Reps in Nigeria Want Locals to Own 30 Percent Shares in GSM Firms

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The House of Representatives is in the process of enacting a law that would compel all GSM operators in the country to reserve and allocate at least 30 percent of their total shares to Nigerians.

The bill titled, A Bill for an Act to Facilitate Electronic Transactions in Nigeria and Other Related Matters and A Bill for an Act to Make Provision for Nigerians to Acquire interest in Telecommunications Companies Carrying on GSM in Nigeria and Other Matters Connected therewith, has already gone through public hearing.

Speaking at the public hearing organised by the House Committees on Commerce and Communications, recently, Speaker Dimeji Bankole, explained that the bill sought to stimulate local participation in management and ownership of the GSM sub-sector. He disclosed that the House realised that the issue of local content should go beyond the mere acquisition of operational licenses.

"Without the acquisition of appropriate technology, managerial know-how, and enhancing, the share of our people's' participation in the telecoms industry, the aim of the overall policy on local content would be a mere ritual that would not translate into local ownership of the Nigerian economy," Bankole warned.

The speaker equally justified the importance of the bill on electronics transfer when he stated that the lawmakers would provide a legal framework which would facilitate electronic transactions in the country in order to institute a culture of efficiency, transparency and probity.

Commenting on the general principles of the bill, observed that the nation's savings and investments were crucial to its long term economic growth and they were related to the international flow of goods and capital as measured by net export and foreign investments.

He further added that the passage of the bill was to make sure that investment in the nation's telecommunications industry contributes to economic growth by establishing the right policy environment. According to Salako, the bill when passed, would mandate all GSM operators to comply with the provisions of the law within one year and six months.