecommunications business is growing a wide value-chain, which has Nigerians (locals) at the epicentre. So, more jobs would be created rather than lost, given that the new owners will definitely like to grow their businesses. Regarding the Call Centres, which were outsourced to BPOs (business process outsourcing), it is inaccurate to say jobs were lost! On the contrary, the number of people employed in the Call Centre business has grown exponentially, by over 300 per cent."
He averred that rather than create fears in the minds of indigenous engineers, who will be moving to the tower management companies, and disaffection in the hearts of Nigerians, who have been unapologetic beneficiaries of the global system for mobile (GSM) communication revolution started in 2001, the immense advantages inherent in this strategic business move by the telcos should be highlighted.
According to Ogunsanya, there are many positive stories coming from the telecommunications sector which, he said, has attracted over $20 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) over the last 12 and a half years. he added that it is the only industry that has continued to creatively take advantage of a combination of economic factors including technology, competition, outsourcing, and other economies of scale, to drive costs down hence price of telecommunications services and related products like phones and other devices.
"The telecommunications industry has demonstrably employed more people directly and indirectly since 2001. The marketing communications industry, construction, security, petroleum marketing and several others have experienced a boom with the activities of the telcos. Indeed, telecommunications can be described as the goose that lays the golden egg in the Nigerian economy," he said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014