Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveals that there was an increase in the contribution of the Information and Communications sector to Nigeria’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in Q4 2019 19.53 trillion.
According to the report, Nigeria’s GDP in Q4 2019 stood at N19.53 trillion and the sector contributed N2.57 trillion. This amounts to about 13.12% of the real GDP of the country in Q4. This represents a 22.20% increase from the 11.34% recorded in Q2 2019 and an 8.50% increase year-on-year (YoY).
The Information and Communications sector comprises of Telecommunications and Information Services, Publishing, Motion Picture, Sound Recording and Music Production, and Broadcasting.
In 2019 as a whole, the sector contributed about N8 trillion to the real GDP representing 13.04%. This is a 6.28% increase from the 12.2% recorded in 2018.
This is in fact a higher margin of increase when compared to the contributions by the Nation’s pride commodity, oil with 7.32% in 2019.
As a subsector, the Telecommunications and Information Services had a reduced growth rate. In Q4 2019, the sector had a 10.26% growth rate, slower than the 12.16% recorded in Q3.
This slowed growth can be attributed to the massive losses of subscribers by the various telecommunication companies in the last quarter of the year.
In 2019, the sector had an overall growth of 11.41%, a slight increase from 11.33% of 2019. This growth most likely came from some improvements in broadband penetration and subscriber numbers, which sees the country presently with over 184 million telco subscribers with 37.80% penetration.
Also, prominent telco MTN Nigeria listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as part of its agreement with NCC in 2016.
Plus the industry wasn’t deep in controversies as it was in 2018 which was ridden with several tussles, including several sanctions by the Central Bank of Nigeria on MTN and the ownership tussle of 9mobile.
One thing is sure, an increase in broadband penetration will lead to an increase in Nigeria’s GDP contribution. As a matter of fact, a 10% increase in broadband penetration will result in a 0.9% – 1.5% increase in GDP.
So the industry regulator needs to put more efforts towards achieving its goal of 65% broadband penetration in order to improve its contribution to the country’s GDP.
Also, regulatory tussles can be seen to have a negative impact on the sector’s contribution, hence NCC and other government agencies might need to apply more tact in dealing with the telecom companies moving forward.