Naira at N516 to dollar frustrating telecoms firms’ drive to invest on networks
Indications have emerged that the sustained free fall of naira over leading international currencies including dollar is the reason behind persistent poor Quality of Service (QoS) among telecoms networks. Otherwise, the inability of telecoms companies to access dollar easily is causing lack of importation of materials needed to either repair or upgrade base stations and other critical infrastructure.
In a telephone interview Sunday, the President of Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engineer Olusola Teniola said the inability of networks to access forex at an affordable rate has forced many companies to abandon necessary upgrades and repairs on their networks, thus translating to poor services delivery.
He called on the government to consider the telecoms sector as a critical component of the economy that deserves a better deal and seamless access to forex so as to save the sector from gradual collapse.
Business Hilights can authoritatively report that the naira, since last month appears to have entered a free fall mode with the local currency selling for 516 per United States dollar on the streets of Lagos and other parts of the country since Thursday and Friday last week.
However, the Presidency, through the National Economic Council (NEC), had expressed concern over the current situation of the exchange rate and mandated the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele to urgently review of the current Forex Policy.
Just as the chief executive officer, Financial Derivatives Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, said the naira would hit 520/dollar this year on the parallel market and touch 350/dollar at the official market, development economist, Mr. Henry Boyo was of the view that naira is set to hit N1,000 if needed reviews were not carried out by the CBN.
Already, finance analysts have predicted that the naira will face fresh pressure on the parallel market this week with dollar supply falling short of demand by persons seeking currency to pay school fees abroad as the CBN continues to ration forex for businesses.
Demand for dollars has soared even though the external reserves have reached $29bn.
The main pressure plummeting naira seems to be coming from traders who are bent of remaining afloat even in the face of forex squeeze.
The most worrying aspect of the challenge according to pundits is the silence so far maintained by the apex bank while value of naira kept eroding on the streets of the country.