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9Mobile: Eschew Underhand Tactics, … Experts Warn

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A prominent developmental economist Mukoro Okotete had commended the contribution of the telecoms sector to the nation’s economic growth and development. Speaking at a seminar in Lagos with the theme “Nigeria: Sustainable Growth After Recession” Okotete noted that the impressive growth of the telecoms sector would be enhanced by the planed sale of 9Mobile. He however cautioned that for the sale of 9Mobile to yield the desired dividends, it has to be done transparently. He expressed dismay that some vested interest had sought to derail the sale by announcing the emergence of a preferred bidder. That the preemptive announcement designed to feather the nest of an interested party turned out to be false is a danger signal, which demands that the industry regulator should be more vigilant.

Okotete noted that if the sale of 9Mobile is properly managed, it would have multiple positive effects on the nation’s economy. He listed the advantages to include deepening of the nation’s telecom market and the enhancement of effective competition in the industry. Such a transparent transaction will lead to a revitalized 9Mobile thereby enhancing the employment opportunities within the company. This, he added, will extend to allied job opportunities that will be occasioned by sundry suppliers, contractors and indirect staff. He emphasized that the multiplier effects of the sale to a capable and recognizable company are enormous and will serve the best interest of the country.

In his own contribution, a communications analyst Enobong Udoh observed that although the Nigerian economy seems to be on the upward swing, the life of the average Nigerian is yet to record commensurate improvement. He commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for its ample contribution, in the preceding year, to the sustainability of the nation’s economic growth especially through the continued inflow of foreign capital. He urged the NCC not to rest on its oars in the New Year.

On 9Mobile, he advised NCC to keep to its tradition of transparent sales, which has seen to the emergence of only competent organisations as major operators in the nation’s telecoms landscape. He surmised that the two finalists in the bid for 9Mobile, Teleology Holdings and Smile Telecoms should be commended for coming thus far. He however opined that great care should be taken to ensure that 9Mobile is not handed over to “an unknown quantity” with the attendant risks.

Instead, he is of the view that a firm with evident ability by way of enviable track record in Nigeria and other parts of Africa should be a better option.

To him Smile Telecoms Holdings based on all indices of good business practice and performance will fare better in revitalizing 9Mobile than Teleology Holdings. To him, what is needed is “a tested and trusted hand” that will be able to turn around the fortunes of the ailing 9Mobile in the best interest of all and sundry.

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